Why many Black employees don’t want to return to the office

Written by | Lifestyle

Tennessee mom Ashley Brooks enjoys working in tech support at a Nashville firm, in large part because the job has been remote since the coronavirus pandemic erupted. But with her employer likely to summon employees back to the office in 2022, she is nervous: Like many Black Americans, Brooks finds the thought of returning to work discomfiting.

Indeed, while polls suggest some employees are content to be back at their desks, Black workers told CBS MoneyWatch that being in a predominantly White workplaces often exacts an emotional toll. Working from home offers a measure of inner peace and even helps them do their jobs better, they said.

“It definitely feels more comfortable at home,” said Brooks, who was commuting to work before COVID-19 struck last year. “I don’t have to worry so much about my hair and the way I dress — you don’t have to answer dumb questions about your hair.”

Such sentiments are common among people of color, including in corporate America. For decades, Black and Hispanic employees have reported feeling marginalized at work and being relegated to lower-paying roles even when their credentials qualify them for a higher-level position.

Black women, in particular, say a typical workday often requires looking past microaggressions from co-workers, ignoring flippant comments about their natural hairstyles or suppressing emotions lest they be labeled an “angry black woman.”

An October survey of more than 10,000 workers from Future Forum, a research group focused on workplace issues, found that 66% of Black respondents want a flexible schedule, compared to 59% of White employees. The survey concluded that Black workers are happier in their jobs, and have a more favorable view of their employer, when working remotely.

Source: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/black-workers-return-to-office-future-forum-workplace/

Last modified: 02/28/2022

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