FEBRUARY 14, 2023

We Haven’t Yet Tested The DEI Knowledge We Gained Since Working From Home

Over the last couple of years, organizations have developed more understanding of DEI. That’s a good step, but as we have seen time and again, learning doesn’t always lead to action.

A return to work would put that newfound knowledge of DEI to the test in a way that can’t happen virtually.

It’s one thing to learn about DEI and practice it remotely from the comfort of your own home; it’s a whole other thing to sit across the table from people without a screen to hide behind.

The Lived Experience

When people take DEI knowledge and apply it to in-person interactions, there’s an energy exchange and an experience that Zoom, Google Meet, or Microsoft Teams can’t provide.

The feeling in the room and the body language of those present have a powerful impact.

We teach the importance of psychological safety, which means the freedom to express oneself without fear of retaliation. This is a life skill, an in-person skill, and an imperative need if we want real change.

We all have a false sense of security online. We’re calling in from a physical safe space — our homes. Would you feel the same inclusion and belonging if you were in person?

That’s what we haven’t put to the test.

And that’s one huge benefit I see from returning to work.

We can learn about DEI and talk about it until we’re blue in the face. But, can we live it out? Can we be the change we want to see?

A quick note to my introverted friends…I know you may be more comfortable speaking up from behind a screen, but I remind you that actually creating change in the face of racism and biases is hard work that requires deep interactions. It will be challenging, but I know you are up for it.

If your organization is struggling with return-to-work issues, please reach out. We’re here to help.