Leaders Feel a Stronger Sense of Inclusion When Fully Remote

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An Inclusive Culture Is Driven More by Leaders than Location

As many companies debate the merits of in-person versus hybrid or remote work, a key consideration is how work location impacts overall company culture, including a sense of inclusion. While it may seem counterintuitive, our data show that leaders who work remotely overall feel a much stronger sense of inclusion at work compared to their peers working in person or hybrid.

In particular, women leaders who work in person are significantly less likely to report that their organizations feel inclusive.

Leaders from minority ethnic and racial backgrounds who work fully remote are also much more likely to feel a strong sense of inclusion in their organizations than those who work either in person or hybrid.

It’s also notable that, regardless of where they work, leaders from minority backgrounds feel a stronger sense of inclusion in their organizations compared to their non-minority peers. This is likely due in part to the stronger DEI efforts at their organizations, and that leaders from diverse backgrounds are advancing at organizations that are more inclusive.

The connection between work location and a stronger sense of inclusion may relate to the sense of being seen as a whole person in a trusting culture that enables leaders to work flexibly around other home and family obligations.

However, there’s also a significant connection to how managers in remote work cultures drive inclusion. We found that in cultures of high inclusion, managers do three specific things. In order of impact, they are:

  • Fostering and maintaining a relationship that is built on trust.
  • Dedicating time to recognize team members’ success.
  • Encouraging team members to raise concerns and challenge the status quo.

When managers consistently demonstrate these effective behaviors, employees are 7X more likely to report that inclusion is a strong part of their culture.

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