Here Are 5 Ways that Telecommuting Is Helping the Lgbtq+ Community Be More Visible in the Technology Sector

The findings of a 2020 BCG survey revealed that LGBTQ+ individuals are more likely to face prejudice in a professional setting, with seventy-five percent of respondents stating they had experienced discrimination. In comparison, only forty-three percent of heterosexual workers reported similar instances of discrimination. This signifies a remarkably high 1.7 times greater likelihood of discriminatory behaviour among LGBTQ+ staff. The repercussions of such behaviour can be overwhelming, ranging from job termination to an escalation in mental health issues.

The Information Technology industry has benefited immensely from the invaluable contributions of members of the LGBTQ+ community, despite the various struggles they have had to overcome. Numerous noteworthy figures within the IT sector have played an instrumental role in raising awareness about the LGBTQ+ community, including influential personalities like Tim Cook, Leanne Pittsford, Peter Arvai, Hayley Sudbury, Jon Hall, Works, and Megan Smith.

Numerous notable figures within the LGBTQ+ community have shown immense bravery by openly declaring their sexual orientation, inspiring others within the movement to do the same. These individuals were well aware that their decision could result in various challenges, but they remained steadfast in their commitment to creating a more inclusive and safe environment for their community as a whole.

An increasing number of businesses operating within the IT sector are demonstrating their unwavering support for the LGBTQ+ community by implementing various programs and schemes. Prominent technology giants like Microsoft, Apple, and Adobe have departed several Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) whilst publicly reaffirming their support for the LGBTQ+ community. With their significant contributions, these firms have set a positive example for others in showing their endorsement towards this crucial cause.

At Works and the Works Community, we are dedicated to fostering an inviting and secure environment where individuals can learn, expand their skill sets, and express themselves without constraint. We wholeheartedly understand the significance of increasing LGBTQ+ recognition and inclusivity in growing a space where members of this community can thrive and advance professionally.

In dedication to the LGBTQ+ community and Works, our company will be hosting its annual signature event, #PrideAtWorks, which will take place virtually over two days, with developers having the unique opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals. We would like to extend our invitation to join us in exploring and experiencing this free event set to occur on June 21st and 22nd, 2022. Visit Works for further details.

In light of recent events, the discourse concerning digital ventures has evolved to promote greater emphasis on topics such as diversity, accessibility, and equality. This transformation of thinking has engendered an atmosphere that is receptive to schemes like Works and other such organisations. To demonstrate this change of attitude, the following are some of the ways in which the marketplace has shifted.

IT companies gravitating towards more inclusive hiring practices

The US Supreme Court reached a historic verdict in June 2020, following the support of an amicus brief backed by over two hundred leading firms, all of whom recognize the merit of an inclusive policy geared towards developing a more diverse workforce. To showcase their backing of the LGBTQ+ community and promote equality, these companies have established Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), launched marketing campaigns and revamped recruitment protocols. In all, it is onward and upward to a brighter future.

In the preceding two years, several IT enterprises have overcome their reservations by putting in place and robustly implementing diversity and inclusivity policies, whilst closely monitoring allegations of mistreatment or discriminatory acts against members of the LGBTQ+ community. Moreover, there has been a proliferation of LGBTQ+ support groups initiated by these businesses to nurture a more inclusive environment.

Taking a proactive standpoint towards augmenting the incorporation of the LGBTQ+ community and promoting diversity and inclusivity principles within a company may prove advantageous in various ways, such as enhancing job satisfaction, amplifying productivity, and elevating employee retention, ultimately leading to increased profits. By establishing a human resource policy built around the precepts of inclusion, equality, and diversity, an enterprise can develop a more welcoming workspace for all of its members.

The IT sector has experienced transformative change with the advent of remote employment.

Throughout history, the LGBTQ+ community has had to navigate a significant number of obstacles when it comes to receiving acknowledgement and acceptance, which has frequently resulted in members moving to more liberal and larger cities since the 1960s. Many individuals within this community have grappled with issues such as community, safety, and employment when living in less accepting urban areas, hence they have been compelled to migrate towards more welcoming city centres, where safety and opportunities are more likely to be found.

