First, in this article I want to recognize that the current state of work should be labeled “working remotely during a pandemic.” The current circumstances are not the same as working from home. Working from home is an accommodation provided to employees per their request or remote positions. Working remotely during a pandemic is when the world is in a state of emergency that requires workplaces to shift for the purpose of employee and client/consumer safety. Working from home is voluntary and working remotely due to a pandemic is involuntary.
With that being said, the culture of the workplace is shifting due to this involuntary accommodation. While this crisis has created unspeakable tragedy in our communities and highlighted extreme inequities and inequalities we are all left asking the question, “what does the future of work look like and what will it take to rebuild it at this time?” Here are 5 tips to help you start the process:
- Step 1: Review your profit and loss statements: You want to look at which departments and areas of your workplace took a hit or where you had to make the most cuts. This will help you to understand the distribution of funding and how you need to rebuild priorities. As you create a plan for moving forward, especially one that is focused on inclusion, this should help you start the process.
- Step 2: Review layoff demographics: I am assuming that many of your cutbacks due to COVID19 live within employee layoffs and furloughs. If your company follows EEO compliance or you are inclusive enough to track employee demographics run an assessment in your system to see who you let go of during COVID. When you do this, you’ll understand the bias in your hiring and firing practices and your own institutional inequities, especially if the trends point to underrepresented populations. You’re going to need to understand the candidate to employee trajectory and beyond and who’s missing. If there are trends, there are inequities.
- Step 3: Create more inclusive hiring practices: When you recover, and many of you will (speak it into existence) you’re going to need to hire. You need to incorporate more inclusive hiring practices including but not limited to, structured interviewing, diverse hiring panels, more inclusive language in your job descriptions, and building inclusive competencies as a requirement for every role.
- Step 4: Look at your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to understand the difference in employee production and performance: This process is key as many people in high positions are now being convinced that the production level doesn’t change and in fact, it can increase when employees are accommodated for the purpose of their safety. When evaluating this data and breaking it down collectively and individually, you will use it to set up a system for accommodations. It will help you to understand the needs of both your business and employees. This will help you get to sustainable profitability. Which takes us to step 5.
- Step 5: Create accommodations that include planning for employee relief funds and everyday workplace accommodations: First and foremost you need an open (as in always available) accommodation request form from the time you begin interviewing candidates to the time an employee leaves your workplace. Also, it helps to create an emergency relief fund employees can contribute to outside of a 401K, that includes child care benefits, grocery stipends, even one for external communities that you exist within etc. The decision making power for distribution of these benefits should be led by your employees. For example, if daycares are overwhelmed, they can give the stipend to family members or others willing to watch their children.
In our line of work at Inclusology, we are focusing on the use of our platform to help companies build a more inclusive normal workplace. My offer here is to help you create systems like we are building our technology to build and sustain at this time. If you would like more information contact us directly at email@example.com.