Working from home, once a rare feature of office culture, became common during the COVID-19 pandemic. As infections fall and rise working remotely seems likely to persist and even become standard procedure. But in the top-down American office, where facetime with your manager or the chief can make the difference between thriving or languishing, can working from home work against you? And if so, are Black professionals, who already experience discrimination in pay and promotion in the American workplace, at special risk? With the pandemic shining light on the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion these questions are as important as ever.
In this perspectives brief, authors John Jones and Jordan Hensley explore these questions and report the results of a survey of a Black professional staff organization and networking group based in the Greater Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area. The survey asked participants their perspectives on working from home and the impact that the death of the office could have on Black professionals’ opportunities.
Participants, while generally in favor of remote work, observed that offices have historically provided ways for Black professionals to develop relationships, gather information, and create opportunities for advancement that are significantly superior to virtual alternatives. A majority reported that the death of the traditional office could create further disparities for Black professionals in an already unlevel playing field.
Carsey School of Public Policy
Durham, N.H. : Carsey School of Public Policy, University of New Hampshire
Jones, John and Hensley, Jordan, "Home Isn't Where the Office Is: Black Professionals Discuss Challenges of Working Remotely" (2021). The Carsey School of Public Policy at the Scholars' Repository. 439.
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