This month, Nareit’s John H. Jones joined the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) for the “Presente: Latinos Leading the Way” all virtual Leadership Conference in a session entitled “The Office of the Future” along with Congressman Pete Aguilar (CA) Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, Lori Castillo Martinez, Senior Vice President, Global Employee Relations & Equality at Salesforce, Nichole Francis Reynolds Vice President/Head of Global Government Relations at ServiceNow, Inc., Carin Taylor Chief Diversity Officer at Workday, and Amber Cantu, Vice President Human Resources & Latino Connection Executive Sponsor at Dell. The panel was moderated by Marco A. Davis, President and CEO of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute.
The panel discussed how telework created new challenges for employees, particularly for employees of color, with 27% of American companies putting a pause on their Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) initiatives at the beginning of the pandemic. Jones highlighted how minority Americans need the workplace to develop relationships and mentorships and to break through office hierarchies that will be ossified if virtual offices are maintained indefinitely.
During the session, Jones highlighted the research he recently completed with the University of New Hampshire Carsey School of Public Policy’s Jordan Hensley, titled, “Home Isn’t Where the Office Is - Black Professionals Discuss Challenges of Working Remotely,” in which two key findings emerged:
- In a survey of Black professionals, participants observed that offices have historically provided ways for Black professionals to develop relationships, gather information, and create opportunities for advancement that are significantly superior to virtual alternatives.
- A majority feel that the death of the traditional office could create further disparities for Black professionals in an already unlevel playing field.
The video of the panel discussion can be found here.