D&I In The Age of The Pandemic

What will Covid-19 mean for Diversity and Inclusion initiatives? What will the ‘new normal’ look like for women in the workplace? While it’s too early to answer, or even speculate as we emerge from lockdown – we’re happy to say it’s not all doom and gloom as these articles hint at a potentially more inclusive workplace ahead. 

Leading on Gender Equality During COVID-19

How do we ensure the hard-won shifts on gender equality are not lost as organisations respond to the early stages of the crisis? Male Champions of Change have worked with their members to develop a practical resource for leading on gender equality during COVID-19. 

The Leading on gender equality during the COVID-19 crisis guide is a helpful tool for organisations looking for practical steps to keep the momentum going during this time and highlights five areas to focus on, being Leadership, Accountability during change, Flexible work, Physical, Mental and Emotional well-being of employees and Domestic and family violence support. The Male Champions of Change are working to release the next paper, looking at strategies for advancing gender equality through the recovery and rebuild phases.

Predictions for Post-pandemic Workplace

Early predictions of what the post-pandemic workplace will look like suggest the traditional 9-to-5 workday will be upended with a greater focus on productivity, workforce automation and remote working, fundamentally changing the way we work.

While offices are here to stay for in-person collaboration, focus will be on a more flexible approach as bosses understand and work with the personal circumstances of their staff, according to KPMG. and their Our New Reality: Predictions after COVID report. The last few months have introduced a real human element into our work lives and we’ve learnt a lot more about our colleagues – and their babies, cats, dogs – reshaping our relationship with work, and giving more reason to start a shift in thinking that work is a not a place you go but rather a thing you do. 

With Flexible Working consistently cited as a top three inhibitor for women in the workplace – could this be a silver lining to Covid-19?

Opportunity to Rethink Diversity

What businesses can learn to not just return to normal, but improve the norm?

Rethinking work practices post-coronavirus is a chance to stop excluding women according to WeForum, as we already see a shift in perceptions of flexible working, removing the bias that those that flexible work or telework are less committed to their careers.

Leadership styles in the new world are more inclusive, according to Forbes with leaders needing to display empathy, fact based communications, active listening and humility, traits more likely to be displayed by women. 

We just need to look to the female leaders at the helm of various nations and the effectiveness of their handling of the COVID-19 crisis, that if nothing else shows gender-balanced environments produce more robust decisions, with equitable countries managing the pandemic better.

Technology can also play a role in exposing unconscious bias with recorded conferences becoming a gold mine of anonymised data in the future to analyse the rhythms of inclusion or exclusion.

Feedback, performance and pay evaluations – processes often driven by bias – can become more analytical and metric-based, leading to a more inclusive workplace.

Let’s hope there is silver lining to Clovid-19 that leads to a long-lasting shift towards a more equitable workplace.

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Article by FitT Strategy Lead Jana D’Labaya