Women and minorities who have traditionally felt sidelined at work have new ways to lift their productivity and job satisfaction
The world changed significantly for women and minority knowledge workers during the Pandemic. Many felt more grounded, supportive of their families, and productive in their work than before. LinkedIn wrote, "'Black knowledge workers reported a 50% boost in their sense of belonging at work and a 64% increase in their ability to manage stress once they started working from home as opposed to going into the office most days."
Indeed, a Future Forum survey of 4,700 knowledge workers found a super-majority of staff never want to go back to the "good old days" of commuting into a central office. The survey revealed that only 12% want to return to full-time office work. Surprisingly, 72% want a hybrid remote-office model moving forward. A hybrid model involves working part-time at home and part-time working in an office with other staff. In the hybrid model, the "other staff" is typically team members who are working on the same project.
Significantly, about 97% of Black employees who are currently working remotely want a hybrid or full-time remote work model in the future. Comparatively, 79% of white peers want to return to the old commute model, according to the same report. A root of much of the sentiment is staff marginalization.
"Women of color and L.G.B.T.Q. women were significantly more likely to experience these non inclusive behaviors," according to a Deloitte survey, Women at Work: A Global Outlook.
The report goes on to say, "52 percent of women have experienced some form of harassment or microaggression in the past year, ranging from the belief that their judgment is being questioned because they are women to disparaging remarks about their physical appearance, communication style, race, sexual orientation or caregiving status."
Meanwhile, more than half (54%) of Black employees consider their sense of belonging at work “good or very good.” 70% of white employees are positive about their work environments.
Further, inability to “cover” one’s identity has been challenging for L.G.B.T.Q. women. These women are nearly four times more likely to say they have experienced jokes of a sexual nature than non-L.G.B.T.Q. women. They are also less likely than others in a company to view their employer as supportive.
Black knowledge workers reported a 50% boost in their sense of belonging at work and a 64% increase in their ability to manage stress once they started working from home as opposed to going into the office most days.
Future Forum research shows that flexibility actually fosters a better employee experience. Workers who have the option to work a flexible schedule report 53% higher productivity and 57% better work-life balance.
Future Forum also found that of those currently working remotely, 97% want a hybrid or full-time remote working model (compared with 79% of white knowledge workers in the U.S.). Only 3% of Black knowledge workers want to return to full-time co-located work (vs. 21% of white knowledge workers in the U.S.).
However, though marginalized workers may feel they can relax in a remote work context, they still may find abusive behavior from ill-informed staff. Habits developed in the social media space may pursue them into their living rooms.
During virtual harassment sessions, be sure to document everything about the incident, starting with the date and time. In extreme instances, depending on company policy in matters of virtual harassment: Hit record on the Zoom console.