Four Ways Hybrid Working Helps Workplace Diversity And Inclusion

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Why Set Up A Hybrid Workplace?

The COVID-19 outbreak devastated lives around the world. While people attempted to adjust to the pandemic, businesses and every facet of work-life took an enormous hit. Reportedly, during the height of mandatory lockdowns in 2020, between 6 – 19 April, 23 percent of UK businesses were forced to shut down entirely or halt business trading altogether. Consequently, as businesses tried to keep their heads above water, millions of layoffs ensued, with some companies adopting hybrid and 100 percent remote options.  

Data suggests homeworking percentages increased nearly two times from 2019 – 2022 in the UK, from 12.4 percent to 25.9 percent. However, what started as a means of economic survival has shown signs of becoming a mainstay. Some employees cited that at-home and/or hybrid work improved their work/life balance and productivity.  

As the pandemic continues to reshape work, companies are aiming to establish a new business model that benefits them and their staff, who may occasionally choose to work from home. With COVID-19 waning, many businesses have chosen a hybrid setup that combines in-office and remote days. 

How Hybrid Working Helps With Diversity And Inclusion

The pandemic exposed long-standing racial inequities experienced by Black professionals. From microaggressions to a lack of representation in leadership roles, significant issues negatively impact traditional working arrangements. By allowing Black professionals fluidity and autonomy, companies can increase their diversity and inclusion efforts by simply listening to their teams. 

Below are four ways hybrid working can increase workplace diversity and inclusion. 

1. It Creates psychological safety

Creating psychological safety is a critical step in cultivating a high-performing team culture. Some people find that hybrid employment gives them a much-needed emotional lift. When returning to work with coworkers whose faces they haven’t seen in months, employees who have been desperately craving human interaction find themselves rejuvenated. On the other hand, employees can experience psychological safety and relief from stress at home, particularly those who are neurodivergent

2. Hybrid work provides a haven for disabled employees

Reportedly, one in five UK employees is classified as disabled. In a traditional work environment that lacks support for their needs, being forced to work within inhospitable conditions leaves many feeling ostracised and isolated. Hybrid working models address this group’s physical, mental, and emotional turmoil by providing a low-cost option without undermining their value to the company.

3. It Removes geographical barriers

Before COVID-19, most businesses favoured hiring individuals who resided close to their headquarters. According to Dave Nilsson, founder, and director of the SEO firm ConvertedClick, “COVID-19 has taught us some valuable lessons, and companies have realised that location is no longer a flag bearer of identity.” 

Since office buildings are frequently clustered in pricey metropolitan centres, employees often have long commutes. These journeys take time and money away from other activities. Hybrid working can save employees, especially those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and families, commute expenses. To create a culture of inclusion, hybrid options consider the nuances of the diverse experiences of your staff. 

Moreover, online or remote working can help companies based in areas of the UK that are lacking an ethnically diverse make-up to remove this barrier in obtaining Black or minority ethnic applicants. Diverse talent from across the country, or even globe, will have more of an opportunity to be able to add their valuable perspectives to the business.

4. It Increases gender diversity

Balancing the responsibility of caring for others with the requirement to work five days a week has historically been one of the major work obstacles, especially for women in the workforce. However, this has changed because of hybrid working arrangements. Individuals who had previously been shut out of labour because they could not attend the workplace physically can now multi-task comfortably. When commute time and a fixed schedule are gone, balancing obligations to family and work is much simpler.

Hybrid working, alongside diversity and inclusion efforts, is not an easy process but is necessary to ensure the most optimal outcomes for everyone involved. Policies and company culture are vital aspects of a Black professional’s life that play a significant role in their mental, physical and emotional well-being. By taking the time to evaluate the feedback of your team, you can begin creating an equitable and just workforce.

Looking for your next new job?

Our BYP jobs board is full of hybrid-working opportunities from leading corporations, both based in the UK and further afield. Take a look at the latest vacancies.

Attend our FREE virtual Careers Fair on 7th October 2022, the day after our BYP Leadership Conference. Register now to receive your email link.

Resource Links

COVID-19 in the UK: The impact on people and jobs at risk | McKinsey

Most people in UK did not work from home in 2020, says ONS

Is hybrid working here to stay? – Office for National Statistics

Hybrid Work Model: Pros, Cons & How to Create One | Electric

Neurodivergent: What It Is, Symptoms & Types

Hybrid work: Making it fit with your diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy | McKinsey

Research: Hiring Managers Are Biased Against People with Longer Commutes

Firms say remote working has eroded geographical barriers

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