How Has COVID-19 Hampered Inclusivity Efforts in the Workplace?

When COVID-19 struck the world, it forced industries to adapt to a virtual landscape. In addition to political and social unrest in some countries, the pandemic also forced businesses to look at themselves and see how they could rectify their own faults and begin to have diversity, equity, and inclusion in their workplace. For some businesses, however, the pandemic hampered their plans to create inclusive initiatives or networks in the workplace. 

Working through a digital platform may have forced businesses to restructure how they originally planned to introduce their inclusivity initiatives. Now, through virtual media like Zoom or Google Meet, companies and the leadership team will have to figure out how they can work with the digital resources they have to ensure that all of their employees feel like they are a part of a team. The pandemic hampered inclusivity efforts in the workplace, but if businesses want to see a future in a post-COVID era, then utilizing digital platforms to hear their employees’ concerns and create inclusive initiatives that address them could benefit companies in the long run.

In a 2020 article by Medium titled, “COVID-19 is a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Issue” writer Kellie Wagner asks essential questions about how people and DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) leaders have to “fight tooth and nail for their DEI budgets in even stable times.”

“How do I make sure my company doesn’t stop investing in diversity, equity, and inclusion during this crisis? 

How do I prevent all our hard-earned progress from falling by the wayside?”

Kellie Wagner

These are important questions that companies, specifically the leadership and management teams, should ask themselves during the pandemic. Companies have two responsibilities in order to “retain and engage the best of the best talent” in the present and future. First, companies have to ensure that their employees perform well. Second, they must “make sure [employees] feel seen, understood, and valued” (Wagner). 

If employees don’t feel that they are being seen, understood, and valued, then why should they stay at the company?

The thing about equity is that it’s closely related to inclusivity. Where equity focuses on ensuring all employees are seen, understood, and valued, inclusivity focuses on how the employees are feeling. For Wagner, “every decision an organization makes… is an opportunity to live your values of being inclusive and equitable.”

The pandemic accelerated the future of work and “there’s no better time to strengthen your commitment to equitable and inclusive practices for supporting your people” (Wagner). The pandemic has changed how work will be done in the future. If a company wants to continue, one way they could do that is by developing inclusivity initiatives that address issues within their business. 

“Make intentional choices like focusing limited resources on your hardest hit employees or making your pay cuts more equitable by asking those who have the most to give up the most, while those who have the least take a smaller hit.”

Kellie Wagner


Wagner, Kellie. “COVID-19 is a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Issue.Medium. Accessed 28 July 2021.

Photo by Julian Wan on Unsplash


Loading ...