4 Ways to Make Your Office More Inclusive

4 Ways to Make Your Office More Inclusive

One of the most important things a business leader can do is to make the office more inclusive. After all, having a variety of points of view in the office is not only a great ethical decision considering the inequalities that exist in the world, but it also has a variety of positive effects, such as more creative ways of coming up with ideas for new products. If you’re ready to make a real change in your office and improve equality in the world by improving it in the workplace, there are some great strategies out there to help.

 

1 Understand diversity in every form

 

Most of us think of diversity when it comes to making sure we employ more women and minorities. It’s a great start, but the fact is there are other kinds of diversity we’re not even aware of, and we should be more welcoming of it in an office setting. According to The Muse, some other characteristics you may not see but that still exist are disability, sexuality, and religious belief, not to mention different political views and gender identities.

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The best way to demonstrate you understand this is simple: be open to all kinds of people, no matter where they’re coming from or what they believe. Making your office a place where employees feel safe talking about who they are–even if you don’t agree with them–is key. According to Vox, 75 percent of workplace harassment victims experienced retaliation when they spoke up, so this is a way to avoid having that happen at your office.

 

2 Be fair

 

Oftentimes, we don’t even know we’re acting against someone who’s different from us, but that doesn’t mean that when we harm someone subconsciously they don’t notice. One examples that illustrates this is this story from the Huffington Post about an experiment where a man, by simply signing his name as a woman for two weeks on work email, received completely different treatment from clients. He was met with more distrust and his judgment was questioned often. This is despite the fact that women make up 49.6 percent of the world’s population.

 

A way to easily solve this problem is by making processes a bit more equal in the office. For example, as recommended by Entrepreneur.com, you can rotate who runs your meetings. That way, everyone will be heard. Another option is to assign different people on challenging, high-responsibility tasks, and when someone’s coming up for that big promotion, make sure you’re as objective as possible, discussing potential candidates with colleagues. Don’t forget about gender-neutral bathrooms, too.

 

3 Allow for remote work

 

Did you know that, according to the Journal of Managed Care and Specialty Pharmacy, people suffering from endometriosis are more likely to miss work due to their symptoms? This is a condition that over 5 million women in the US experience, and allowing remote work and flexible schedules can make a big difference for female employees. The same goes for anyone experiencing mental illness, or if you have any single parents working for you. By creating a workspace with flexibility, you’re demonstrating that you respect your employees’ needs, whatever they may be.

 

The same goes for things like parental leave. According to life coach Tessa Petrich, ““When a woman needs–or chooses–to take three to six months by cobbling together benefits, disability, or unpaid time and partners only have or choose to take two weeks, it’s a pretty brutal setup.”

 

4 Share your good work with the world

 

Finally, if you really want to make a difference, the best thing you can do is change not only your office but other offices, too. Everyone’s already obsessed with checking Instagram and Facebook and Twitter, spending 5 hours a day on their phones, so you might as well share what you’re doing online. Not only will it attract more customers–millennials and Generation Z especially care about buying products and services from companies that agree with their ethical views–but it will also inspire others.

 

Just imagine it: if you demonstrate that it’s possible for strong companies to make their offices inclusive, and grow and do better over time, then other companies that are afraid to take the leap will look to you as an example. As long as you’re using all the right hashtags (#wokecapitalist maybe?), and post about your steps to inclusion along the way, other business leaders will be able to learn from you and make the world better, too.

 

As you can see, making the office more inclusive is one of the best things you can do as a responsible, enlightened business leader. As we move forward, the steps you’ve taken will mean that you’re leading one of the most forward-thinking companies out there.

 

What steps have you taken to make your office more inclusive?

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