3 June 2021
With acceleration in the equality, diversity and inclusion conversations as a result of the Black Lives Matter protests earlier this year, it’s clear now more than ever that businesses need to be significantly more open and willing to push for a complete cultural transformation.
As one of the D&I coaches at The Future Laboratory, I believe that inclusion should be an investment. Businesses should not just be making their workplaces inclusive – they should be making workplaces accessible and looking at what they are doing to prioritise marginalised voices in the team. Here are some of the key steps that our business is taking.
The best kind of science fiction tells you what could be and should be. And Star trek, the original series, and its many spin-offs, does just that. Especially its latest incarnation, Star Trek: Discovery.
It handles the subject of non-binary pronouns so smooth and effortlessly without making a big deal about it. Just a character with one line among many saying they never feel much like a he or a she but were more comfortable with They or Them – and it’s not mentioned again. And that’s just one example of many.
There’s also science specialist Michael Burnham, who has a man’s name, but she’s a woman. She’s human, but raised as a Vulcan. She’s also in love with Ash, an albino Klingon, who undergoes transformative surgery so that he can present as human.
Hugh Culber, the ships’ Afro-Puerto Rican medical officer, is married to his husband, Stamets. Adira, who is non-binary, bonds with Stamets and Culber, while Gray, a trans person that has spent their life accommodating an alien species that lives in different hosts over their lifetime. And yet, all of this is mere background to the ship’s many adventures, rather than the reason for the adventures themselves.
But all – as with every Star Trek adventure – are about transformation, self-knowledge, the understanding that what lives with us all, no matter how alien, it seems to some, is really the essence of our humanity. Or, as the name of the latest series suggest, the path to true Discovery.
Worth boldly going.
Here is a handbook published by Universal Music beginning of this year covering how organisations can begin to embrace neurodiversity in the creative industries and throughout many industries.
I highly recommend everyone look at this panel discussion hosted by the UK Youth Charity about being black in the workplace. A few key take-outs include how the panellists were made to feel that they did not deserve to be in the workplace and that being there was a privilege, insufficient opportunities and representations, having to conform to be accepted, and the barriers and challenges POC face comparatively to the wider organisation.
Dealing with a year full of health challenges and collective grieving is taking a toll on employee mental wellbeing. Its hopeful to see the rise in workplace initiatives that focus on reducing employee stress ranging from virtual therapy and resilience training videos. A report by learning platform, Udemy for business saw a 4000% increase in logged hours for courses that teach anxiety management. Specifically seeing a 784% increase in hours spent on mindfulness courses and 884% in hours learning meditation. As we move past this year and deal with future stressors, an emphasis on the importance of mental wellness in the workplace is imperative for the protection of employees.
Momo and me recently attended WECIL’s disability equality training. WECIL is a user-led organisation dedicated to supporting independent living to create a more inclusive society. During the session we looked at attitudes towards people with disabilities. The feedback showed that people often see those with disabilities as a victim to be coddled or a problem to be ignored. One of the best learns from the session was around solidarity. People with disabilities will never be fully equal to those without disabilities and so the best thing to do is establish relationships built on foundations of solidarity and respect.
Neurodivergent people are those with varying brain functions, including individuals on the autism spectrum, and individuals with ADHD or dyslexia, as well as those with anxiety, depression, OCD and PTSD. The office can prove to be an unproductive space for the neurodiverse community, with many feeling overwhelmed with excessive noise resulting in panic attacks. Rob Austin, professor of information systems at Ivey Business School suggests that environmental changes such as softer colours, natural lighting, more greenery and creating quiet zones or even giving employees noise-cancelling headphones, will make a huge difference in productivity and comfortability for those who are sensorially sensitive. Such modifications will benefit the entire workforce as it encourages a larger conversation about one’s needs.
This article is part of our Diversity & Inclusion work at The Future Laboratory. Explore our work on D&I on our blog and discover what steps we are taking to make a better tomorrow happen.
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