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7 Ways To Drive Inclusion While Working Remotely

The now seemingly permanent shift to remote work has brought new challenges to HR departments: how to promote inclusivity in a distributed workforce. Inclusive work environments don’t happen on their own; they require forethought, strategy, and ongoing effort to create and sustain.  

What is Inclusion?

Inclusion is the creation of a space where people feel psychologically safe and part of the greater whole; it stems from a place of trust and a sense of belonging. Inclusivity is closely linked to diversity, equity, and belonging in the workplace, and should be a pillar of all DEIB initiatives.

How to Drive Inclusion While Working Remotely

An existing DEIB initiative can be examined to find areas where inclusivity can be better applied to remote employees. Aside from that, here are six ways to ensure your remote workers feel included in your greater company goals and are listened to as part of your valuable workforce.

1. Demonstrate empathy

Part of being inclusive is inviting employees to be part of a connected inner circle. That means showing interest in everyone’s life - asking about their day, their family, their pets. This can take the form of checking in if an employee had to take a personal day to care for a sick child or take a pet to the vet - and not to verify when they’ll be back to work. Make sure out of sight doesn’t mean out of mind.

2. Encourage honest communication

Team building doesn’t happen if team members don’t think they can speak freely or contribute ideas without being talked over or those ideas coopted. Make sure you’re soliciting input from every member of the team on projects or suggested workplace revamps to make sure you’re not missing a valuable insight.

3. Plan team activities, but don’t penalize for non-participation

A virtual “water cooler huddle” or “happy hour” can help remote employees who are feeling overwhelmed, isolated, or depressed to spend time together in a relaxed setting. Consider making this start a half-hour before the day ends on Wednesday or Friday, and letting it run as long as happens organically. Managers can kick it off, but team members should feel free to bow out if they aren’t feeling social.

[See How to be Legally Compliant While Pursuing Diversity in Hiring]

4. Support the creation and maintenance of an employee resource group

An employee resource group, or ERG, is a voluntary, employee-led organization dedicated to fostering diversity and equity among employees, creating a sense of belonging, and helping employees work together to achieve business goals. There can be several ERGs within a single organization, connecting employees with shared identities and challenges (such as working parents.)

5. Develop your employees, whether they are onsite or remote

Remote employees have many of the same goals as onsite employees, and career growth is included in that long list. Make sure you are offering L&D opportunities to your remote employees and making it easy for them to take advantage of this benefit.

6. Consider accommodations beyond legal requirements

Your employee who needs accommodation for their visibility challenges should be provided with the tools they need to create equity, so they can maintain the same productivity and job satisfaction as your other employees. The working parent who needs a 90-minute mid-day break to pick up one child from school and make sure their aging parent ate lunch that day also needs equity. Remote work makes it easy to provide a flexible schedule and promotes inclusivity through additional accommodations for parents and non-parents alike.

7. Survey your employees to identify what’s working and what’s not

All of these options won’t work in every workplace or for every employee. A tool like Crosschq Analytics can help by reporting on employee performance and satisfaction, and gathering feedback. When you listen to your employees and act on their comments, that’s a huge step forward in the inclusion endeavor.

Ready to be more inclusive than ever and create loyal, motivated employees? Ask for a demonstration today.

Noelle Davis

by Noelle Davis

Staff Writer

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