09 September 2019
“None of us should ever have to choose between a career we love and living our lives with authenticity and integrity.”
The average full time European works 40.3 hours per week, meaning that roughly 76,000 hours of our existence is spent working. Considering that a good chunk of our life is dedicated to our careers, it is of utmost importance that we work in a place where we are comfortable and feel confident that we will be treated with the same respect as the rest of our colleagues, regardless of any ‘’differences’’.
Studies have shown that when it comes to the LGBTQ+ community, the biggest decisions that members have to face is disclosing their sexual identity, in the fear of being discriminated against and rejected by their colleagues. In turn, this emotional roller coaster lowers an individual’s physical and mental well-being and could lead to a decrease in productivity, being absent from the work place and good employees quitting altogether. Organisations would be smart to work towards creating a culture whereby their employees feel comfortable opening up to their colleagues; in order to maximise their output, keep them motivated and foster their well-being.
For me, working in a LGBTQ+ inclusive workplace means being able to proudly share stories about my personal life, in the same way my colleagues sitting next to me do, without fear of being judged or looked at differently. In the beginning of my employment at GO I often found myself mentioning my partner (who is a girl by the way) in the first few split seconds of any conversation, in order to avoid any awkward moments later on when a wrong assumption was made, and also to avoid being set up on a date with ‘Mark’ who works in the office next door. Although the fear of revealing my sexual identity was so real; no one at the office ever batted an eyelid when I brought it up, which gave me a sense of calmness and inclusion.
So how can we all support our LGBTQ+ colleagues and friends?
RESPECT AND ACCEPT – At the end of the day we are all the same; we stress, worry, have goals and targets, challenges, insecurities and try and strive to do our best every day in this extremely fast paced life we are living in.
Stop for a moment and be mindful of words you use and empathetic of what your colleagues could be going through – as a single word could either destroy them or make them feel supported and that they belong.
STAND UP FOR EACH OTHER – Why don’t we champion the inclusion of the LGBTQ+ member’s within an organisation together? I happen to have the most open minded, brave bunch of heroes sitting next to me at work, who would throw on their cape in a second to have my back. Every individual should be able to have their own group of superheroes!
Constant learning and keeping updated on LGBTQ+ matters will allow you to actively address, educate any offensive comments you might pick up in passing and put an end to any prejudice.
Being free to be myself and working in an LGBTQ+ inclusive environment allows me to focus my time on tasks that help me develop and grow, and also enables me to create impact where it matters. Being myself at work made me a stronger, more confident and above all HAPPY employee. I am proud of who I am and to work in a company that makes me feel accepted – Let us come together and make others feel proud too.
Written by Emma Gatt
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