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  • Linda R. Taliaferro

The Unique Challenges That WOC Face Working From Home

Working from home has quickly become the norm for a lot of people, taking it from an obscure, misunderstood position to dominating most of the workforce, even if just temporarily.

But working from home presents it’s own set of challenges, especially for Black and Brown women, and in unexpected ways.

WOC often feel like they have to work twice as hard to get the recognition they deserve and that impact is felt much harder now that we’re home, but it doesn’t end there.

On top of the unique stress that comes with working from home, we also have to carefully consider the representation of our community and the possible judgment that could be rooted in stereotypes when giving our colleagues a peek into our homes.

There are biases rooted in stereotypes and assumptions about POC and while certain things might seem mundane or unimportant to our colleagues, WOC have to consistently monitor and keep top of mind the simplest things because of those.

From having to deal with how your job views professionalism based on the decor in your home office (or maybe even the lack of a home office), to the potential feelings of intrusiveness during unexpected Zoom meetings- especially during a hair tied up, bonnet on kind of day.

Navigating working from home can be quite the task. Suddenly, we find ourselves having to present our “work-self” at home, which can add a whole new level of stress on top of everyday work.

It’s important to be aware of these unique challenges so you can prepare yourself and face them head on. By doing so, you’ll be able to reduce the mental overwhelm and stress, and instead focus on growing in your career.

Here are my tips for Black and Brown women working from home to help you with that.

Strengthen your skillset.

Since so many people are working virtually, a lot of companies are offering courses and training online. Use this opportunity to gather new skills so you’re better prepared to meet an opportunity that might come your way in the future.

Whether you’re working from home permanently or if you’ll be in the office again eventually, you’ll have a leg up when you’ve dedicated extra time to sharpen your skills. Take a communication class, attend a leadership development course, or pick up a technical skill.

Be strategic about what you spend your time learning, look ahead at your next milestone and see what you need to improve or learn to get you there.

Stay engaged and enthusiastic.

Now is not the time to shrink away and try to blend it. These virtual meetings could be the perfect catalyst to boost your confidence about speaking up and sharing your ideas and thoughts.

You have a great opportunity during this time to show how you can adapt in a crisis by showing up with excellence, whether you’re on video or audio. It’s a great time to demonstrate your executive presence that announces “I can handle a challenging situation with poise”.

Keep communicating.

Being present and showing up in the room is something you’ve heard me say a lot, and it’s just as important when you’re remote.

If you’re on a conference call, on email, or on the phone, I want you to communicate and share the way you might if you were back in the office and do so with confidence. WOC especially have a tendency to “soften” themselves over email or phone or hesitate to advocate for themselves. Don’t let that be you.

Plan ahead.

What is the plan that you’re following in your career right now? Now is a great time to take that plan out and re-evaluate it.

  • How can you be creative during this unprecedented time?

  • Is there anything that needs to be revamped or refreshed?

  • Were there new connections and networks you’ve been meaning to build?

Career plans are living documents anyway, so use your time at home to see if you need to change or adapt anything.

But sometimes we’re simply too close to see what needs to be re-evaluated, or don’t know where to even start. You know you want to level up in your career but need a hand with creating your plan and removing some of those mental blocks keeping you stagnant.

When you book a one-on-one call with me you’ll get personalized advice for your growth strategy, whether you’re a work-from-home employee or if you’re headed back into the office.

I can help you step into your career with confidence and climb each rung of the career ladder with a plan. If you’re ready to get started, click here and schedule your free strategy call today.

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