When Remote Work Stops Being Inclusive

Remote work has evolved from being a trendy workplace dynamic to a full-fledged business strategy. However, another prominent – and unfortunate – trend is a lack of diversity in the workplace. Diversity is a critical success factor, and many business leaders may think that having a remote workforce is the be-all and end-all of this. Since location matters very little, companies are not limited by geographic constraints. This gives a guise of hiring diversely – but diversity is not exactly akin to inclusivity.

Spotting the Signs of Exclusion

With remote work having little to no physical contact, it may be harder to spot employees who are feeling lonely and isolated. Workplace loneliness is a very real possibility, and according to a study by Ozcelik and Barsade, employees who are lonely may have a drop in job performance and more inconsistent outputs. Your company likely has its preferred communications channels, so look out for those who don’t always reach out or who are reluctant to accepting assistance. When you hire new employees who you have yet to meet in person, you also have to be particularly attuned to this from the start of the onboarding process.

Crowdsourcing Matters

On ‘When Do You Feel Included?’ we emphasized the importance of the Platinum Rule – treating others the way they want to be treated. The definition of employee wellness differs from company to company. You will be able to understand your organization’s own interpretation of this if you simply ask your members. Pain Free Working has collated tips for employee wellness strategies from existing organizations, with one being the implementation of programs that team members specifically ask for. It’s important to get a general pulse of where everyone is at – how they have been managing and what they need to show up and perform better. The only way you will know what will work is to regularly conduct employee feedback through surveys and frequent check-ins.

Allyship and Remote Work

For new employees, create a more personal onboarding processes by assigning buddies or mentors who can help with assimilation. In fact, assigning everyone a partner with whom they can check-in on could be a permanent practice in your company. This is related to what CEO of The Memo LLC Minda Harts describes as allyship. Having colleagues who vet and advocate for one another is a clear sign of inclusivity. Don’t forget to show your gratitude once in a while too. It does not take much to acknowledge, commend, and give credit when and where it is due. Employees need to know that their work is being valued and that they are critical members of your team. Therefore, expressing your feedback is a critical step toward ensure that they feel included and seen.

The modern workforce brings with it with modern challenges, ushering in the need for people who can lead with empathy. This is the opportunity for leaders to step up and truly analyze how well they have been treating their employees. You can never go wrong with constantly willing yourself to improve. When you couple sincere intentions with clear-cut strategies for inclusion, your business can succeed like never before.


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