Equity in the Hybrid Office

Pre-pandemic, many leaders considered remote workers to be less dedicated than their in-person counterparts. For remote employees, advancement within an organization and professional development opportunities often remained inaccessible; the lack of physical presence in the workplace essentially allowed leaders to overlook these employees’ contributions and aspirations. This attitude, built and reinforced for decades, seemed like it would stand for time immemorial — until the pandemic leveled the visibility barrier, shifting a vast number of workers worldwide into remote environments. Now, as many organizations are adopting hybrid work arrangements or urging employees to return to the workplace, it is imperative that leaders deconstruct those same barriers to ensure equity and access for both in-person and remote employees. This is especially important when we consider that underrepresented groups, especially communities of color, have shown a particular interest in not returning to a workplace where they frequently experienced bias from colleagues. Left unaddressed, especially if more underrepresented groups continue to choose virtual work, remote and hybrid work will only serve to further reduce diverse representation in leadership roles. Confronting hybrid equity now will help prevent remote employees from being cast adrift as organizations return to full in-person capacity.

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