Interrupt Bias and Anxiety During Remote Work

Let’s nurture social justice and leadership as we expand “Social distance” and remote work. We know workplace bias grows when we’re tired, overwhelmed, or in the midst of change. We can keep bias and bullying from creeping into work.

  1. Slow down, take the time to address your biases, we all have them
  2. Center the margins, the marginalized
  3. Define and stick to clear, open communication norms
  4. Be kind and don’t allow any *isms, body shaming, or comments on people’s appearance
  5. Lead regular mindfulness + movement activities
  6. Reward empathetic relationship nurturers over the most productive
  7. Facilitate virtual water cooler conversations
  8. Let go of perfection, be ok with just enough to get by, be patient
  9. Spread out the office housework like note taking and arranging meetings
  10. Provide actionable, measurable, constructive feedback

Remotely Biased — A Befriending Dragons Story
Riveter Online Talk (requires free Riveter Community Membership)

Cindy Gross, Founder of Befriending Dragons

I spoke about “Interrupting Bias and Anxiety During Remote Work” at the Riveter in March 2020.

“Social distance” and remote work are expanding with the spread of COVID-19. There are fountains of advice on the practical aspects of how to work remotely. But what about the social justice and leadership aspects? We know workplace bias grows when we’re tired, overwhelmed, or in the midst of change. How do we keep bias and bullying from creeping into every aspect of working remotely? How does this impact various folks differently? How do we take advantage of this social disruption to drive positive changes into our workplace, changes that could linger long after the novel Coronavirus is under control?

The reasons it took me so long to write this story are the same reasons we can’t expect high productivity out of people working from home right now. It’s not the working from home part. It’s the stress of working in an unfamiliar environment, underprepared, while we’re worried about everything. Many folks have unfamiliar, inadequate equipment in a home where they may also be caregivers for other stressed out folks. There may not be enough devices, internet bandwidth, or “included” data for everyone to work and learn at once. We may not have physical or emotional safety.

  • Does it matter how we look on video meetings?
  • Is productivity our highest priority?
  • Do I need to be perfect?
  • How are communication inequities worse over video?
  • How do I know what scores and rewards to give at the next performance review when I couldn’t look over everyone’s shoulder?

We’ll build on the Remotely Biased blog and answer your questions.