Future of Work News

Remote Work Improves Equity but there are Downsides for Some Employee Populations


As remote and hybrid work environments become the norm, HR departments are finding more ways to make their companies more equitable and inclusive to help reduce workplace bias and discrimination. But what they are forgetting to implement are ways to help an individual worker, who has a fear of discrimination, to stay true to their identity.

Software Advice analyzed employee responses from groups often impacted by negative bias and discrimination in the workplace including women, older employees, LGBTQ workers, minorities and those with disabilities. What they found is that most agree their employers are treating everyone fairly and remote working is helping create equity in the workplace.

But, there’s a downside. Marginalized employees who work remotely did also admit to hiding a part of their identity out of fear of discrimination. This includes:

  • 71% of employees with disabilities,
  • 65% of employees 55 years or older,
  • 64% of women,
  • 64% of LGBTQ workers, and
  • 57% of racial minority workers.

Additionally, more than two-thirds of women who work remotely say they’re afraid to be their authentic selves at work – more then their office-based or hybrid counterparts.

“With more employers implementing remote work permanently, it’s encouraging to see that minority workers believe remote work is more equitable,” said Brian Westfall, principal HR analyst at Software Advice. “But DEI initiatives don’t really work unless employees feel safe to be their authentic selves.”

To help marginalized employees who work remotely feel seen and included for being who they are, HR teams need to include forming employee resource groups, setting the right tone during onboarding to encourage new hires to share their own perspective and diversifying remote leadership.

Employee resource groups, for example, can provide support and help in personal or career development while creating a safe space where employees can bring their whole selves to the table.

Employees need avenues to help hem express themselves and stay true to their identity. While benefitting mental health, this will also increase workplace relationships, which will prompt conversations and drive innovation.

Edited by Erik Linask

Future of Work Contributor

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