New data reveals that remote workplaces can be more inclusive; the research comes from the people success platform Glint and found that “employees feel freer to speak their minds and see their companies as valuing diversity.”
The data that involved millions of survey responses from over 600 global companies found that employees at remote work-friendly firms were 14% more likely “to agree they feel safe to speak their minds,” suggesting that remote employers are creating more psychologically safe spaces.
Furthermore, “9% were more likely to report that their leaders value different perspectives” than non-remote working firms, suggesting that diversity of thought and employee inclusion is better at remote firms.
According to the study, remote working can improve inclusivity in several ways, from increased “flexibility to people with caregiving responsibilities” to overturning “location bias” and reducing “the amount of time and energy required to conform to biased ‘professionalism’ standards.”
The impact of COVID-19
The definition of what makes a good work culture among employees has shifted considerably since COVID-19, where 50% of the “top 10 drivers” in 2019 weren’t the same in 2020; Glint found that without “physical interaction”, other “drivers of work culture” including “growth opportunities, belonging and values” became more important “overnight” due to lockdown.
In 2020, a culture of “belonging” became important to staff and now has an “impact on employee happiness”, where belonging as a cultural imperative grew by 12% in the first half of 2020. It is now “the second most important driver of a great work culture” while “opportunities to learn and grow” reached the top spot. Respondents also said that when an “organisation lives its values, the work culture benefits” too.
Having a well-rated workplace culture is now tied to not only employee happiness, but employee retention and greater access to talent pipelines, where employees working at firms with “highly rated cultures are 31% more likely to recommend working for their organisation and 15% more likely to report being happy working there.”
Steven Buck, Head of People Science, EMEA, Glint, said: “In many ways, remote work has equalised opportunities for employees to be heard and seen. In a virtual-work environment, every meeting looks the same, and each person takes up the same screen real estate, from the CEO to the intern.
“As organisations re-examine how to foster diversity, inclusion, and belonging in the new world of work, early signs indicate they’d do well to build on virtual work and expand habits, programmes, and tools that help people bring their authentic selves to work.
“The way we work changed drastically in 2020. Employees want more from their employers now than just a pay packet. They want to be challenged, they want to work in a space where they can bring their whole selves, and they want leaders to mean what they say and say what they mean.”
Eric Knudsen, People Science Senior Researcher, Glint, said: “Employee happiness has stabilised over the past quarter, and it’s higher than pre-pandemic levels. This steady-state of employee happiness likely indicates that organisations have remained focused on providing employees with the resources and support they need to be their best selves and do their best work.”