- There are many activities remote and hybrid teams can try to deepen their understanding of each other and improve how they work together.
- Examples include sharing an inclusive quote of the day, creating culturally-inspired playlists, and more.
What does ‘Diversity and Inclusion’ mean?
There are so many different diversity and inclusion activities that you can do with your remote or hybrid team – you are only limited by your imagination. Simple examples include sharing an inclusive quote of the day, something positive and profound that celebrates the benefits of including a diverse mix of people. A more involved example is inviting expert guest speakers with diverse perspectives on workplace and industry topics, to give a presentation to your team or department.
Diversity and inclusion activities have always been important to encourage greater understanding between teammates, more effective communication, greater productivity and better results. Now that more of us are working from home, it’s still just as valuable to ensure teams are well-versed in diversity and inclusion principles and practices, to ensure the same benefits – no matter the workstyle.
Did you know? Teams that are gender, age and ethnically diverse make better decisions up to 87% of the time (Global Diversity Practice). Furthermore, companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 30 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians (McKinsey).
12 Remote Work Diversity & Inclusion activities
Want to know how to be inclusive? Here are some diversity and inclusion initiative ideas to try with your remote and hybrid teams.
1. Inclusive quote of the day
In this simple initiative, one or more people take responsibility for selecting a quote of the day that celebrates all the benefits of inclusion. An excellent place to look for inspiration is prominent figures in social justice, as well as authors and artists. Each day, a new quote is shared with the team through a channel such as Slack or internal email, serving as a great daily reminder for people to be mindful and understanding of each other.
2. Cultural virtual backgrounds
Each month, invite everyone to display a new image as their background on their video calls. The image should say something about their cultural heritage, for instance, the place they were born. Be sure to take a few minutes in your team meeting to allow each teammate to explain why they chose their image and what they hope the wider team will take away from their choice.
3. My heritage show and tell
Invite everyone to a video meeting where they get to share something they love about their unique identity, from a traditional costume from their culture to an art form or philosophy. Don’t be too prescriptive about what people can and can’t share. The point is to allow people to reveal more about themselves, whatever that means to them.
4. Diverse perspectives speakers
Inviting guest speakers, and experts who can speak credibly and authentically on matters of diversity and inclusion is one of the best ways to educate your workforce. Lectures can be ad-hoc or presented as a series around one or more themes. And always have a Q&A at the end, so people can deepen their understanding.
5. Cultural virtual book club
Organize a regular online meeting where people can suggest a book or article they want everyone to read and come together to discuss. The chosen text must deal with an aspect of diversity and inclusion such as race, sexuality or disability; or diversity at large e.g. a book from a particular culture. Be sure to allow everyone the opportunity to suggest a text, so everyone is equally heard.
6. Cultural virtual film club
This one works just like the virtual book club, except that conversation is centered around films or TV shows. As with the book club, be sure to allow all participants the chance to put forward their ideas for the next film.
7. Special interest groups
Create a Slack channel where people can suggest special interest topics that are pertinent to diversity. Next set up regular meetings where those who wish to attend the special interest groups can come together. The aim is to explore themes and perspectives relevant to each group, share personal experiences and learn together. It’s helpful to have a group leader who can organize and facilitate online meetings and set the agenda.
At Achievers, CEO Jeff Cates and his management team give employees the opportunity to create Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) that fit their needs and concerns. Employees initiate (and maintain) most of the groups including PRIDE and Women in Technology.
8. D&I conversation lunches
Make lunchtimes more interesting by inviting people to a video meeting and pairing people up at random. Each pair enters a break-out room where they work their way through a ‘menu of conversation’, a list of questions they can take turns to ask each other about their own identity and experiences of diversity. These can include positive and negative experiences. The aim is to listen closely and develop a deeper understanding of each other.
9. Diversity never have I ever
You’ve probably heard of the popular party game ‘Never have I ever’ where people take turns to propose something that they have never done, then everyone else has to share whether they have or haven’t done that thing themselves by taking a sip of their drink!
‘Diversity never have I ever’ is a twist on this game, which you can host via video. All the questions are centred around diversity and inclusion. For example, ‘Never have I ever lived somewhere where I couldn’t communicate in my native language.’ These questions can be spontaneous or pre-written to help the game keep pace. Either way, it’s a dynamic way to discuss important personal experiences.
10. Cultural playlists
Invite teammates to contribute to a Spotify or YouTube playlist made of music that is from either their own culture or a culture they love e.g. a place they have travelled to and enjoyed. Encourage everyone to curate a diverse playlist full of different styles and genres, then share a link to the final playlist for everyone to enjoy.
11. Holistic celebration calendar
Invite the whole team to create an inclusive online calendar of holidays, celebrations and other important dates that acknowledges all of the different cultures, nationalities, religions etc in the company e.g. Virtual Black History Month. Virtual Women’s History Month. Set reminders for these dates and alert people via Slack or internal email when it’s a special day, boosting awareness of diversity at work and prompting more conversations about things that are important to different groups of people and individuals at work.
12. Cultural cooking show
Invite teammates to a video meeting where each person takes a turn to demonstrate how to cook something that represents their culture or place of birth. Dishes should be simple, so it can the class can take place on a lunch break. After the meeting, recipes can be shared along with information about where the dish is from or why it is important to that person.
Important considerations when implementing diversity and inclusion ideas for work
Set ground rules for good listening
Whatever activity you choose, it’s a good idea to set ground rules for effective and respectful listening such as not talking over anyone, or using the ‘raise your hand’ feature on your video conferencing platform. For some activities, it is also a good idea to have a meeting host who can ensure everyone gets their say.
Neat’s award-winning video collaboration devices make it easier to listen effectively, by bringing extra clarity and focus to people’s facial expressions and body language, and by making sure everyone is heard clearly – never muffled or clipped. In particular, our patented Neat Symmetry helps improve meeting equity by giving every participant equal space on-screen, whether they are positioned close to or far away from the device, or joining from the office or a remote location.
Offer well-being support
When introducing diversity and inclusion activities to your workplace, it is advisable to have additional emotional support available to anyone who feels they would benefit from it. Diversity and inclusion is a sensitive subject that can trigger strong feelings, so support channels such as virtual meetings with sensitive and informed members or trained professionals are valuable resources.
These online safe spaces can also be a place where issues relating to diversity and inclusion in the workplace can be brought to light and dealt with professionally and appropriately. Naturally, discussions should be treated with respect and confidentiality.
Video collaboration can help diversity and inclusion flourish
In conclusion, there is so much you can do for your remote workers to raise their awareness around diversity and inclusion, and help them feel more respect and belonging. In fact, video collaboration by its very nature can help people from all corners of the world get more connected. If you would like to know more about Neat’s innovative and elegant range of video collaboration devices visit neat.no and speak with a Neat specialist.
What is Diversity and Inclusion? Global Diversity Practice.
Why Diversity Matters. McKinsey & Company.