Maintaining an Equitable Space Online

A curated list of online resources for those trying to maintain an equitable and inclusive environment. The list of resources will be updated frequently – please check again periodically.

Maintaining an Equitable Space Online

During the stay-at-home order, I have been blessed with how comfortable I have been able to make my own office set-up. I’ve been working remotely for almost two years now, so I was already accustomed to working on the fly and in cramped places. Rather than coffeehouses, I am camped out at a desk in my bedroom, while my husband is working in our office across the apartment. Music in the background, some aromatherapy, and a made bed make for a comfortable workspace.

But were I student, forced to return home from school and trying to stay connected, my situation would have been vastly different. My parents were living abroad when I was in college, so I stayed with my grandparents in my hometown. I shared the house with any number of aunts, uncles, cousins and visiting family. I think about my lack of privacy and that, at the time, I wasn’t out to my family, so my connections were limited at best.

Even now, in my current city, I know people who are sharing one bedroom apartments, with kids or extended families who can’t return to their own home. Sharing space and resources, while everyone is working from home, is only one of the equity issues that our staff and students face on the daily. Add in how people manage or deal with these inequities – with pride, shame, fear – and you have a whole host of issues that need to be taken into consideration as we plan the rest of the summer and perhaps the fall semester remotely.

What Can I Even Offer of Use?

Like I do when I try to evaluate any landscape. I ask myself ‘how is this equitable? What additional resources are needed to ensure the most equitable experience?’ Also like many, I have had to trust on my own research to find answers. While I haven’t had to implement any of these resources, I still wanted to make sure I could offer myself as a resource for others.

Paying attention to diversity and inclusion work is still critical, even when people are working remotely. According to a recent survey from the Institute for Corporate Productivity, “27% report[ed] that their organizations have put all or most D&I initiatives on hold because of their response to the pandemic. The same percentage note a decrease in mentoring and ERG/BRG (employee/business resource group) activity. And 12% say that D&I is less of a consideration when companies are making decisions about such workforce changes as reductions, promotions, special assignments and compensation.”

My goals are driven by Inklusiiv, a non-profit with a mission to advance diversity and inclusion in working life. They offered 7 Best Practices to Foster Inclusion in Remote Work. Below are two practices I believe speak to what I can help others attempt to deliver.

Make sure that everyone has equal access to quality tools.

“It’s important to ensure that we all have the same starting line to make remote work possible and smooth. Every team member should have great quality and ergonomic tools: a set of headphones for high quality audio (it’s important to hear clearly what everyone is saying!), a working laptop, a supportive chair, a reliable internet connection, etc. If your team members don’t have these, be proactive – invest and provide. It’s worth it. Organizations should allow best practices and tools to be thought of collectively. Creating e.g. a slack channel for suggestions is a great way to learn about new ideas and ensure that everyone has equal opportunities.”

Continue to ask for a work environment that brings equitable experience for all.

Provide flexibility and respect the diversity of circumstances.

“Clear communication allows us to respect the diversity of life circumstances. COVID-19 has forced everyone to isolation, which means that many are staying home with their children, pets, parents or other family members. Ask team members about their daily routines and agree on times when everyone can be available for meetings or other tasks. Prep well in advance before meetings, keep them short and effective, document, listen, allow everyone to speak up, and be present.”

Not everyone has the same home/work environment as everyone else. We should be mindful, but also proactive, in providing experiences and a work environment that is intentionally inclusive before the fact!

A Working List of Resources About Inclusion and Diversity Strategies for Remote Work

I plan to add to and update this list as I discover new resources. When I can download the strategy, I will upload for ease in saving to your own devices.

Name of CompanyName of ResourceDownload
The Aspen InstituteTips for Creating an Inclusive Virtual Space
Racial Equity ToolsCOVID-19 – Racial Equity & Social Justice Resources
Facilitators for Pandemic Response groupOnline Meeting Resources Toolkit for Facilitators During Coronavirus Pandemic
Remote Work WikiA Central Hub for the Best Resources on Remote Work
Remote Wiki for Students & TeachersA Wiki for Educators and Students to Find Guides, Templates, and Advice for Remote Teaching and Distance Learning.
Training for ChangeLeading Groups Online E-BookDownload Leading Groups Online
The National Inclusive Excellence Leadership AcademyDEI AND COVID-1 – Strategies and Tips from the FieldDownload Strategies from the Field
The National Inclusive Excellence Leadership AcademyThe Grit Planning ToolDownload Grit Planning Tool
Rev Transcription and CaptioningTranscription and Captioning Services
Hearing Like MeMaking Online Learning Accessible for Deaf Students
American Foundation for the BlindAccessible Education Resources
Immigrants RisingTangible Support for Undocumented Communities during COVID-19
TrelloAccessibility Resources

Want to Add a Resource?

If you have additional resources to share, please send me a message below.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: