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As a Black woman in tech, I'm never going back to an office again. Here's how remote work saved me from racism and microaggressions.

As a Black woman in tech, I'm never going back to an office again. Here's how remote work saved me from racism and microaggressions.

Sigourney Norman.
Courtesy of Sigourney Norman




Sigourney Norman is a community manager at legal tech startup, Paladin.




She says allowing employees to work remotely can make companies more inclusive and less racist.




At home, people of color can avoid in-person microaggressions and live in a community where they feel safe.




See more stories on Insider's business page.


Last Thursday, LinkedIn became the latest tech company to announce their workers will be able to continue working from home after the pandemic. But even as the Delta variant delays return-to-office plans for a majority of big tech companies, many CEOs are steadfastly resisting the work-from-home revolution. Their arguments range from an ephemeral sense of "work culture" to a managerial need to see butts in seats. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, who famously encouraged a generation to watch movies at home rather than at cineplexes, went as far as to call work-from-home a "pure negative." Little do they know, remote-working may actually help tech companies meet their diversity, equity, and inclusion goals. Having worked at a remote-first company over the pandemic, I know first hand how remote-working can help signify to candidates of color like myself that your company prioritizes shared values around mission over a shared cultural background or ability to assimilate. You don't need to be someone your manager wants to get a beer with after work to be considered a good "fit." In other words, remote-working can make your office less racist.

Managing microaggressions is a drain on productivity.

For tech workers of color, remote-working can mean a reprieve from responding to ubiquitous incidents of microaggressions. As a recent Harvard Business Review article noted these incidences - like commenting on a Black workers articulateness or disparaging our academic success as a product of affirmative action - frequently occur in locations like the office coffee machine, bathrooms, or copying stations - the very locations companies are now nostalgically pining for us to return.
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