Why some minority workers prefer to stay remote

As companies’ calls to return to the office get louder, there’s one group that’s putting up more resistance than others. It seems that many minority employees are showing extreme reluctance. They say that it’s easier to deal with ‘microaggressions’ – i.e. disparaging, throwaway comments about their race, disability, gender, identity or religion – from home. Workplace experts warn that continued remote working could be damaging to their careers. What to do?

The Wall Street Journal recently put this matter under the microscope. It highlights the following points:

Workplace slights may be unintentional in most cases but they are real. More and more employees are speaking up about how certain comments and behaviours are offensive to minority groups or make them feel uncomfortable.

For some employees from under-represented groups, working from home is a good way to avoid the slights, but lack of visibility and face-time in the office may be hurting their careers. Remote workers risk being forgotten by distant bosses when they come to assign tasks and career opportunities. These dangers are already particularly acute for minority workers, many of whom claim that they get fewer opportunities for advancement in high-level jobs as compared with white workers.

Companies need to be mindful of these dangers. Education, as is often the case, offers a practical, effective solution. Training employees about workplace microaggressions is vital. With diversity and inclusion such a key aspect of HR, tackling this emerging issue will go a long way to creating happy, safe, sensitive in-office work environments and more equity across all levels of organisations.

The team at ABL hopes that this article offers some interesting food for thought. If you’d like to add your voice to the discussion, please get in touch. If you’d like any help with the recruitment element of your challenge, as the UK’s leading multilingual recruitment agency, we’d love to hear from you!