Working from home ‘could result in a big increase in racism and prejudice’

Working from home ‘could result in a big increase in racism and prejudice’

Working from home during the coronavirus pandemic could lead to an increase in racism and prejudice, a new report has claimed.

The England and Wales study for the Woolf Institute has released their findings.

It suggests the longer we are away from day-to-day contact with other people the less chance there is for relationships to build in the workplace.

They say such friendships are key to "breaking down misconceptions" – and inclusion could take a hit.

Ed Kessler, the Institute founder, believes with more people now working from home they risk going "back into isolated silos".

The study surveyed 11,701 people and fears are growing that prejudice could increase with no sign of a return to normality.

It claims that of those who work in an office 76% are in a setting that is ethnically diverse.

But, the study suggests that unemployed people are 37% more likely to "only have friends from their own ethnic group".

It warns that opportunities for social mixing between different religious and ethnic groups will be greatly reduced.

The report's author Dr Julian Hargreaves says the findings should be of concern.

She said: "Being Muslim, in particular, appears to remain a 'trigger' for prejudice, making religion a 'final frontier' for prejudice in England and Wales."

The research estimated the level of prejudice in each local authority across England and Wales.

Religion remains "a place where individuals are willing to express negative attitudes," the report says.

It added: "The word 'Muslim' appears to trigger more negative sentiment than the word 'Pakistani' – despite the fact that 90% of people of British Pakistani heritage are Muslim".

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