Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

Inclusive virtual workplaces

Diversity, equity and inclusion tries to make sure all members of our community are treated fairly, equitably, with dignity, and respect. We hope this guide will assist you in building capacity, and creating an inclusive workplace while working remotely. Learn more about best practices for holding public meetings by Zoom, and how to prevent Zoombombing.

Inclusive practices are the norm

PCC’s goal is to provide an atmosphere that encourages individuals to realize their potential. Therefore, it is against the college’s policy for any manager, supervisor, faculty, staff, or student to engage in prohibited harassment or discrimination of any member of the college community.

Merely stating this isn’t enough. Here are some ideas on how you can act on these values and promote an inclusive culture within your team:

  • Have a discussion during your next team meeting exploring how your work promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion at PCC.
  • Learn (or refresh yourself) on PCC’s diversity definitions; explore pronouns; or dive into the other resources from Professional and Organizational Development and the Office of Equity and Inclusion. Don’t forget to encourage your team to learn more too!

Everyone deserves a voice

One way we can practice inclusion is by inviting all voices and perspectives into discussions and decision making. Encourage your team members to voice their opinions, even if they disagree with something or if it creates slight inefficiencies.

Here are some ideas to ensure that everyone has a voice:

  • Set the tone that your department values everyone’s thoughts and input; make sure that you and everyone on your team genuinely listen to what others have to say.
  • Remember that not everyone has the same comfort with, knowledge of, or access to technology. Talk to your team, work though any technical issues.
  • Be flexible and compassionate. Not everyone is comfortable speaking up in meetings so provide alternative means to provide feedback. People may be caring for others, be understanding when it comes to interruptions.

Recognize people and their contributions

Our dominant culture tends to be deficit-based, meaning we recognize all of the things that are lacking, or areas in need of improvement. However, this deficit-based approach often fails to recognize us all as multi-dimensional beings.

Take some time and give recognition and praise when deserved, and express genuine gratitude for the work others are doing. Remember, work doesn’t have to be perfect to be good, or worthy of praise.

Here are some ideas to recognize your teammates:

  • All of your teammates are valuable, their value may look different but they all contribute something positive to the team.
  • Rotate recognition; make sure everyone feels included. This will help limit concerns about favoritism.
  • Be aware of everyone’s accomplishments big, and small.

Work is not just about work

Work is not only about how many widgets are made in a day, or how many hours you are in front of a computer. There is a social and personal aspect of the work all of us do.

Here are some ideas to ensure that work isn’t just about work:

  • Check in with your team, ask questions, see how everyone is doing. For example, start a team meeting with a question like “what was your favorite part of last week?”
  • Be aware of virtual communities that are being developed here at PCC, and encourage colleagues to participate.
  • Respect people’s boundaries, create the space for these discussions, but don’t force people to disclose information they do not want to share.

Teamwork is dreamwork

While we are in remote operations you can still foster a sense of community and camaraderie with your team, and the sky’s the limit to what you can do.

Here are some ideas to help keep your team cohesive:

  • Find ways to plug-in. Right now there are many initiatives to help our students and employees be successful during the COVID-19 pandemic. Find ways your team can help support these efforts.
  • Talk to your team about what they need to remain connected with one another, and try those ideas.
  • It’s OK to mess up. If you try something and it doesn’t work, that’s OK. Try something else; big or small.