Companies Are Discriminating Against Remote Workers: Time-Zone Prejudice

People are being asked to work longer hours and pick up other teams' slack, all because of their time zone. Tyler Le/Insider 

When interviewing for a job at a creative agency based on the West Coast, Jane was assured she could work East Coast hours. But almost immediately after she started the job, the expectations shifted. Jane, whose name has been changed since she still works in the same industry and fears being blacklisted for negative comments, said coworkers expected her to respond to Slack messages in the morning and late at night and she was invited to meetings well after her working hours ended, she told me. “I was expected to be responsive 24/7,” she said.

In the age of remote work, many people have left coastal hubs for more affordable cities across America. This means many more workers are in different time zones from their coworkers, bosses, and companies. And some employees have felt they have been exploited because of their differing time zones, being expected to take on extra work.

Other employees I spoke with said it felt as if working hours had no meaning in the remote world and that they were “on call” more than before, often because of their time-zone difference. While working remotely offers benefits that often weren’t available in a pre-pandemic world, such as living in less busy or less expensive cities, working flexible hours, or getting to wear sweatpants instead of business slacks, the issue of time zones is already causing confusion, miscommunication, and even prejudice against employees working on a different clock.

Unintentional bias

Globally, by one estimate, 16% of companies are now fully remote. And a Gallup survey from late 2021 found that 45% of the US workforce was remote at least some of the time and that most planned to stay that way. A survey from 2022 found that 56% of full-time jobs are “remote capable.” While many jobs have requirements on which states or countries employees can work from, some do not.

Employees and freelancers who are able to have spread out across the US and the globe — creating large time differences between them and the people they work with. But while the coronavirus pandemic created a surge in remote work, it isn’t a pandemic novelty for companies to have a global reach. Businesses have been navigating time zones as long as “telecommuting” has been in the lexicon. While remote is all the rage now, Gallup figures indicate 39% of Americans worked remotely in some capacity in 2012, too.

But the shift in which companies are now offering remote work options provides a clue to why time-zone bias is becoming worse. Previously, most of the businesses that hired international and across states were bigger companies with bigger infrastructure. They are more likely to have software that can handle scheduling, videoconferencing, and accommodating larger groups of people in different time zones.

Smaller companies may not be able to afford scheduling software or dedicated staff members to manage scheduling, leaving the onus of navigating time zones to managers and employees. With a surge in how many people are working remotely and from where, more people than before are navigating large time differences. As with any shift, there is a learning curve.

Some employees I spoke with felt that their companies were just careless and didn’t realize or remember differences in time zones. After a US-based company he worked for was purchased by a company based in Europe, R. Karl Hebenstreit noticed that “all of our team meetings were scheduled around European time zones and holidays, while the US employees and the Asia-based employees were afterthoughts.”

Katrina, whose last name has been withheld so she wouldn’t get in trouble for speaking about her job, is a customer-service associate for a nationwide telecommunications company. She often didn’t have a supervisor at the end of the day because of the time-zone difference. In one case, she said, she was “admonished” for not handling a situation with a customer the same way the supervisor, who wasn’t reachable, would have.

For Hebenstreit, the bias toward a European schedule caused more work to fall on his shoulders. “Meetings were scheduled on and without regard to US holidays (even though we have automatic calendars that inform us of these details),” he told me. “And due to Europe’s more generous vacation, part-time schedule, and holiday schedules, the US employees were expected to pick up the slack for their European counterparts by taking on their clients as well.”

John, who worked for a company in Texas and lives on the West Coast, also had to pick up other teams’ slack because of his time zone. (His name has been changed to avoid retaliation since he still works in the same industry.) Because he was the last to log on for the day, “end-of-day deliverables like coverage reports, rapid commentary, etc. often got handed over to me,” John told me.

Managers are often not trying to exploit; they’re simply not able to remember everyone’s time zones when managing a large team. But often, that unintentional bias can lead to full-on prejudice….Read more….

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Source: Companies Are Discriminating Against Remote Workers: Time-Zone Prejudice

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Discrimination Against Fat People is So Endemic, Most of Us Don’t Even Realize It’s Happening

When we think of prejudice and discrimination, most of us tend to think of overt attacks, harassment, or discriminatory behavior. Blatant examples of prejudice do still occur with depressing frequency, but for most members of stigmatized groups, it is not these experiences that shape their daily lives. Rather, belonging to a socially stigmatized group means traveling through a world that is rife with multiple small, sometimes subtle or apparently inconsequential reminders of your devalued status, known as microaggressions.