Following the reorientation of daily existence brought about by the pandemic, a significant number of IT companies have responded by transitioning to a fully remote or hybrid working strategy. This has resulted in two significant benefits for LGBTQ+ individuals in the IT sector. Firstly, a remote work structure enables them to participate in meaningful work within a more inclusive work environment, regardless of their geographic location. Secondly, they no longer have to relocate from the community that has helped them flourish to continue their professional development.

Telecommuting has led to greater diversity and participation

LinkedIn conducted a survey in 2021 that discovered that approximately one-fourth (24%) of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ+) workers conceal their identities during office hours, as they are apprehensive of their colleagues’ responses.

A significant proportion of the LGBTQ+ population have communicated that they feel more secure, empowered, and free from external influences to represent themselves in a specific manner, when transiting to remote work. This might indicate that virtual working spaces offer a heightened feeling of comfort and assurance to LGBTQ+ members.

By introducing remote onboarding systems, as well as incorporating nonbinary pronouns into email signatures, LinkedIn profiles, and other online profiles, members of the LGBTQ+ community feel emboldened to unhesitatingly assert their preferred pronouns. Several individuals have begun embracing the practice of just specifying what their preferred pronouns are, to reduce the burden of having to repeatedly disclose them.

Owing to the limited scope of in-person interaction while working remotely, members of the LGBTQ+ IT community are significantly less prone to facing discriminatory treatment owing to their physical attributes.

Telecommuting has led to an increase in visibility of the LGBTQ+ community

In their research, “How Remote Work Can Foster an Inclusive Environment for Transgender Developers,” Ford and his colleagues postulated that telecommuting empowers underrepresented populations to exercise greater control over the public disclosure of their identities, and how they are projected in the professional milieu.

LGBTQ+ professionals can discover a sense of camaraderie and recognition by using their favoured trans and nonbinary pronouns on professional accounts, such as LinkedIn and GitHub. This approach can help ensure that individuals feel comfortable and accepted in their workplace, thus allowing them to make meaningful connections and advancement in their respective careers. Authentically expressing themselves in their work environment provides LGBTQ+ professionals with an opportunity to benefit from a more constructive work environment.

Individuals who do not identify as LGBTQ+ can expand their knowledge and understanding of various sexual orientations that exist in contemporary society and workplaces, by actively conversing with LGBTQ+ tech specialists. These discussions can help establish an honest and unbiased virtual culture, where LGBTQ+ professionals feel comfortable sharing their viewpoints and experiences. Engaging in these conversations can enable individuals to attain a more nuanced understanding of the intricate challenges that LGBTQ+ people confront, and the distinct outlooks they bring to the professional environment.

Amidst the height of the pandemic, numerous Information Technology firms advocated for virtual interaction and events to encourage camaraderie within the LGBTQ+ community in the workplace, at a time when it was especially crucial for individuals to express their identities freely.

Senior employees who have adult children identifying as part of the LGBTQ+ community have found online communities and virtual gatherings highly beneficial, as it allows them to discuss and exchange their experiences. By participating in these conversations, individuals can develop a comprehensive understanding of the challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community and how one can best support them. Embracing the role of an ally thus helps to promote greater empathy and understanding.

Inclusive policymaking is crucial for accessibility in remote areas.

According to a recent survey by Project Include, a LinkedIn research initiative, members of the LGBTQ+ community faced a surge in online harassment during the COVID-19 pandemic, even with more LGBTQ+ individuals working remotely.

It is imperative to establish resolute and exhaustive regulations to safeguard LGBTQ+ workers and foster a secure and all-encompassing digital work environment, in light of these observations. According to LinkedIn’s research, employees are resolute in their belief that there needs to be unequivocal policies and mechanisms in place to safeguard them from online harassment and cyberbullying.

The diagram below demonstrates how remote work has led to a rise in gender-biased harassment and online bullying targeted at women.

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