5 Ways To Build Cultural Awareness via Remote Work

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Being culturally aware is an integral part of being a knowledgeable employee. And building an environment that promotes cultural awareness is crucial for employers and HR teams. Put bluntly, studies show that different experiences lead to more innovation. Having a single perspective stifles innovation, while creating an environment with multiple dissimilar opinions can strengthen unique perspectives and lead to groundbreaking ideas. That’s why, during this unique period of work from home and remote work environments - maintaining equity and inclusion are more important than ever.

In addition to Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) training and other efforts that companies are utilizing to create sustainable and measurable D&I practices, some of the work can be done internally without loads of strategic planning. Team builders are a great way for colleagues to get to know each other in a more organic setting. Check out a few team builders that can break the ice, boost morale, and help employees learn and embrace their colleagues' cultural differences.

Host a virtual tour:

Encourage employees to showcase their homes and environments as a way to describe themselves and their cultures. Encourage interactivity and curiosity so employees feel empowered to represent their worldview, family life, and routines. This type of activity can promote thoughtful dialogue around cultural differences and even allow for POCs to share what it means to be a diverse professional in their industry.

Build a shared playlist:

Music is a great way to connect with people and learn about other stories, expressions, and emotions. Encourage people to showcase music that’s representative of their roots and have employees go around the room and speak to the familial or cultural relevance of their shared sounds.

Create an internal virtual coffee date rotational program:

Each month, have a rotational “digital” coffee break arrangement for your coworkers. Supply gift cards for them to the nearest coffee shop or allow them to expense it. This time will give them a chance to get to know each other if they don’t normally spend time together. Provide employees with ice breaker questions that can help them connect with each other on a more meaningful level.

Make sure your holiday schedule is inclusive:

Not everyone celebrates the same holidays. Try keeping the holiday celebrations about general holiday themes like family, friends, and love rather than creating a party around one specific day. Use the holidays to celebrate diversity and cultural differences.

Create a weekly or biweekly online discussion mixer:

Conversations about cultural awareness can be tense. This is an opportunity to have more genuine conversations with colleagues. Start with questions like:

  • What do you do to celebrate your culture?
  • Where did you grow up and what was it like?
  • How has the way you were raised molded you into who you are today?

Building cultural awareness can be challenging, but it’s necessary and something that your team or organization can accomplish. It’s important to foster the growth of internal relationships with employees, which studies say leads to more productivity with work. Not every company functions the same, but everyone’s differences should be acknowledged to promote an inclusive and productive work environment.

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