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Published 02 May 2013 00:45, Updated 02 May 2013 09:17
When much of our working week is spent outside the workplace, are we still part of the tribe? Or are we loners who come in from the cold every now and then? Photo: HBO
You would think that remote working and “deskless offices” would have an immediate impact on our sense of belonging. Do we feel like guest workers when we pull our laptops from the lockers? Will we be scanning the floor to make sure we are not sitting among strangers?
When much of our working week is spent outside the workplace, are we still part of the tribe? Or are we loners who come in from the cold every now and then?
New research on inclusion at work has some surprising findings. Instead of feeling more remote, those who can work whenever and wherever feel a greater sense of belonging than those required to be in the office every day. A study of 1550 employees at three large Australian businesses shows that in one business unit, the inclusion rating for staff who did not work in a flexible role was 38 per cent, compared with 83 per cent for those who did. So, belonging at work is not necessarily about a “place”.
A report called Waiter, Is That Inclusion In My Soup?, by Deloitte and the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, explores the link between diversity, inclusion and company performance. It finds that when the diversity and inclusion levels are high, there is an 80 per cent lift in business performance. To feel included, employees must feel their employer is fair, respects them and values them, and that they belong.
The study’s authors say employees must be seen as “three-dimensional” people, be part of formal and informal networks and have a voice in decision-making.
Some practical ideas to raise the inclusion level at work include: