Following the public health crisis and the demands of the global economy, which has led to more organizations embracing virtual workplaces, there is also the challenge of how to integrate remote work with an organization’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts in a harmonious and effective manner. This article will define DEI, describe a remote workplace, and explain the benefits of inculcating some DEI efforts in remote workplaces.
Diversity can be described as the presence of variety and differences within a given setting while equity is the process of guaranteeing that hiring processes and workplace programs are impartial, fair and allows for equal possible outcomes for every employee in the workplace. Inclusion refers to a workplace culture that makes an organization welcoming to all potential job candidates, making them feel valued and respected, regardless of their racial identity, ethnicity, sex, life experiences, background, religion, age, abilities, etc.
Remote work also referred to as telecommuting or WFH (work from home) is a flexible working arrangement that allows employees carry out their essential job responsibilities from a location other than the employer’s physical office space.
Remote workplaces promote virtual spaces that make it challenging for employees to connect and relate with each other and be their true selves. On the other hand, for DEI strategies in the workplace to thrive, it requires some measure of trust, vulnerability and strong relationship that may not be easily created through interactions within a remote workplace that is limited to phone calls, video calls, etc. This creates some more hurdles for an organization to cross in ensuring that its DEI efforts are successful and generates the needed impact.
Promoting DEI in the workplace, however, has lots of benefits that cannot be ignored and as such the need for organizations to keep making efforts to achieve its DEI goals, regardless of the mode of work. The benefits of DEI are not limited to an increase in productivity, driving of high volume sales, and innovation, etc. It also includes creation of a vibrant and positive organizational culture.
So, here are some reasons why DEI should be promoted in remote workplace:
- Access to a diverse and innovative workforce
DEI allows your organization’s remote work environment to enjoy access to a diverse, multi-talented and innovative team of employee that can contribute immensely to your organization’s business growth.
The access to a large pool of diverse thoughts, information and solution-proffering allows for the generation of innovative ideas for the organization. This comes from the fact that an organization that has employees from different lifestyles, racial backgrounds and cultural orientations relating virtually from different global locations allows for the proffering of solution to work challenges without the need for a physical meeting. This also can potentially help in reducing costs for both employer and employee.
- Promotion of intentional communication in the remote workplace
It is easy for communication and meanings to get lost in translation in a remote work environment. Your organization’s DEI strategies can however help in creating a culture that promotes the keeping of high-touch points and making intentional communication a crucial part of the workplace. This will allow for employers, employees and even clients or customers to be as clear, compassionate, empathetic, concerned and connected with each other as possible in the course of work.
In conclusion, even though remote workplace may have the effect of making some employees feel lonely and unproductive, the DEI efforts of the organization still have the potentials of creating a good impact on the organization’s work in creating an inclusive work environment.