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D+I: How to maintain unity when working remotely

Written on May 1, 2020
By Nicole Fracasso, OSCPA communications intern 

While offices all around the country are making the transition into working remotely, it’s important to be flexible and open to imperfection, said Margaret Finley, OSCPA’s Diversity and Inclusion Strategist and Consultant. 

“I think we’re in discovery mode on how we work in this environment,” she said. “I appreciate the fact that I feel like I have an opportunity to get to know personalities, how people think and what’s important to them.” 

This experience is different for everyone, and it’s essential to check in with each other, says Finley. For example, Finley and her team have weekly virtual one on one meetings with each other. 

Finley said it’s important to check in on colleagues to see how they’re doing. 

“I think just asking the question, is there anything you need? And just really trying to understand where everyone is.” 

While everyone may be in different places, you can still bring the office together through methods of video chat, calls and email. For example, OSCPA President and CEO Scott Wiley, CAE, has been sending video updates to keep staff informed. 

“From a CEO perspective I really liked that,” Finley said. “Because it was casual and informal, yet we received pertinent information as to what our status was and what’s going on.” 

In addition, Finley started a remote activity to bring everyone together called the Friday Funs. These activities consist of games you can play via email to get to know one another. Last week’s activity was a work from home survival kit where everyone chose items in which the first letter corresponds with each letter of their last name to survive on throughout the week. 

“The two Fridays that we’ve been doing the activity so far I’ve gotten more insight on people that is pretty interesting and fun,” she said. 

While there are both pros and cons to working remotely, Finley sees the current situation as an opportunity to get to know her colleagues and engage with one another. 

“It’s been fascinating, and something I’ve always said about diversity is we are more alike than we are unalike,” she said. “Physical characteristics may look different, but when you really take time to get know people and understand them, we all have some of the same things that are important to us: work, family, recreation and things of those natures. It’s different, but it feels like for all of us, that’s what’s important, to live a good life.” 

RELATED LEARNING: Developing a Diversity Strategy