The next generation of the modern workplace: a seamless blend of physical and remote working, focusing on productivity and employee well-being.
At the core of a hybrid workforce lies the flexibility to work from anywhere on any device at any time. As we adapt to these new circumstances and environments, managers can seize the opportunity to consider how this spirit of inclusiveness extends to people.
Here, we look at how this more flexible working model can boost inclusion and accessibility within your teams.
Leverage the benefits of the new normal
Being based at home, flexible working patterns and a secure, evolving digital environment are no longer nice-to-haves, they’re business imperatives.
And behind this digital transformation, or digital revolution, there’s an opportunity for greater inclusion and accessibility in the workplace.
How can the new normal promote inclusion and accessibility?
The practice of only recruiting candidates local to your business will soon be a thing of the past. The flexibility to employ people well outside of your office’s geographical remit lets you cast a wider net and access a much bigger pool of talent.
It can also offer existing employees the freedom to set up home somewhere that gives them the lifestyles they desire.
And it is this flexibility, enabled by technology, that opens the door to something else – a diverse workforce and its vibrant, collective power.
Linking diversity with faster innovation
An inclusive, accessible workplace isn’t just the right thing to do – it’s also good for business. Diverse workforces bring a variety of perspectives, along with insights into your customers, who, after all, are diverse too.
Teams with a wide range of experiences and viewpoints have been connected with greater business success and faster innovation.
- 56% of executives at large organisations around the globe strongly believe that diversity drives innovation – Global Diversity and Inclusion – Forbes Insights
- Companies with more than 30% of women executives are more likely to outperform companies where this percentage ranged from ten to 30 – Diversity Wins, How Inclusion Matters – McKinsey & Company
- Cognitive diversity (diversity of thought, values, and personalities) can enhance a team’s innovation by up to 20% –The Diversity and Inclusion Revolution – Deloitte
Experience means resilience
Further to this, there is evidence that diverse teams are likelier to be more resilient in the face of the unexpected.
Research suggests that businesses placing emphasis on workplace diversity and inclusion can survive and even thrive during a recession and outperform other organisations by as much as 400%.
Bringing these benefits home to your business
The key question for managers is how these insights can be practically applied to bring value to their people and processes.
Not only to fortify the message that everyone belongs, but to give each and every one of your people all they need to thrive in a hybrid team.
Accessibility tools you can use now
For many businesses, Microsoft forms the bedrock of their enterprise technology suite.
Many of the apps currently included in your Windows 10 license feature embedded accessibility tools that can be put to use immediately.
There are any number of Microsoft tools to aid vision while working.
Windows’ dictation function can enable talking instead of typing. It does this through speech recognition, which is already integrated into Windows 10.
Narrator, a screen-reading app, reads on-screen out loud and describes events such as notifications and calendar appointments. It also enables you to work without relying on a display.
Users can also quickly and easily magnify their screen, make cursors more visible and adjust contrast through their devices’ settings.
Colour filters change a screen’s colour palette. This can help distinguish between on-screen elements that differ only by colour.
Team members with mobility issues can access the set up an eye tracking device with Windows 10. This enables users to control devices using eye movements and access experiences and apps that can be operated through eye tracking.
Keyboards and mice can also be configured for easier use.
A range of features are integrated into Microsoft 365 and Windows 10 or available as add-ons to assist users with hearing impairments.
The PowerPoint add-in Presentation Translator displays auto-generated subtitles on presentations in over 60 languages.
Windows also features closed captions and allows users to customise their colour, size and background.
Users with partial hearing loss or deafness in one ear can turn on mono audio. This ensures both left and right speakers play the same sounds.
Those who experience problems hearing audio alerts can choose to have them displayed visually instead.
Join the discussion on inclusion and accessibility in the modern workplace
Watch the now on-demand event Digital Revolution: adopting hybrid in the modern workplace. The agenda includes:
- Empowering inclusion and accessibility in the workplace with Microsoft
- The year of the truly modern workplace is here – are you ready?
- Effective communication and collaboration from anywhere