As a weight stigma researcher, I focus on the experiences of fat people (many fat rights activists prefer the word “fat” and use it as a descriptive terms and not as an insult) but microaggressions define the lived experience of all groups devalued by society. Microaggressions can come from anywhere at any time. For a fat person, this might be:

  • When they get on a bus and the person sitting next to an empty seat scowls at them or pointedly places their bag on the seat;
  • People watching them while they’re eating in a restaurant or checking out the contents of their trolley in the supermarket;
  • A fat joke on TV or in a film;
  • A slimmer friend asking if she “looks fat in this”;
  • Hearing a group of children making fun of them;
  • Or even wondering whether they will be taken seriously when they go to the doctor with a sprained ankle, or just told to go away and lose some weight.

If you’re not a member of a stigmatised group, you might think that most of these examples sound relatively minor and could be easily ignored. But while any individual incident may be minor, it is the totality of stigma that defines our existence.

The cost of hostile environments

The pervasive hostile environment that marginalised people find themselves in serves as a source of constant physical and psychological stress. The body’s acute stress response involves the production of stress hormones and changes in cardiovascular, immune and neurological systems to deal with the threat.

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This is an adaptive response in the short term – that is, it aids with survival. But chronic exposure to stress is associated with increased rates of diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and even some cancers. This is not limited to fat people. These findings are consistent when looking at people belonging to racial minorities, LGBTQ individuals and many others.

Critically, the harms associated with a hostile environment occur even in the absence of actual stigmatising incidents – stigmatised individuals go through their daily life anticipating, fearing, expecting and preparing for these events. This consumes an enormous amount of mental and emotional energy and is itself a form of chronic stress. Hostile environments also contribute indirectly to long-term health and life outcomes via impacts on educational and economic achievement.

Recognizing stigma

Microaggressions against fat people are so pervasive and normalised in modern society that people, even fat people, may not recognise them as stigmatising at all. The sometimes ambiguous nature of microaggressions means that the target may be unsure of the intent or underlying meaning, wondering if that person was actually stigmatising them or not, making it difficult to respond. What is more, fat stigma is so entrenched that many fat people are complicit in their own stigmatisation, believing that they deserve it, or that the perpetrator was just stating a fact (“fat people are ugly and disgusting”).

On the other hand, if they do challenge the stigma, at best, they may be told to ignore it; at worst, their experiences are invalidated. Victims of microaggressions are told they are just imagining the slight, that they are overly sensitive or even paranoid, or that they simply need to develop a sense of humour. Fat people may even be told to lose weight if they don’t like it. Most people would never tell a member of another stigmatised group that they should change themselves if they don’t want to be discriminated against.

Most of us like to think of ourselves as unprejudiced. We would never harrass a fat person in the street, beat them up, or give them inferior service in a shop.

But children as young as three exhibit anti-fat attitudes. They are not born with these beliefs – they are picking them up from the cues in their environment, for example from the attitudes and behaviours of parents and caregivers, or from ubiquitous anti-fat messaging and stereotyping in kids’ cartoons. If we genuinely want to be part of a kind and decent society, if we want our children to grow up in that world, it is up to us not to let hostility go unchallenged. Oppression comes in many forms, and we all have a role to play in addressing it.

By:

Angela Meadows does not work for, consult,own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

Source: https://theconversation.com/

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Critics:

This type of discrimination can take a number of forms, ranging from refusing to hire someone because they are considered to be too short or too tall, to treating overweight and underweight individuals with disdain. There aren’t currently any specific anti-discrimination laws that have been put in place to prohibit sizeism, despite the issue being extremely prevalent. Sizeist stereotypes (such as “overweight people are lazy” or “tall people can play basketball”) are often ingrained in modern society.

In the US, the list of anti-discrimination acts does not specifically include sizeism as an offense.The EOCC website states “Height and weight requirements tend to disproportionately limit the employment opportunities of some protected groups and unless the employer can demonstrate how the need is related to the job, it may be viewed as illegal under federal law. A number of states and localities have laws specifically prohibiting discrimination on the basis of height and weight unless based on actual job requirements.

Therefore, unless job-related, inquiries about height and weight should be avoided.” Therefore, size discrimination in the workplace is only illegal under federal law if it is not a job requirement. Sizeism can be based on height, weight or both, and so is often related to height and weight-based discrimination but is not synonymous with either. Depending on where in the world one is and how one lives his/her life, people may have a tendency to be especially tall, slender, short, or plump, and many societies have internalized attitudes about size.

