Diversity and Inclusion in the Virtual Workplace

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We are amid a new reality for our world. With COVID-19 hitting the scene and changing the scope of how we work; we must continue to acknowledge the importance of creating and accessing a Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) policy in the virtual workplace.

Diversity is the characteristics and attributes that make individuals different, where inclusion is the social standards and behaviors that help people feel accepted.

The manifestation of diversity and the practice of inclusion permit persons to examine issues inversely and reflect on a more extensive variety of resolutions. During these times of crisis and frequently shifting objectives, what could be more appreciated than dissimilar viewpoints? Varying viewpoints allow for considerations to be made across a spectrum of professional, educational, and personal interests, thus bringing a more well-rounded understanding of the issues at hand.

Here are 3 key tips on how to transition D&I virtually into the workplace:

  1. Acknowledge the Importance

It is essential for organizations to emphasize a continued commitment to diversity hiring and workplace inclusion. They must remind employees of the expectations for respectful interactions and establishing a sense of community for everyone.

  1. Acknowledge the Difference

In working virtually, all employees should have well-defined responsibilities, individualistic objectives, and accountabilities so that they can balance their workload and prioritize tasks. These obligations will be managed differently when virtual vs in person. Organizations must be mindful that the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting employees, not only professionally, but in their personal lives as well — working parents, employees who will now become caretakers, children who are learning virtually, young children who are not of school age. Organizations should be attentive to any challenge employees face during this trying time.

  1. Acknowledge the Changes

To foster changes to D&I within the virtual workspace, organizations should hold meetings and send out communication regarding any new outlets, rules, and processes. This would include, encouraging social calls or video calls to increase engagement, group meditation sessions, or new skill discussions/trainings.

COVID-19 afflicted our world and our sense of normalcy was interrupted. It is eminent that we continue our obligation to enhancing and enforcing D&I. Studies demonstrate that diverse groups are more agile and innovative, and especially at this time, organizations need that inventive forward-thinking. While most organizations have been interrupted causing the majority of employees to work remotely, employers should continue in their endeavors to appeal to and maintain diverse talent. Moreover, it is necessary they continue to encourage and promote an inclusive atmosphere where employees can influence each other’s unique perceptions and opinions for the betterment of the organization at large.

By Dr. Shavonne Ekeledo, Core Professor

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