As an employee, your responsibilities in terms of inclusiveness are fairly simple – do not point out differences, treat everyone you work with the same, and do not distinguish between one employee and another. For example, if you’re sat around the boardroom chairs discussing an issue or brainstorming a topic, allow everyone to talk, giving everyone the same amount of time and same attention.
Do not put up metaphorical office dividers between you and other members of staff simply because of a difference they have, and do not treat anyone differently in the slightest. We are all equal, and we should all be treated that way.
Of course, as an upstanding human being, you’re going to do this anyway, but these are your responsibilities within the office, whatever your office seating layout is. If you’re in an open plan office, this means you’ll come into contact with a wide range of different colleagues during the space of a day and whilst you might not get on socially with every single one of them, none of that should come into play. What you should do is put your social side away and treat everyone within the working environment as though they are on a level playing field.
By doing this, everyone within the office will be happy and focused, increasing productivity, and making the office a pleasant and fun place to work. The flip side of the situation is a room full of unhappy workers, low productivity, low profitability, and the business failing as a result. You might think that profitability isn’t your issue as an employee, and that is something for management to deal with, but let’s face it, if a business isn’t doing well, how can it pay its employees?
It is within everyone’s interests to treat everyone equally, focus on doing the best job possible for the business, and pull together as one large, happy team, to push towards growth as a whole.
All of this links in very closely with equality and diversity, but they all boil down to the same thing. Whilst diversity might be about recognising differences and celebrating them, inclusiveness is about recognising them, for sure, but also ensuring that they don’t play a part in opportunities that the person is given within the workplace. Differences do not make someone less able to do a job, and in some cases, they can make them more able! It’s far better to treat everyone equally, ensuring morale is high and that promotions and the like are fairly handed out due to ability and work performance, and not because of any other underlying reasons.
As employees, sitting at your office tables and going about your daily business, it is your responsibility to simply be a good human being. That means working with a range of different people throughout the day, equally and fairly.
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