Are your WFH strategies biased?

Here are a few ways to ensure remote workers are comfortable.
By: | June 25, 2020 • 2 min read
(Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

Editor’s note: This is the second in a series related to diversity and inclusion around remote employee strategies and priorities for HR leaders.

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In recent years, HR leaders have become increasingly aware of the presence of unconscious biases in functions like recruiting and hiring—and now they should be on the lookout for them in their pandemic-driven approaches to remote work.

That’s according to Juliette Gust, a co-founder of Ethics Suite, who says employers can take several simple steps to address biases that could be embedded in wok-from-home set-ups.

For one thing, she says, employers should understand and acknowledge that not all employees are able to work from home indefinitely, and some may be uncomfortable with participating in conference calls from home, particularly if video is required.

“The fear of being judged professionally based on how one’s personal space is perceived by others is real and should be addressed,” Gust says. In addition—with limited childcare available, multi-generational households, pets and other distractions—freedom from video, or limited video meeting hours, can allow individuals to participate on conference calls from quiet locations that don’t require being tethered to a laptop.

The first step in addressing how your workforce feels about working from home is to simply ask. She cites using a survey requesting attitudes toward working hours, work-from-home arrangements, video calls, technology needs and other unique aspects about remote working that could help employers understand what will and won’t work for all employees.

See also: Remote work brings culture front and center

“Allowing for anonymous responses would help ensure that responses are genuine and unafraid,” she adds.

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For the first in this series, click here.

Tom Starner is a freelance writer based in Philadelphia who has been covering the human resource space and all of its component processes for over two decades. He can be reached at hreletters@lrp.com.