Can remote work really improve workplace diversity?

posted on July 13, 2020

July 09, 2020

By Corean Canty,

Many parents choose to live in areas that have the best schools. They research test scores and determine what district and neighborhood they think their children will receive the best education.

I chose to live where the schools had the most slices in the pie chart for diversity. I understand the value of thought diversity and being exposed to differences at a young age. And I’ve seen the positive impact from this choice as my children navigated college and entered the working world. They were able to have a broader perspective, are more open to diverse ideas and add more value to conversations.

Diversity matters. A recent McKinsey & Company report reinforced the link between diversity and company financial performance stating, “Gender and ethnic diversity are clearly correlated with profitability but women and minorities remain underrepresented.”

As a Black woman leading a company that has operated fully remote for more than 12 years, I’ve seen many of the benefits remote work has on diversity and recognize the opportunity remote work provides to improve workplace practices.

When looking at diversity practices, location is often left out of the equation, yet it can be a huge factor in reaching diverse talent and building a diverse workforce. As adults, many of us choose where we live based on the job we get. We don’t get the luxury of comparing diverse pie charts or choosing locations that add value to our lives. Many of the most desirable companies are in expensive, unaffordable markets and within areas with minimal diversity.

The top 10 most expensive cities in the U.S.—listed recently by Investopedia—are also the hubs for many coveted career industries such as tech, marketing, and finance.

Even if these companies have robust diversity practices, life outside of work can be difficult for people of color. As companies recognize the value of diversity, they also need to understand the impact of location bias, the challenges of attracting diverse talent, and where remote work fits in to help the process.

Here are a few key areas to consider to improve diversity as companies build out a more remote workforce.

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