During the last three years, workers across the globe have shaped an entirely new concept of workplace. The workplace – and work itself – is now seen as “hybrid, agile, and interdependent”, as defined by a recent Forbes.com article about how the “new normal” has impacted workplace culture. Even if it is just one of the many results of the pandemic crisis, this new way of looking at the workplace has now become a real game-changer for both HR managers and employees – and is definitely destined to last.
This trend is also highlighted in the recent McKinsey’s study Hybrid work: Making it fit with your diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy, which reports that 85% of employees who are have already been working in a hybrid model over the last couple of years would like to maintain it in the future – regardless of the industry, geographical region or demographic segment. The study also shows that this preference is even stronger among those groups of employees that are traditionally underrepresented in the workplace. The survey results indicate that respondents with disabilities were 11% more likely to prefer a hybrid work model. The percentage was even higher for LGBQ+ and non-binary employees, who were respectively 13% and 14% more likely to prefer a hybrid work model.
At the same time, this new way of working also impacts the way people perceive and feel a sense of belonging to the company they work at. Thinking of all the efforts that are being made by firms across the world in terms of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, it is fundamental to understand how this new way of working can be a driver for inclusion in the workplace – rather than the opposite.
In order to do this, it is crucial to ensure that technology becomes a truly collaborative and inclusive tool, starting from accessibility and digital literacy. Reducing the digital skills gap within the company really represents the first step towards the promotion of inclusion in the workplace – so that technology can truly become an enabler instead of an obstacle for any DEI effort.
To make sure all workers can collaborate to the best of their abilities, it has become essential for companies to offer their employees the opportunity to keep up to date even when it comes to technologies in order to reduce the digital skills gap which could hinder the adoption of new technologies.
Over the last years we at RGI Group have invested lots of resources to evolve our RGI Academy and make it and the training courses it offers 100% digital and accessible to everyone. There is no doubt that this has been a gradual evolution for us and that it has been closely connected to this new way of working, but we are proud to offer our employees across Europe a digital tool aimed at fostering knowledge and community within our company as well as delivering high impact for the business.
Technology helps us ensure collaboration even at a distance as well as integrate different cultures and perspectives while preserving their authenticity. In this sense, technology and hybrid working models could considered best practices which allow businesses to build stronger and more diverse teams – offering the chance to overcome the concept of location as a barrier to talent attraction and acquisition.
In conclusion, technology can really be an enabler for both flexible and diverse workplaces, enhancing HR efforts to create a better place to work for everyone – ultimately supporting the company’s productivity and business growth.