Why is remote work and diversity such a powerful couple?
A few words about diversity
Diversity and inclusion are some of the most important workplace values you can hear about on the modern job market. The new generation of job seekers, being raised in a mixture of different cultures and in a general theme of acceptance towards others, consider them to be crucial for their future workplace's corporate culture. If you are unfamiliar with those two, allow me to explain - diversity is, to put it simply, including people from different national, religious or racial backgrounds in your organisations, not mentioning the obvious equality of sexes. While inclusion is an art of making them feel welcome. This gives us one useful insight for the future - just because the team is diverse, it doesn't mean all the members are feeling welcomed.
Of course, some of you may ask - why bother? Is it really that important for our business operations to care about diversity so much? Are there any tangible benefits - apart from a clean conscience and a good night's sleep - available? And the answer is - yes. Companies that work towards greater diversity and inclusion gain many additional perks and advantages when compared to their non-diverse competitors:
It is what the employees are looking for - according to a study performed by Glassdoor, 67% of both active and passive job-seekers consider diversity to be an important factor when choosing their workplace. New generations are especially likely to look for more diverse and inclusive environments, since they were raised in a general sense of acceptance and tolerance towards different cultures.
It boosts performance – a study by McKinsey shows that gender-diverse teams and ethnically-diverse teams are able to gain a financial return above the average respectively 15% and 35% more often. Another study, conducted on 180 companies from Western Europe and the USA, shows even more hard numbers concerning the performance of organizations with more diverse executive boards - 53% higher return on equity (ROE) than among least diverse companies, and an EBIT being 14% higher when compared to the companies without a diverse executive board.
It grants the company a major improvement in innovations - according to Josh Bersin, diverse companies are 1,7 times more likelier to become innovation leaders in their respective markets. That is because diversity grants us a significantly wider outlook of the situation on the market and provides us with valuable insights from many points of view.
Of course, there are many studies concerning the topic, but they all come to the same conclusion - thanks to combining many points of view and different life experiences, diverse companies are much more innovative and agile. This gives them an edge over their competitors and allows them to capture a larger portion of the market.
Remote work and diversity
All right, now that we can all see why diversity and inclusion are beneficial to our company, we can take on the main topic of this article - namely the fact that remote work, among many of its other benefits, may allow us to diversify our workforce much easier. Some benefits concerning the matter are plainly visible from the very start, others require a little bit of thinking, but nonetheless no one can argue that:
Remote recruitment helps diversify our teams - that is the most basic and most obvious benefit of remote work - we are no longer bound by our location and local job market. Nowadays, there is absolutely no problem for a company based in London to cooperate with skilled professionals from Madrid of Washington D.C. This particular mindset allows us to not only build a more inclusive and nationally diverse team - it also gives us a solution to the ever-shrinking supply of talented candidates on our local job market. After all, if you cannot find a suitable candidate in your town, why not checking out a different continent?
Less time in the office is less time arguing - diversity is not only about race or gender - it is also very often about a mindset or a political view, matters that may cause frequent clashes between teammates - and there's no need telling you that if our team is resembling a WWE Fight Night, we may have a bit of a problem with productive thinking and actually coming up with ideas. Remote work gives those conflicting mindsets much less time to collide - short, productive meetings without long hours in the office are a perfect solution to the problem.
Disabilities are never obstacles - once again - diversity and inclusion is so much more than the slogans we would normally combine them with. Bear in mind that there are many countries where problems of racial diversity are non-existent, but the topic of disabled workers being unable to find work - oh, that one is present everywhere and, more or less, has been there since the beginning. Before remote work became a thing, there was a never-ending fight in order to create an infrastructure that would allow people with physical disabilities compete on the job market. Nowadays, it is no longer required - remote work allows everyone to retain their professional position while sitting comfortably behind their computer. But hold on, it gets better - thanks to modern technology, more and more apps have a voice-controlled interface. That is a huge step towards granting even more disabled people a fighting chance on the job market.
Remote teams create a less judgmental environment - sometimes the matter with inclusion is not about race, sex, or any disabilities - sometimes one person may feel unwelcomed in a team simply due to the fact that they look differently. Believe it or not, but there are managers out there who will look down on having a beard, tattoos, or dyed hair. But all that disappears when it comes to remote work - because when you're cooperating with a skilled professional from New Jersey, you, a CEO of a French company based in Paris, couldn't care less about his visible tattoos - all that matters is great performance. That that is how, thanks to remote work, we allow professionalism to triumph over stereotypes and judgmental environments.
Of course, we could talk about this for hours - we could list dozens of examples, we could discuss hundreds of cases, but all of that amasses to one singular conclusion - diversity is, in and of itself, beneficial to our company, and remote work is a great way to introduce it.
Are you willing to implement remote work in your company but you are unsure where to start?
Check out my video concerning the performance of a "remote-ready" audit.