Another manifestation of body variance is muscle mass and skeletal size, often with associations of degree of compliance to one’s born sex, but do not necessarily affect gender to deviate from sex. As a general rule, sizeist attitudes imply that someone believes that his or her size is superior to that of other people and treat people of other sizes negatively. Examples of sizeist discrimination might include a person being fired from a job for being overweight or exceptionally short though their work was unaffected.

Sizeism often takes the form of a number of stereotypes about people of particular heights and weights. Sizeist attitudes can also take the form of expressions of physical disgust when confronted with people of differing sizes and can even manifest into specific phobias such as cacomorphobia (the fear of fat people), or a fear of tall or short people. Sizeism, being a newly recognized discriminatory stance, is usually observed by those who are its targets.

See also

7 Steps to Successfully Interacting With Others

Human beings are social beings, we are beings that we need from others. Therefore, it is very important to learn to relate, because if we can develop this skill, we will definitely be able to exponentiate our results. If you start to analyze, the most important achievements of our life have been obtained with the help of others. In such a way, that the quality of life we have is determined based on our relationships. That is why we present the 7 steps that will help you relate:

Step 1: Be curious

Life is full of opportunities to meet people. When do you have these opportunities? When you are in a waiting room, on a bus, when you are catching a plane, queuing at the bank, etc. Take an interest in the people who are close to you. Arouse that curiosity and start asking questions. Ask them about things that might be important to them, like what you do, who your family members are, or what your interests are. Break the ice and venture into conversations!

Step 2: listen to people

One of the greatest gifts you can give another human being is listening to them, giving them your attention and your time. How can you do it and show that you are actively listening? Put your cell phone aside, pay attention to the other person, maintain eye contact, ask questions that are intelligent, start to find common ground and develop a conversation. Finally, do not ask closed but open questions, so that the other person is also curious to have a conversation with you.

Step 3: be open

They have taught us that it is best not to say much about ourselves, for fear that if we are open, people may have certain information about us that makes us vulnerable and that can be used against us. My invitation to you is to break these wrong patterns and take risks. Learn to trust yourself and lose the fear of being open. Share smart and fun ideas. Your way of thinking will open the doors for you in the relationship with the other. You never know if what you say will make someone ponder something deep, laugh or look at you from a new perspective.

Step 4: Look for common themes

As different as human beings are, if you search and do some research you can find common themes. What could they be? If the person has a partner, who are their children, if they like to travel, read, do sports, what are their hobbies, etc. Develop the ability to ask questions and share stories, in such a way that you find topics that can relate to others and communicate different experiences that allow you to feel close.

Step 5: Avoid prejudice

Human beings, by social learning, tend to put labels or put people in a drawer because of how they look, their height, skin color, type of hairstyle, clothing, socioeconomic status, among others. We continually create a story around people, although in reality, we never know who is behind that image that is presented to us. Meeting many people will give you the opportunity to meet wonderful individuals and if they are similar or very different from you, with practice that will not prevent you from being able to relate and will definitely bring you closer to success.

Step 6: be authentic

It is essential to be authentic in relationships, to be yourself. It is something that people capture even if we want to hide it, because they realize when we put on a mask so that they do not see who we really are or perceive when we are pretending. Being authentic, sincere and transparent is a tool that will help you connect with others. My proposal for you is that you speak from the heart, share your opinions, learn to be yourself, because it is something that people will feel and value.

Step 7: Discover the value of people

Every human being has a value. If you manage to develop the ability to decipher what it is, it will definitely help you to relate. See what sets them apart, what makes them special, what they are proud of, etc. Find the value of each person and that will open the doors to a relationship.

By: Adolfo Tuñón

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Improvement Pill

Join My Mailing List For The 100 Interaction Challenge: http://improvementpill.net/programs​ Welcome to the BeeFriend course. In today’s lesson, we’re going to go over what I consider to be the fastest way to getting better at talking to other people. You can watch all the social skill/charisma videos that you want, but nothing will trump this one thing that will improve your communication skills. Start From The Beginning (BeeFriend Course Playlist): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHfGg…​ Tamed Course (FREE Habit Building Course): https://youtu.be/m8JjuyRIxOg​ If You Are Interested In Coaching: Email Me At ImprovementPill@Gmail.com

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