How to Foster Diversity Through Workplace Flexibility

Thursday July 7, 2016

There are countless articles and studies about the numerous ways businesses can benefit from workplace diversity.

To begin the conversation, you can look to a Harvard Business Review article that divides diversity into two parts:

  1. Inherent: These are characteristics you are born with, including gender and ethnicity.
  2. Acquired: In other words, these are traits you develop through experience.

When organizations have leadership that showcases three traits from both the inherent and acquired categories, they embrace two-dimensional diversity, according to HBR. This means they’ll have experience working in another country, understand how to communicate with consumers of different genders or sexual orientation and have a unique cultural background.

The HBR study found two-dimensional companies perform better than their peers and are more innovative than businesses with a homogeneous leadership.

The Downside of Lacking Diversity

Unfortunately, most organizations are lacking in diversity, especially at the top. As a result, female employees are 20 percent less likely and people of color are 24 percent less likely than straight white male workers to get support for their ideas in this type of environment.

What this means is that your most creative and innovative employees potentially won’t get their voices heard if they are a different gender or ethnicity than the organization’s leadership. This effectively stifles growth and shrinks your talent pool.

How to Support Diversity Through Flexibility

In an article on the United State of Women, director for 1 Million for Work Flexibility Emma Plumb explained how flexibility has enabled her to make the successful transition as a working mother.

By fostering a workplace that supports employees who need to create a sustainable, balanced work arrangement, companies are able to develop a productive efficient workspace. You can see this with remote workers and other members of the mobile workforce who spend a significant amount of time away from a central office setting—whether they’re travelling, working from a remote site or another off-site location.

Another consideration is the local talent pool. If your business is located in a region where diversity is lacking, it’s difficult to bring on talent that will add innovative and unique ideas and create meaningful change for your organization. Flexible workplaces, especially with a mobile workforce, allow you to overcome this obstacle.

Why Technology Matters

Workplace flexibility is a growing business strategy that benefits both employers and employees. However, it’s not as simple as flipping on a light switch. It involves both a cultural shift and a movement toward technology that enables a flexible workforce.

Maybe you have talent that works remotely in another part of the country. Or, you have employees who are constantly on the road. You need the tools that will keep them productive and secure, regardless of where they’re working.

Cartridge World partnered with Samsung to develop the mobile printing app PrintWorld™ to help both employers and employees print on the go from 10,000 Wi-Fi enabled printers across the U.S. This creates the infrastructure needed to connect millions of mobile workers to secure, efficient printing capabilities nationwide.