Create remote humanity in remote and distributed work

No matter the workplace type, dignity must be prioritized. Now that working in a remote environment has become an option—and, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the norm for many—it is crucial to recognize the many ways remote work can challenge employees’ well-being and to seize opportunities to honor their dignity, including through being intentional about connections.

The manager can set a tone of “remote humanity,” or additional measures to honor dignity in remote workplaces for those working in distributed (including virtual) locations, to ensure that expectations and methods of working are clear, and to advance fairness, consistency, and equal opportunity, regardless of work location. It’s especially important to welcome new team members working in other locations or remotely in the same way as you would those who are on site (follow the guidance in “Welcoming New Team Members” on this site).

When a team is split between those who are physically proximate to the manager and those who are not, whether they are working from home or in satellite locations, there is a risk of “distance bias”—that is, that the team members who are in the same place as the manager will have greater influence and more favored status. Such bias (often quite harmful to women and other underrepresented groups), even if unconscious, could impact decision-making as well as the employee experience (including career development) and stand in the way of inclusion.

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