Work from Home Equitable & Inclusive
In April of 2020, Canadian Equality Consulting (CEC) released a video blog post discussing how workplaces can be more equitable and inclusive when “working from home” (WFH).
In the video, it was outlined how inequalities and barriers may be exacerbated when in a WFH situation.
Numerous suggestions for equitable and inclusive actions were included, such as:
· Setting expectations
– Setting clear expectations around communications, work expectations, and structure of work
· How often will you communicate with employees, estimated response times, what mechanism will be used for communications, what are employees’ working hours
– Set boundaries around your working hours and needs
– Provide mental health services for employees
– Make yourself aware of cues of domestic violence, learn the signs
– Ensure all employees have access to WFH equipment and tools, such as technology, desk chairs, and more
· Fostering an inclusive culture in a virtual work environment
– Delay decisions until all individuals are consulted
– Create time and space for individuals to connect
– Celebrate employees’ wins and provide recognition for achievement
– Continue supporting and advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts within the organization
· Inclusive virtual meeting practices
– Include an agenda, send out to participants in advance
– Turn on your camera, aim at eye-level
– Ensure someone is prepared to take notes to summarize any important discussion or other points
· Rotate who takes notes to ensure equitable division of responsibility
– Check-in at the start of meetings, ask how employees are feeling mentally, and foster an open space for sharing
– Include clear expectations within virtual meetings
After over two years of experiencing a global pandemic, we acknowledge that WFH has evolved, and the CEC has outlined further equitable and inclusive actions that organizations can take to support their employees.
Some new suggestions of specific actions you can take to make WFH more equitable and inclusive are:
· Prioritize personal check-ins (i.e., coffee chats) with employees on mental health, workload capacity, concerns, feedback, and more.
· Provide accommodations,
– Employers should assess each employee’s WFH environment, perhaps by creating a checklist of requirements and identifying how they can support employees who lack certain areas.
– Check-in with employees about their needs and what kinds of accommodations may be required.
· Create a resource hub for employees to connect with each other, emphasizing the importance of a work-life balance.
· Consider and identify specific services that employees may need to help support them in remote work (such as therapy, education services, community supports, crisis services, etc.).
· Organize engaging opportunities for staff to collaborate outside of work context.
For support in your DEI journey, or to inquire about any of the services offered by CEC, please contact [email protected]. Additionally, CEC posts monthly blogs which we encourage you to stay updated with to understand how you can continue to cultivate an inclusive workplace for all.