The vast majority of Technology companies have adopted a remote-working environment, with companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter announcing that employees will be allowed to work at home at least until the end of 2020.
Remote-working comes with more disconnection and disengagement from the workforce and Technology companies are faced with challenges related to less employee engagement which may lead to less employee productivity. Here are some best practices I learned in my career to foster a culture of inclusion during remote working:
Allow Everyone to Speak Up
With Zoom meetings becoming the new normal, it may be tough for some meeting participants to speak up. From poor internet connection to employees suffering from visual impairments, from more introvert employees or those who wait for their turn to speak up, virtual meetings aggravate the gap between those who are more vulnerable and those who are more privileged. Appoint a moderator to keep time and to ask every participant to contribute in an equal manner. Create new rules of engagement where participants write in advance their thoughts and share before the meeting, allowing those introvert or visually impaired employees top share their ideas upfront.
Work with your employees to create flexible work schedules; find solutions that work for carers (parents with young children, employees who care for relatives) encouraging them to take extra days off to recharge mentally and physically; revisit your leave policy to offer leave policies that are equitable for those who care for people in addition of their day jobs; take this opportunity to re-write your leave policy and become the best-in-class company when it comes to employee benefits;
Create More Connections
As research shows, minorities are more impacted by COVID19, so ensure that you create an environment that emphasises connections between minority employees. Employee Resource Groups (ERG) are a very effective way to foster inclusion; ERG for women, people of colour, LGBT+ for instance are some very popular ERGs that create deep connections between employees, creating a deep sense of belonging and allowing employees to bring their best selves to work every day even during remote-working and COVID-19.
Accessibility is critical to allow every employee to feel included in the workplace. Ensure that all presentations in meetings use large fonts that are easy to read for everyone, offer a phone dial-in option for those hard of hearing or with poor internet connectivity; allow participants to turn-off their camera to have better internet connection and hear the presentation; ensure that images used in presentations show diverse people and use inclusive language;
Remote-working is giving Technology companies a sneak peak into the future of working; leverage this opportunity to implement best practices to foster inclusion and allow each employee to feel included so they can bring their best selves to work every day;