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Diversity and Inclusion Beyond the Office: Page 2 of 2

Businesses need different approaches now that remote work has become the norm for many. By Jennifer Oladipo

3. Master Conflict Management

Its hard to manage conflict productively when people arent visible, says Romansky. Yet, effective conflict management is crucial to ensuring everyone feels valued and can work productively.

Conflict can arise from accommodations such as personalized workloads and goals based on individuals’ circumstances, Romansky says. She and Harper both say good conflict management requires transparency about intended changes and exactly why they are needed. Then, managers need to be genuinely open to feedback and flexible enough to change in response.

Lauren Romansky

4. Communicate Like Never Before

Romansky says the informal interactions that would normally foster inclusion and belonging now require deliberate planning. Remote workers cant chat at their desks or gather for quick updates about team successes. They also risk losing access and visibility to people in authority.

Meanwhile, online-only communications can be challenging for some, so groups need multiple options for how to engage, such as speaking and chat functions. Conference software might also offer nonverbal feedback options that let people signal they need a slower pace or a break, for instance, or that they agree or disagree.

[Managers] also need to be sure theyre being equitable as they think about work assignments and performance evaluation without the ‘extra’ in-person exchanges that can support many of these processes," says Romansky.

5. Remember the Payoff

The effort to create an inclusive work-from-home culture is good for business too. Employers whove been effective at listening will draw better employees and get more out of them,” says Harper, adding that employees and recruits wont forget who made the extra effort to be inclusive while remote—and who didnt.

If youre unsure what to do, seek expert help. Failure can be embarrassing for companies, and missteps incredibly offensive to employees, Harper says.

Image: iStock

About the Author

Jennifer Oladipo's picture

JENNIFER OLADIPO is an award-winning business journalist. She’s written for national and international publications focused on science and technology sectors and has held communications positions in multiple organizations, including a Fortune 200 technology company.

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