By Amanda Winstead

Inclusivity is crucial for all high-performing, progressive businesses. Employees deserve to feel welcome at work and should be supported by the culture of their company. This can bolster your bottom line, too, as research by McKinsey suggests that firms which champion diversity are more profitable than their less inclusive competitors.

However, when working remotely, it’s easy to overlook the importance of inclusivity. After all, most people are working from home, where they’re almost certain to feel safe and secure.

In reality, inclusivity is about much more than how your firm manages physical space. True inclusivity happens when your business takes intentional steps to alleviate marginalization and embrace the needs and preferences of your entire team.

Leadership Strategies

Fostering inclusive leadership at your company is more difficult than it may sound. While every leader wishes to believe that they are inclusive, welcoming, and respectful, few actually make the effort to adapt their approach in order to better serve remote employees. Rather than overlooking the differences between office workers and WFH employees, leaders can build inclusivity in the remote workplace by:

● Building a supportive environment, so that folks feel comfortable coming forward with their concerns

● Remaining adaptable when transitioning to remote work in order to foreground the needs of workers

● Advocating for your employees during the decision-making process by highlighting the productivity-boosting potential of initiatives like flexible hours for parents

● Creating open communications channels for folks to discuss sensitive topics, minimize meetings, and raise issues that they may have

● Encouraging all employees to offer feedback by creating multiple methods for folks to pitch input

These steps will help your leadership team connect with their employees and create a more inclusive workplace. This approach can help raise issues that undermine your staff’s effectiveness and may increase operational agility. Even minor changes, like opening a channel on your collaboration software for folks to raise issues, can have a major impact on your company culture.

Continued Learning Initiatives

If you want to keep your best employees, you have to invest in them. This helps folks feel included in the company culture and ensures that they are able to grow within their role. This same insight applies to your leaders, who will need regular retraining to stay up to date with the latest learning initiatives.

Companies that invest in continued learning also benefit from improved recruitment and retention. This ensures that employers are able to connect with a diverse talent pool and select candidates that will improve inclusion and equity efforts. This effectively fills skill gaps at the firm, encourages innovation at work, and increases productivity. Training your leaders can keep them up to date with the best inclusive remote work practices, too.

Continuous learning initiatives are particularly beneficial for remote leaders, who may not benefit from the same oversight that their office-bound peers enjoy. Rather than assuming remote leaders are developing their skill set, directors can work with HR to support leadership growth at the management level.

Multilingual Teams

Working remotely allows you to tap into an international talent pool. However, few leaders have invested in their language skills and expect employees to speak English rather than their first language. While this may be the current norm in business practices within the US, investing in multilingual teams may mean you want to rethink your employee education plans.

Rather than forcing all employees to speak English while working remotely, consider offering language courses at the leadership level. Even if folks do not become fluent in their target language, making the effort to learn conversational-level language is a sign of respect.

Being able to hold informal conversations with employees in the first language shows that leaders are there to serve, rather than direct employees, too. This can be transformational if you’ve recently hired a fleet of international remote workers, and want to position yourself as an inclusive, people-first employer.

Effective Project Management

Effective project management should be your leadership team’s bread and butter. However, if you’ve recently moved to remote operations, your managers may struggle to make the switch work. Rather than forcing folks to figure it out themselves, consider revising your approach to better suit remote operations.

If your project management (PM) team has fallen behind the times, consider bolstering essential PM leadership skills and attributes like:

● Emotional intelligence

● Communication

● Patience

● Conflict resolution

As well as creating a more effective PM leadership team, these changes will drive inclusivity at work. Put simply, folks are more likely to feel valued and respected when their managers use emotional intelligence and exhibit patience when dealing with challenges. This can have a profound impact on the morale of your employees and will help your firm resolve conflicts with inclusivity in mind.


Inclusivity is key to any firm’s ambitions. When folks feel wanted at work, they’re far more likely to be productive and are less likely to jump ship to a competitor. This can support the long-term ambitions of the company and improve your ability to attract and retain top talent. However, many leaders do not know how to manage remote teams with inclusivity in mind. Get the ball rolling with simple steps, like opening communication channels for questions and concerns, and follow through with continuous learning opportunities for leaders who are new to the world of remote work.

Author Bio

Amanda Winstead is a writer from the Portland area with a background in communications and a passion for telling stories. Along with writing she enjoys traveling, reading, working out, and going to concerts. If you want to follow her writing journey, or even just say hi you can find her on Twitter.

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