Working from home has been second nature to most of us for the past 8 months or so and with the reviews in, it seems we’re all pretty split on the concept. Like most working routines, there’s positives and negatives. No commute, saving money on lunches, more of a lie in. Come to think of it, this sounds like the ideal situation.
However, a study conducted by the Woolf Institute, has revealed that widespread working from home could lead to more prejudice and an increase in racism.
Founded by Dr Edward Kessler and Revd Professor Martin Forward in 1998. Their aim was to provide an academic framework and space in which people could tackle issues of religious difference constructively.
The study surveyed 11,701 people across England and Wales and asked questions surrounding their attitudes towards ethnic, national and religious diversity. To bring these issues closer to home, the institute invited respondents to share their attitudes towards a close relative, partnering someone from a different background. The respondents also explored their own experiences of diversity both at work and within friendship groups.
BAME In Society
If you followed the news over the summer, during the height of the Black Lives Matter protests, then you’ll more than likely be aware of the inequality when it comes to employment, housing and the justice system for Britain’s black and ethnic minority groups.
Despite our seemingly diverse society, it is still evident that these communities are still marginalised and repressed in more than one way and there are still major differences and inequalities within society.
Over a 2 year period, the study aimed to understand how people perceive and experience diversity in their neighbourhoods, towns and cities and how this compared nationally.
Britain’s View On Diversity
The report’s major findings concluded that on a national level, diversity is good for the UK but workplaces play an important part in bringing people from different backgrounds together.
Overall, there is a national consensus that diversity is good for society. That being said, people in the North East of England and in Wales, when in comparison to those in London are less welcoming of diversity.
It’s clear to see that 60% of people in England and Wales think diversity has developed too quickly. This same 60% believe that there are too many migrants in Britain and exactly half also believe that ethnic diversity has increased too quickly over the last 10 years.
Religion And Diversity
When it comes to religion, this is where the positivity and acceptance dwindles. The study shows that as a society we are less comfortable with a close relative marrying someone from a different religious background. The religious group that is most commonly targeted by negative attitudes is those of a Muslim faith, with only 44% of participants comfortable with a close relative marrying a Muslim.
Friendship And Diversity
In terms of friendships, the picture is a little rosier. The findings revealed that a large majority of people have friendships that are ethnically, nationally or religiously diverse. Three quarters of respondents stated they have at least one friend from a different ethnic background and over two thirds of British respondents reported having non-British friends. Despite this positive evidence, the report found regional differences. Compared to London, people in the North West are the least likely to have ethnically diverse friendships.
Diversity In The Workplace
Moving over to workplaces, on the whole, the most are diverse. The workplace allows people from different backgrounds to come together with either a similar interest or shared goal and allows them to work together despite any prejudices they may have. It can break down stereotypes or negative attitudes and gives people the chance to learn from each other, their religion and their cultures. The report strongly suggests that workers are a “safe bet” for integration and cohesion strategies.
When we take a closer look at the numbers, three quarters of all workers in England and Wales, regardless of ethnicity, work in a setting that is ethnically diverse. Workers in the North East, North West and Wales are 70% more likely than those in London to work only with British colleagues. Workers in the East Midlands are nearly four times more likely than those in London to work only with colleagues from the same religious background. And in terms of age, workers aged over 65 years old were nearly twice as likely to work with only British colleagues.
We can see that to understand each other more, the workplace is a vital area to improve relationships with those from different backgrounds to ourselves. Workplaces have a long way to go, and they don’t just need a multicultural workforce to tick a box, this is a business must have. People need to see representations in all walks of life and understand that they can do the job they want to do despite ethnicity, nationality or religion.
Your business can help promote diversity by developing anti-discrimination policies and give all employees equal opportunities and fair treatment. By creating an inclusive workplace, you should be giving your people a voice and encouraging them to share their views and opinions.
How Can Ampios Help You
If you need help improving diversity and inclusion, the team at Ampios can help. We can work with you and your people and their alignment to the vision and strategy. With human resource specialists who know a thing or two about people, we can bring positive, pragmatic and considered solutions to you by putting employees first.
To get in touch, click here.