Inclusive Employers define inclusivity as “the culture in which people can come to work, feel comfortable and confident to be themselves, and work in a way that suits them and delivers your business or service needs.” Inclusion is essential in every workplace, even hybrid ones, as it helps companies attract and retain a higher grade of talent, driving development, engagement and innovation.

What is a hybrid workplace?

The COVID-19 pandemic had a long-lasting effect on workplaces, forcing new ways of working to ensure employees are safe and productive. Many companies now offer a hybrid method of working, a mix of in-office and at-home work practices, to provide more flexibility to employees.

The advantages of a hybrid workplace include the following:

  • Better employee experience and work-life balance – The flexibility of a hybrid workplace increases happiness and job satisfaction, increasing overall well-being and performance at work.
  • Increased employee productivity – Several factors about hybrid working help to increase employee productivity, such as fewer interruptions at home, advanced autonomy, and lower commuting time.
  • Reduced overheads – From a practical point of view, hybrid working can lower overhead costs for companies as they can either move to a cheaper area or reduce the size of their office.

However, there are some disadvantages associated with hybrid working as well, including:

  • Employees can feel isolated & disconnected – When employees work from anywhere, it can be hard to check in with other employees. They can quickly feel isolated or unseen.
  • Increased security risks – Data security becomes riskier when employees work from home using their devices and networks.
  • Lack of communication – There can be a communication barrier when employees work from home, leading to disparities, silos of information and knowledge loss.

The importance of inclusion in a hybrid workplace

In our blog post “Why is inclusion important in recruitment“, we discuss many of the benefits that a diverse and inclusive workplace can bring to business, including:

  • Outperforming your competitors
  • Increase in innovation
  • Meeting or exceeding targets
  • Becoming more agile and innovative
  • Achieving better business outcomes all round

There are challenges associated with creating a more inclusive workplace, with research showing that the most common four are:

  • Some industries historically struggling with D&I more than others, such as logistics and the legal sector
  • Employees not feeling confident enough to share the real reason why they are leaving the company
  • Cliques within the workplace leave people feeling bullied or excluded
  • Business leaders not being fully aware of their company’s D&I strategy

Strategies to ensure inclusion within a hybrid workplace

Now we have looked at some challenges of hybrid workplaces in general and inclusion within the workplace; here are some strategies you can use to ensure best practices when it comes to inclusion in a hybrid workplace:

  • The adoption of inclusive working practices
  • Creating flexible policies to include all employees
  • Encouraging open communication and feedback from all employees
  • Promoting an inclusive culture throughout the company
  • Providing training on diversity, inclusion and equity for everyone in the company

Inclusion is essential in every workplace, including hybrid ones, as it helps companies attract and retain a higher grade of talent, driving development, engagement, and innovation. The advantages of a hybrid workplace include better work-life balance, increased employee productivity, and reduced overhead costs. However, there are also disadvantages, such as isolation and communication barriers. Creating an inclusive workplace can be challenging, but adopting inclusive practices, providing training, encouraging open communication, and promoting an inclusive culture throughout the company can help.

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