Are you truly aware of the different types of employees working in your company? In most organizations, diversity commonly refers to race. Which is a mistake since diversity encompasses so much more than just race. But don’t fret! As an HR recruitment outsourcing agency in Hong Kong, we’re more than willing to share some of our thoughts on handling diversity in the remote workplace.
Before we begin, it’s important to first understand that there are two different types of diversity that companies should focus on. They include:
Visible diversity: This is your stereotypical idea of diversity. Having employees of different races, genders, disabilities, age, and body types fall into this category.
Invisible diversity: This refers to employees with different sexualities, as well as educational and financial background to name a few.
If you’re still finding it hard to wrap your head around the importance of diversity in the workplace, we recommend reading BGC Group’s article, “Why You Should Consider Diversity and Inclusion in Your Next Hire” here. Now that you’re aware that diversity encompasses so much more than just race. It is time to put that understanding to good use. Below are some ways how HR executives SHOULD handle diversity in the remote workplace.
1. Understand that not all employees are financially fit
When it comes to remote working, there are several expensive tools needed to complete the trade. Tools such as laptops, multiple monitors, and access to different software are integral to your employee’s daily productivity. It’s important to understand that if you want your employees to be able to churn out good work and maintain high rates of productivity, the organization must be able to provide employees with what they need.
One way to overcome this setback is by asking your employees if they need a loan of their work tools during this period of remote working. This loan can also extend to the different office furniture needed to complete your work on time. Another way organizations can help workers who are not financially well off is by providing a home office allowance.
According to an article by livemint, up to 90% of employees do not have a home office set up. Access to simple home office furniture and tools will not only boost your employee’s productivity rates. It also instills deeper levels of trust between the employee and the company. There are multiple benefits to having financially fit employees. They include:
Increased productivity: Less distracted employees will be able to stay more focused on both their work objectives and company goals.
Increased rates of communication and cooperation: When you give your employees what they want, it usually results in happier workers. Which in turn leads to more hardworking employees who are willing to take instructions from both their colleagues and supervisors. It’s a win-win situation for all!
Decreased HR expenditure: Employees who are financially fit and/or financially fulfilled will require less pay advanced requests. As well as the need for assistance programs to help your employees out. In addition, financially secure employees also lead to lesser rates of absenteeism. This greatly reduces your organization’s expenditure.
2. Distinguish the Technophobes from the Digitally Savvy Employees
This is an important form of invisible diversity that should be addressed in companies that rely on digital tools. The term “technophobe” refers to employees who are apprehensive when it comes to adopting newer forms of technology (i.e. applications and software).
It’s important for employers to understand that not all employees are equipped with tech literacy. Only then can changes be made to encourage employees to adopt the technology needed. Try surveying the office to find out the different reasons why your workers are not open to adopting newer forms of technology. Factors such as age, previous experience with digital tools, as well as prior experience with cyberattacks might just be some of the reasons why your employees are anxious to embrace newer technology.
Embrace different forms of teaching
Education is an effective way to educate technophobic employees. Microlearning and social learning are some methods you can use. Microlearning is especially useful for employees who have extremely busy work schedules. Tools such as podcasts and bite-sized meetings are often used in microlearning. Microlearning is especially effective to help educate “distracted” employees (i.e. millennial and gen z employees).
On the other hand, social learning occurs when organizations encourage their workers to learn from one another. This is a continuous learning process that is not only affordable for most organizations. It also encourages effective communication and camaraderie among employees. Social learning doesn’t always have to be verbal. Blog posts, videos, and discussion forums are great tools in a social teacher’s arsenal. Of course, microlearning and social learning are just some of the many methods employers and HR executives can use to teach.
Learn more about the different ways to effectively educate your employees here.
3. Make Remote Working a Staple in your Organization
Remote work is actually a simple way for organizations to embrace inclusivity and diversity. According to the World Economic Forum, the new normal and recent embrace of remote working encourages the normalization of working for neurodivergent employees. The term neurodivergent refers to employees with conditions such as dyslexia, autism, and ADHD to name a few.
In addition to being inclusive, other benefits of remote work include:
Less social pressure: Not everyone in the office enjoys socializing (think: introverts, neurodivergent employees). Remote working gives your employees a short break from the unwritten rules of socialization in the office space. This also reduces the amount of office politics, a tool often used to exclude different employees. Less social pressure and office politics can greatly improve the rate of productivity and happiness.
Encourage flexible schedules: Employees with children might find the typical 9-5 day a struggle to juggle. Flexible schedules allow your employees to complete their weekly tasks and goals at their own pace and time. This also allows employees with children to spend more of their day completing parental responsibilities before their work. Leading to lower rates of absenteeism.
Encourage the use of technology: Older employees might not be quick to embrace different forms of technology. However, remote working is heavily reliant on tech. This forces the reluctant to step outside of their comfort zone in order to get their job done.
Learn more about the different tech and digital tools commonly used by remote employees here.
Is your organization accommodating enough to your employees’ different needs? Let us know in the comments section below! *This article first appeared on BGC Singapore under the title, "How to Handle Diversity in the Remote Workforce". Click here to view the original article.