July 15, 2020 6:14 AM

The Positive Impact of Remote Work on Diversity and Inclusion

It’s no secret that Diversity and Inclusion programs work. They help generate more revenue, improve productivity, foster innovation, and generally speaking, make everyone feel happier at work. Likewise, the benefits of remote work are also well-known especially with regards to widening the talent pool. Even so, few companies fully understand how remote work can play a vital role in helping reach D&I goals.
But before we talk about how the two intertwine, let’s first take a look at the current state of play during this global pandemic.

The pandemic effect

A recent study by the Institute for Corporate Productivity found that almost 27% of companies have put some or all of their D&I initiatives on hold due to the global pandemic.
However, the same study also found that almost 82% of companies surveyed experienced increased use of inclusive virtual meeting practices.
Of course, we all know what’s behind that first statistic — the lockdown of economies has curtailed many employers' recruitment efforts and as such, they no longer feel that D&I may be of such great importance.
And as for the second figure, well let’s just say there has been something of a surge in remote work these past few months.
So what do they have to do with each other?
That’s a good question.

Widening the talent pool

Diversity and inclusion have always been about bringing people of different backgrounds together. As we mentioned previously, studies have shown that diversity has significant benefits such as the fostering of innovation and increased productivity.
Having said that, there’s no denying that reaching diversity goals can be quite tough particularly when an employer has limited their search to candidates in a specific area or to those who are willing to relocate.
However, if the role is remote, the search can encompass multiple countries within the same or nearby time zones. It’s easy to see how this can have a decidedly positive impact on diversity and inclusion.
For example, candidates with limited mobility are free to apply, safe in the knowledge that they can work from home. The candidate pool is also much more likely to include people from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds.
Interestingly though, there is one aspect of diversity that many of us ignore or fail to realize actually exists.

Location, location, location

Yes, that’s right; a candidate’s location is an aspect of diversity that employers rarely take into account. But thankfully, that could be about to change in the very near future.
The pandemic and resulting lockdown has helped shift employers’ attitudes toward remote work. Where once they were reticent to allow employees to work from home, they are now beginning to realize that remote work is a cost-effective measure that benefits all involved.
What this means for the future of recruitment is that we may see a significant reduction in location bias from employers. With the advent of the full-time remote role, location will become much less of a deciding factor, and as a result location diversity could become an important aspect of D&I programs.

All in all, 2020 has taught us many things about the way we work. But for us, the key recruitment takeaway is that the remote role could be the shot in the arm that your D&I program is in need of.

If you’d like to know more about Diversity and Inclusion, register for our webinar
"Challenges with Post-Conventional Diversity in the New Hybrid World"
on August 12th at 9am PDT ( 12pm EDT, 5pm BST/IST, 6pm CEST) presented by Joe Aburdene from vsource and with guest panelist Joanne Lockwood from SEE Change Happen and guest co-host Jim Berrisford from Rezoomo.

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