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Digital Equity: 3 Considerations to Foster Inclusivity in the Workplace

In 2020, the Oxford Dictionary reported that the use of the word “remotely” increased by 300% over the previous year.1 Words like “inclusion,” “belonging,” and “isolation” are also trending upward in usage. However, as the ways in which we work continue to evolve, digital connection and tech-supported meetings have become cemented as a critical component for most. Regardless of a company’s in-office or work-from-home policies, collaborating digitally with teammates, clients, or global partners is paramount. In this blog, Allsteel explores how "remote work" and "inclusivity" are related, and how digital equity can foster inclusivity in the workplace with 3 key considerations.

Admix Conference table collectionGiven that the trends of “remote work” and “inclusivity” are concurrent, immediate, and interconnected, how do we think about them in relation to each other? How do we make the most of our digital interactions – both through the lens of productivity and through the lens of the human experience?

To achieve Digital Equity, it is essential to recognize that collaboration among non-co-located employees requires consideration of experience of both virtual and in-person attendees. This promotes equitable participation, fosters inclusiveness, and cultivates innovations by allowing all voices to be heard.  The work paradigm that exists between the extremes of entirely remote and entirely in-person participants is likely the most complex yet common. It is also the most probable scenario where discrepancies may arise, potentially jeopardizing feelings of equity among remote and in-person attendees.


Digital Equity and Distributed Collaboration

Digital Equity requires that we fully consider three aspects of collaboration: people, technology, and place. Examining the experiences of all participants through these three aspects may suggest opportunities to change behaviors, designs, or support systems to drive a more inclusive experience.

1. People Considerations

People considerations for Digital Equity blend with considerations for culture, protocols, etiquette, and human behavior. 

GOAL: To make sure everyone feels as though they have a “seat at the table” - whether that table is in the physical space, or the virtual space.

Reflections to consider: 

    • Are meetings inclusive of people who represent diverse or dissenting points of view?
    • Can we actively check location bias when assigning project elements or distributing opportunities?
    • Are agendas provided with sufficient detail & preparation time to give participants the option to prepare to feel comfortable speaking up?
    • Is there a thoughtful rotation of meeting responsibilities such as reservations, note taking and rearranging the room, ensuring these tasks are shared by all?

2. Technology Considerations

Technology considerations for Digital Equity focus on the ease and accessibility of the tools we use to connect when we are not co-located.

GOAL: To make interaction effortless and streamlined, ultimately elevating the productivity for all participants.

Reflections to consider:

    • Are visual aids and notes visible or accessible to all participants in real time? 
    • Can virtual participants be seen by all in-person participants, and vice versa? Does it feel like a cohesive grouping of all participants or an afterthought?
    • Can all voices be heard well? Can meeting leaders recognize and give space for remote participants to speak?
    • Are virtual platforms, connection methods, and displays intuitive to use and accessible?

3. Place Considerations

Place considerations for Digital Equity are, at their core, Inclusive Design considerations. Inclusive Design principles consider the many modalities of diversity and strive to create an ecosystem of spaces where employees feel comfortable.

GOAL: To allow all participants to be “present” in-person & virtually in ways that promote feelings of belonging, safety, security & well-being.

Reflections to consider:

    • Are the meeting spaces conveniently located for all participants attending and mindful of any physical and mental barriers that may exist (e.g. accessibility of space, proximity to CEO’s space)?
    • Is the size of the collaboration space large enough to accommodate all in-person participants in a way that is comfortable and allows for easy views of monitors?
    • Are acoustics, lighting, and comfort appropriate for the types of collaboration?
    • Do remote participants have tools to encourage healthy posture and proper lighting?
    • Does the location of workspace infringe on the perceived ability to separate home and work?


The Importance of Digital Equity

Regardless of what the working environment looks like today, digital collaboration is an integral component of many knowledge workers’ days. When work is happening in distributed spaces, the need for intentionality is magnified. We believe in being mindful of the experiences of all participants – regardless of location. With careful and mindful planning, we can foster better collaboration, improve efficiencies, and most importantly, impart a feeling of inclusivity. 


Achieving Digital Equity Through Inclusive Workplace Solutions

To help organizations achieve digital equity and inclusion, Allsteel offers an adaptive solution for collaboration among in-person and remote employees. The Admix Conference table collection seamlessly adapts to evolving workplace needs by offering a variety of designs and configuration options to accommodate any workspace. Unlike traditional tables, Admix tables feature open designs that enhance visual appeal and provide telescoping legs that allow additional seating. Admix affords designers the capability to define angles conducive to their spatial layouts, harmonizing with their technological requirements to create tailored office environments. Dive deeper into the features and benefits of Admix in the video to the right.

Allsteel's Admix tables are available on a publicly awarded cooperative contract through OMNIA Partners for public agencies to purchase at national discounted pricing. To learn more about how Allsteel's Admix tables support digital equity, click the button below!

Explore Admix


Interested in learning more? Read the original blog here.

About Allsteel & OMNIA Partners

Allsteel partners with public sector agencies to transform workplaces for the better, in a collaborative and human-centric way, by designing for real people and their ambitions. Our workplace consultants help agencies meet their company's goals so they can get the most out of their workplace by creating flexible, dynamic work environments that attract, inspire and retain the most creative and productive employees. Our inclusive furniture solutions are available on a cooperative contract through OMNIA Partners for all public agencies to utilize and secure national discounted pricing, while making it easier for purchasing professionals to procure furniture for their organization's needs. Not a participant of OMNIA Partners? Become one today for free!