If Mark Zuckerberg from Meta (formally known as Facebook) encourages his employees to work remotely, then something must be right…right?
Zuckerberg said that working remotely has given him the opportunity for long-term thinking and allowed him to spend time with his young family, which overall, has made him happier and more productive at work. It’s not only the team at Meta that is happily adopting this new way of working, even other big players in the tech and entertainment sectors, such as Google and Spotify.
In the past, working from home was seen as a luxury. Today, it’s become the new normal for many of us. And while there are challenges that come with this shift, there are also some major benefits for both staff and businesses—especially in terms of diversity and inclusivity.
So why is workplace diversity important? There are many reasons, but ultimately it comes down to creating a more well-rounded, successful business. If you’re looking to attract top talent and grow your business, promoting diversity in your workplace is key.
This article will uncover the lesser-talked-about benefits of how remote working can help boost diversity, inclusivity, and productivity, while saving costs and encouraging workers and business owners alike to adopt a global mindset.
Remote work can help create a more diverse and inclusive workplace by breaking down barriers. It provides employees with the opportunity to feel comfortable in their work environment and contribute to the organisation without fear of discrimination. This type of workplace creates an atmosphere where everyone is working towards a shared vision, regardless of their background, health status or identity.
For instance, employees who might not feel comfortable speaking up in person can often find their voice when communicating via email or chat. And because there’s no need to physically be in the same place, people from all sorts of backgrounds and experiences can easily collaborate with one another.
This can be said for people with physical disabilities, who are no longer limited by accessibility issues or finding an accessible parking spot. This can lead to increased productivity and creativity, as well as a greater sense of satisfaction with one's job.
Though there are many benefits of encouraging a diverse workforce, there are also many misconceptions around a remote work setup, such as losing company culture, lack of team engagement, or that remote work is better suited to the ‘tech savvy’.
There are plenty of ways to maintain and strengthen company culture and engagement when employees are working remotely, such as encouraging regular video calls, or digital after work socialisation. Seeing each other's faces and hearing each other's voices can help create a stronger sense of connection.
Similarly, making sure everyone feels included in company decisions—even if they're not physically present in the room where those decisions are being made—allows everyone to weigh in on important issues.
As technology continues to evolve, the age bracket of 45 onwards has learnt to adapt to these workplace changes. While this may be challenging for some, the benefits of these newly learned skills (not just in work hours, but outside of work) far outweigh the original hurdle.
For companies that embrace a remote team environment, they are essentially building all of its benefits into the very fabric of their business. Here we break down three ways remote work can increase workplace diversity and inclusivity.
Borderless hiring is the practice of hiring employees without regard to their location. It has become an exceptional way to widen a company’s talent pool and retain new talent, allowing them to build diversity in the workplace.
More and more employers are offering the option to work remotely, and employees are taking advantage of the opportunity to choose where they live. The cost of living in different parts of the country (and the world) can vary significantly, so remote workers can save money by choosing to live in a less expensive area.
Additionally, companies that promote a remote work environment are better positioned to retain employees. Employees are more loyal to remote employers than their in-house counterparts for several reasons, such as higher job satisfaction, flexibility, less distractions, and reduced levels of stress.
Finally, one of the most significant advantages of remote work is it can remove unconscious bias. Unconscious bias is a form of prejudice that we all have to some degree. It’s often based on our own experiences and beliefs and can lead us to make judgments about others without realising it.
When we’re not in the same physical space as someone, we’re less likely to make assumptions about them based on their appearance or other factors. This creates a level playing field where the best person for the job can shine, regardless of their background or identity.
The internet has made it possible for people to connect from anywhere in the world, and this globalisation of the workforce has led to many benefits, one of which is a wider perspective.
In most societies, particularly Western societies, people are socialised to learn how to work with people who are like them. They develop a singular perspective that helps them understand and interpret their surroundings. This formula has worked for generations, but no longer.
When you work remotely, you have the opportunity to connect with people from different cultures, giving you a unique perspective that you would not otherwise have. This global perspective can be extremely valuable in today's workplace. With so much emphasis on international business, it's important to have a good understanding of other cultures.
Leaders with a strong global perspective know about cultures and political and economic systems in other countries and understand how their global industry works. They are passionate about diversity and are willing to push themselves—even into uncomfortable situations. They are also better at building trusting relationships by showing respect and empathy and by being good listeners.
The cost of running a physical office space can be significant for businesses, especially small businesses. From rent and utilities to furniture and supplies, there are a lot of overhead costs associated with having a brick-and-mortar location. A recent study revealed that IBM saved $50 million in real estate costs by shedding more than 58 million square feet of office space—all thanks to moving their team to a remote working environment.
Not only does a remote team save on overhead costs, but it can also lead to increased productivity and decreased absenteeism. It will take some time to shake the old-fashioned mentality that remote work leads to time wasting and lack of productivity, but this stigma continues to be proven incorrect.
In fact, remote workers are generally more productive than employees who work in an office setting. That's because the ability to set their work schedule allows employees to work during the hours they are more productive, instead of the traditional 9 to 5.
Our energy, creativity, and motivation does not automatically reset each morning when we wake, and the hours when an employee is the most productive depends on their personality type and lifestyle. Offering a flexible work schedule supports these different personality types, and can significantly increase productivity and engagement, leading to better work quality.
An added benefit? Remote employees don't have to commute, so they're less likely to miss work due to weather or other transportation issues.
As more and more businesses move toward hiring remote workers, there are several benefits that come along with this type of arrangement, like cost savings, access to a global talent pool, staff retention, and overall satisfaction for employers and employees alike.
A remote working environment can present challenges to maintaining a cohesive team, but with the right strategy, it can be done successfully. By promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace, you can create an environment where everyone feels valued and respected. This will help to improve morale within the team and make everyone feel more invested in their work.
No longer are you limited by geographical location. No longer are you battling staff turnover, office maintenance, or managing a team within the confines of the 9 to 5. Remote work gives everyone an equal opportunity to succeed. And better yet, your bottom line benefits too.
If you're looking for a competitive edge, embracing a remote workplace is a great way to get it.
Having a remote team has a lot of benefits, but you need to implement systems to ensure that everything is running effectively.
Let’s chat so we can help you build a successful remote team.
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