Report finds discrimination persists among UK home workers

Remote work has remained popular for UK workers in general, but many minority workers feel it’s even more beneficial for them as it removes some of the discrimination and bias they face while working face-to-face.

However, while remote work has its benefits and has been shown to reduce workplace toxicity, it’s not the perfect solution.

A new report published by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in conjunction with researchers at the University of Kent and King’s College London found that Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) employees in the UK still face levels of discrimination when it comes to home working.

home work UK

Many BME male workers in the UK do not even get the opportunity to work from home. (Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels)

This ranged from increased monitoring while working from home to fewer opportunities to even engage in remote working at all. 

“Given our research found that flexibility stigma and associated downsides of hybrid working can be disproportionately felt by BME workers, it is essential that employers take action to ensure that hybrid working is implemented in inclusive ways and address workplace racism,” the authors collectively suggested in their published report.


Not all flex work is equal

The paper started out by noting that BME workers disproportionately do not have opportunities to work from home. Even more, the issue has gotten worse in the “post-lockdown” era. 

They noted that this has influenced culture and perception somewhat, to the point where many BME workers may feel discouraged from even enforcing their right to ask for flexible work.

“The TUC believes this is partly down to occupational and sector segregation as BME workers are overrepresented in roles where work from home is not possible, but also experiences of racism in the workplace compounded by flexibility stigma,” the research team said. “This means BME workers may feel less able to ask and get flexibility.”


Stigma more greatly felt by BME workers

At the same time, while remote work is gradually becoming more normalised, stigma still exists in many cases. 

home work UK

Remote work is not a solution for workplace discrimination. (Canva photo)

This stigma has been found to lead to “negative consequences such as micromanagement and monitoring, longer working hours or feeling the need to perform digital presenteeism.” 

“In addition, both the stigma and negative consequences of it can be exacerbated for BME workers due to the additional experiences of workplace racism,” they said.

Even in this case, instances of discrimination were intersectional and overlapping.

Researchers found “BME colleagues were more likely to be subject to monitoring in comparison to white colleagues, showing how negative practices associated with home working could be applied more heavily to Black workers.”


Remote work not a solution for discrimination

The research emphasised that while remote work has its benefits and is widely favoured among the workforce, it’s not a solution for workplace racism or discrimination — although it was found to decrease the severity of negative behaviours faced.

Rather, researchers said employers must make an effort to “have good policies, practices and cultures” to support effective home working.

“Our research finds that access to and experiences of home/hybrid are inherently linked to other forms of discrimination at work, in this case workplace racism, and that well-designed hybrid working is essential to avoid exacerbating discrimination and also to promote equality,” they said.

Find the latest remote jobs in the UK via


Comments are closed.