Working practices across Ireland have seen revolutionary change this year in light of the Covid pandemic. ‘Business as usual’ took a back seat as organisations handled the immediate impacts of the pandemic and huge numbers of professionals switched to working remotely almost overnight.
It’s only now, however, that we are able to look back and actually gauge the effect these events have had on our working lives, and start to assess which of the changes we have seen might, in fact, be permanent. According to research conducted for the Hays Equality, Diversity and Inclusion 2020 report, an area that has felt considerable impact has been the ED&I agendas of organisations.
How high a priority is ED&I, both for organisations and professionals?
The importance of ED&I has not been depleted by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to our research. Employers and professionals alike believe a more equal, diverse and inclusive workplace offers many advantages for their organisation, with productivity, staff morale and organisational leadership just three areas that are perceived to be positively impacted.
Our findings also highlight the importance that professionals place on working somewhere that is committed to ED&I. We found that nearly three quarters (71%) of professionals said that, when looking for a new role, an organisation’s diversity and inclusion policies are important to them. Furthermore, 60% said they would only apply to an organisation which has a public commitment to ED&I. Therefore ED&I needs to remain a priority - particularly when it comes to attracting new talent.
How the flexible working revolution is perceived to be impacting diversity and inclusion
Flexible and remote working have been rising in popularity for some considerable time, but the rapid transition to full-time remote working for many during lockdown has had an impact. 69% of Irish professionals are currently working flexibly and the vast majority (89%) believe that increased access to flexible working can help their organisation gain access to a more diverse pool of talent.
However, respondents also noted drawbacks that this flexibility has, with nearly half (49%) saying that flexible working practices can cause boundaries between work and home lives to blur, and almost a quarter (24%) saying that they can cause burnout. Furthermore, 15% believe that working flexibly is negatively impacting their career progression.
What employers can do
So how can employers use flexible working to drive their ED&I agenda? Here are our recommendations:
What action can employees take?
What can employees do to reap the ED&I benefits of flexible working? Here are some things to think about:
By working together, employers and employees can continue to make progress and reap the ED&I benefits of flexible working.
For more insights into how the flexible working revolution is impacting diversity and inclusion in the workplace, register for our webinar.
Mark joined Hays in 1985 as a trainee consultant and has been in various roles, sectors and locations during his time at Hays. He is a Board member and in 2019 his responsibilities extended to Hays Ireland.
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