Working From Home Poses Hurdles for Employees of Color
DEIDiversityDiversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory
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September 06, 2020
DEIDiversityDiversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory
Black and Hispanic employees can sometimes feel isolated while working from home as they no longer have day-to-day visibility with their co-workers.

The New York Times

The New York Times ar​​ticle, “Working From Home Poses Hurdles for Employees of Color,” quoted Russell Reynolds Associates Consultant Tina Shah Paikeday on the unexpected advantages that virtual meetings can provide for people of color in the workplace. The article is excerpted below. 


Kimberly Bryant, the founder of the nonprofit group Black Girls Code, recalls the spontaneous encounters with other people of color around th​e office that gave her a sense of belonging as she forged a career as an engineer. The wave in the cafeteria, the smile in the elevator, the nod in the hallway — for Ms. B​ryant, “all would lead to connections that were instrumental in terms of my success.” 


Those serendipitous ​occasions are just a memory, a casualty of the pandemic and the shift of tens of millions of employees from office settings to working from home. It’s also one way in which the rise of the virtual office places special burdens on people of color, according to diversity and inclusion officers as well as many employees. 




The unexpected encounter may have been replaced by the formal geometry of the Zoom square, but not all experts consider that a bad thing. Tina Shah ​​​Paikeday, who oversees global diversity and inclusion advisory services at Russell Reynolds, the headhunting firm, thinks there might actually be some advantages to it. 


“Most minorities a​re left out of informal networks and might not have been invited out for drinks or lunch,” said Ms. Paikeday, who is of South Asian descent. “The Zoom meeting is intentionally planned, and managers feel very intentional about inviting everyone.” 


“It’s a great e​​qualizer, and it creates opportunities for affinity group within large organizations,” she said. “It could end up being a good thing for minorities.”​​ 


Other diver​sity and inclusion officers concur with Ms. Paikeday, and emphasize that with leadership from the top, the virtual office can be designed to embrace all employees. 


To read the full article, click here.​