By Tremis Skeete
Lynn Pilkington is a self-described ‘accidental COVID entrepreneur’, looking at different ways of working and how to bring the most out of people using accessible working environments. This focus has been on fast-forward since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Previously training to be a therapist, Lynn is acutely aware of how everyone’s brain works differently. She has been passionate about developing workplace inclusion and diversity for years. But the onset of the pandemic has brought many of the issues she’s been working on into sharp focus. Learning remotely and digitally showed her exactly how inadequate some of the processes and models are in today’s world, where sending a link simply isn’t enough.
Taking inspiration from her background in community engagement, digital learning, accessibility, and equality & diversity, along with her own wavy and winding career and learning journey, she is now focused on creating productive ways to bring out the best in people in a new world of work. “The pandemic has offered an opportunity to approach work differently - to ‘Build Back Better’ with new methods, rather than sticking to the way things have been done in the past,” Lynn says.
“Mainstream working processes don’t cater for everyone, and while this has been a growing issue for many years, the pandemic has highlighted the flaws of the traditional workplace.”
Despite the trauma and tragedy of the past year, the pandemic has offered some silver linings. One of which is the ability to step away from the 9-5, desk-based, presenteeism model of working, and move towards one based on outcomes. This new way of working focuses on individual needs, embracing asynchronous working to get the best out of people. Lynn explains further:
“Reasonable adjustments made for diversity reasons should not just be seen as add-ons that allow certain people to work. They are good business practices that can have a positive impact on the entire business.”
Changing the way we work to be more flexible, inclusive, and diverse allows people to work around family, life, and individual requirements. It allows companies to hire from around the world, taking advantage of a larger talent pool, and making the most of their staff’s abilities and skills.
Lynn admits that the challenge to transform mainstream workspaces is a somewhat messy landscape. “To have a diverse working environment you need to allow for diverse personalities and working requirements,” Lynn says. “But inclusive working, starting with what each individual needs and what works best for them, brings out the best in people.”
There are plenty of organizations dedicated to inclusion and diversity at the moment. But the focus tends to be narrow, looking at individual characteristics rather than taking a holistic approach. What Lynn does is bring everything together, looking at the bigger picture to create a fully inclusive workplace that works and adapts for everyone. She will be working with This is Milk to support workplaces and learning environments to bring this to life.
With all the changes that the pandemic has brought, organizations can’t afford not to do it. As terrifying as it may seem and as big a job as it will be, Lynn feels that transforming how organizations work is too important to ignore.
If you'd like to talk to Lynn about creating a fully inclusive workplace, email her or click on her name to connect with her on Linkedin. You can find her on instagram and twitter @lynnpilk