This is how you create an inclusive workplace – even if you still work from home

The remote work plan can remain in place after two years in the pandemic. As of spring 2022, 58 percent of American workers said they could work from home at least one day a week, according to a survey of 25,000 American workers by management consulting firm McKinsey. Although many employees enjoy the flexibility of the virtual environment, LGBTQ+ employees say they feel less supported in the remote work environment.

A recent survey shows that 33 percent of LGBTQ+ employees have experienced non-inclusive behaviors such as unwanted comments of a sexual nature and social exclusion both in the office and in remote work environments a Deloitte global opinion poll carried out in February of more than 600 LGBTQ+ employees. The report shows that 20 percent from LGBTQ+ Employees only experienced non-inclusive behaviors in a virtual environment.

It also insulates. “Working in a remote environment can create a sense of disconnection, which I’ve found to be at the heart of the LGBTQ+ struggle,” said Robert Petrarch, co-founder and CEO of Los Angeles-based cookie brand Maxine’s Heavenly and a member of the LGBTQ+ community.

How to create a more inclusive virtual workplace for LGBTQ+ employees:

gestures go far.

Your home office, where the Zoom calls take place, can be a great place to signal inclusion. Sarah Reynolds, CMO of digital talent factory Udacity in Emeryville, California, who prefers the pronoun “they”. inc that they would encourage their colleagues to raise a small rainbow flag in the Zoom background to broadcast safe conditions to discuss LGBTQ+ concerns.

Share your pronouns online.

Reynolds adds that leaders should take an extra step to encourage employees at all levels to share their pronouns on Slack and Zoom if they feel comfortable doing so. By providing tutorials on how to change video conferencing display names to include pronouns, employees feel more comfortable being authentic at work.

“As a non-binary person, when I hear someone volunteer their pronouns when introducing themselves, or see them in an email signature, I know immediately that that person is someone I feel comfortable with and who understands me the importance of identity and inclusion,” says Reynolds.

Eliminate bias in performance programs.

As the LGBTQ+ community navigates family planning, they will find that many traditional benefits programs are biased at their core, says Sarahjane Sachetti, CEO of San Francisco-based family benefits platform Cleo. Sachetti suggests companies avoid the “one size fits all” approach when offering benefits programs for LGBTQ+ employees. Sachetti said LGBTQ+ employees should not be excluded from traditional family vacations, women’s health benefits and childcare assistance.

“LGBTQ+ parents should feel included in surrogacy and adoption support on the same level as a staff member going through a pregnancy journey,” she says.

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