…We suspected the “cake” thing would get your attention!
Here are some thoughts from our Lead Executive Officer Andrea Brewster about why inclusivity matters more now than ever.
It’s tempting, with everything else going on around us, to put diversity and inclusion pretty low down the list of corporate priorities. And yet, now is exactly the time when businesses need to look after their staff, if they want to keep them well and productive until normal service resumes. And that means recognising, respecting, and wherever possible accommodating, every team member’s needs.
When all our usual working arrangements are thrown into disarray, the danger lies in suggesting solutions that are not appropriate for everyone. Unconscious bias leads us to assume that others will experience the world in the same way that we do – which of course is not true.
When a politician calls on everyone to buy their groceries online, do they really know how difficult it is to get a delivery slot? Or that some people don’t have access to, or can’t use, the internet? Or that online groceries are way beyond some families’ budgets? The phrase “Let them eat cake” springs to mind.
Similarly, then, when an employer applies a blanket “work from home” policy, have they considered how difficult that might be for employees without state-of-the-art IT equipment, good connectivity, or simply the experience of working remotely? Have managers given enough thought to how the new working arrangements might affect people who, for various reasons, need a more clearly-defined routine? The ones with children or other dependants? The ones who are more at risk either of the physical effects of coronavirus or the mental health impact of isolation?
We all work differently. We all have different strengths and weaknesses, and come from different home backgrounds. We’re used to the way those things affect our ordinary working lives, but the fact is we are all treading new ground now. So it’s more important than ever that, as managers and as colleagues, we think more carefully about the expectations we have of other people. We must take the time to think how this new world looks to them, what particular challenges they face. And the simplest way to find these things out is of course to ask, not assume.
This open-mindedness to people’s differences is at the heart of inclusivity.
There may be no alternative to isolation right now. But let’s be creative about ways to accommodate and support everyone. Let’s keep on asking how they’re coping, what they need, and how we can help. And if you personally are having difficulties handling the sudden changes, please consider reaching out to one of the IP Inclusive communities: they’re there to listen and may be able to help you find better solutions.
Page published on 26th March 2020
Page last modified on
You're right! The cake did catch my attention. And this is very important also.