A workplace is a complex and ever-evolving environment. It can be seen as a reflection of society, in which power dynamics, privilege, beliefs, and values shape daily interactions between employees. To create an environment that respects their beliefs, values, and expectations, employees must remain conscious of their actions, which means becoming woke!
What does woke mean?
Woke is an awareness of social and political injustice and the desire to take action against it. Being woke in the workplace is not about being perfect. It is about striving for progress and doing what you can to make the workplace environment better for everyone.
What is a woke person?
A woke person is conscious of inequity and injustice on personal, professional, and social levels. But, a woke person goes beyond merely being aware of these issues — they become vocal against all discrimination.
In the workplace, a woke person always takes a proactive stance to create change and calls out any form of prejudice from managers, colleagues, or coworkers — intentional or unintentional — such as sexism, racism, or exclusionary practices.
You can tell if the person is woke by observing how they interact with others in the workplace, whether they bring up social justice issues during conversations or speak about diversity initiatives at work.
A woke person will also challenge anyone who does not align with ideal workplace values or conform to a woke culture.
A woke culture is where everyone works together in an inclusive work environment that celebrates diversity, allows for dialogue between different perspectives, and encourages employees to create change.
What is woke examples?
Woke examples in the workplace include someone taking on the responsibility of confronting difficult conversations, standing up for unpopular decisions, and inspiring others with brave actions.
Brave action also involves inspiring change, setting examples for others, and understanding the ‘why’ rather than the ‘how’ behind something.
Here are more examples of woke examples in the workplace:
1. Calling out gaslighting in the workplace
In the workplace, power dynamics appear between a boss or coworker attempting to make another employee or work colleague feel inferior.
Signs of gaslighting include criticism without constructive feedback, hostility or denial when discussing past conversations, favoring certain employees over others, and creating undue pressure with frequent deadlines changes.
Stopping this manipulation behavior requires someone aware of the situation and willing to confront it head-on.
Being “woke” in the workplace means having an open mind towards manipulations and challenging them accordingly.
2. Addressing workplace injustices
Being “woke” in the workplace goes beyond speaking up when you see injustice. It is about taking action and offering solutions to improve the workplace environment.
When someone is “woke,” they will willingly put themselves at risk to stand up for what is right.
It could be challenging to identify this trait — they could be vocal during conversations around social justice, or they may take more subtle actions such as hosting workshops on diversity and inclusion.
When a “woke” employee addresses an injustice, various possible outcomes exist. Some will agree with their stance, while others may stay quiet or disagree.
While it is difficult to predict these reactions, one thing remains constant — speaking out is the first step towards promoting fairness in the workplace for everyone.
3. Challenging the status quo
Employees with a critical outlook on their workplace can effectively force change, advocating for progress and innovation. However, speaking up against authority carries risks of backlash or dismissal.
So, to minimize such risks, you need to use constructive criticism and present thoughtful solutions instead of simply asking why and propose practical alternatives which benefit everyone.
Also, be aware when challenging management — consider potential outcomes and how they will affect everyone.
With careful consideration, you can achieve positive results without causing harm. In addition, it also evaluates possible repercussions from opposing authority figures.
4. Rejecting bigotry at work
A woke employee will not stand for bigotry in the workplace. Such bigotry behaviors include name-calling, discriminatory remarks, false stereotypes, and insults about certain religious jokes.
They strive to create an inclusive environment where all colleagues feel respected regardless of gender, ethnicity, or religion.
To respond to hate speech, they directly explain why it is wrong and how it can hurt others. They also propose ways for everyone to work together to prevent it from reoccurring.
No matter the difficulty of the situation, their goal is to ensure that no one feels excluded from the workplace due to their differences.
5. Advocating for workplace diversity and inclusion
A woke employee advocates for diversity and inclusion in the workplace by encouraging open dialogue to promote fairness in hiring practices.
Diversity includes gender, ethnicity, age, physical ability, socio-economic status, and religious beliefs.
Workplaces can foster diversity and inclusion through training on cultural competency and creating an inclusive culture.
When employees bring their unique backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences to work, it creates a more prosperous environment that is more likely to be successful.
In addition, it increases the likelihood of attracting and retaining top talent.
6. Building community among fellow employees
A woke employee promotes a strong community among colleagues. When coworkers feel secure to talk, share resources and learn from each other, productivity and motivation soar.
Having unity in the workplace allows teams to collaborate effectively and find solutions quickly. This community includes hosting meetings, team-building activities, and professional development workshops.
Read also: 15 Examples of Commitments
7. Showing newcomers how to navigate company culture
Mentoring new or junior employees is critical to creating an inclusive workplace. Experienced team members can provide reassurance and guidance, build trust, and reduce anxiety.
A woke employee can show newcomers how to navigate the company’s values, protocols, and goals. This way, they can understand better, contribute sooner, and become valuable assets for the business.
When woke team members share their work environment experiences with others, it helps them learn faster and become part of the team culture.
Also, this creates a strong team bond that increases morale and productivity within the workforce. In addition, mentorship helps break down intimidating hierarchies, which makes everyone feel secure and accepted in their workplace.
8. Raising employee health and safety awareness
It is the management’s responsibility to create a safe and healthy workplace. A woke person is vital in upholding this by raising awareness and voicing concerns.
Being woke involves supporting initiatives that prioritize employee health and safety. For instance, being aware of hazardous conditions and raising concerns to ensure appropriate action is taken.
It also consists of providing proper training is available for incoming workers and monitoring equipment for signs of malfunction or overuse.
And recognizing when your coworkers need a break or assistance with a task is critical to keeping everyone safe.
Also, calling out any unsafe practices or standardized malfunctions are important ways to look after the well-being of your colleagues and reinforce positive workplace behavior.
9. Raising awareness about labor rights
Many people need to learn employee rights exist. Rights that allow employees include sufficient control over their labor processes, such as freedom of association and collective bargaining, adequate rest periods working hours, and occupational safety standards.
But the conversation in the workplace rarely brings them up. It is easy to forget our rights, even if not promoted. When someone is woke, they bring attention to them.
They raise colleagues’ and managers’ awareness of wage gaps, discrimination, pay inequality, and more.
Joining a union, advocating for diversity and inclusion, and protesting unfair treatment are potential actions.
Most do not realize their rights — but being woke means understanding them and using your knowledge to keep workplaces fair and equitable for everyone. Empowering yourself and those around you is an outcome of this effort.
10. Exemplifying leadership through acts of courage
A woke employee showcases leadership with acts of courage. Taking risks and standing up for what is right, even when challenged, are essential to being a leader.
Examples of courage at work include defending underrepresented groups, raising doubts about unethical behavior, and promoting critical topics.
Woke employees, like leaders, take risks and demonstrate courage to encourage others and develop a more productive workplace atmosphere.
They step up for what is right in tough times. As a woke worker, you can display leadership by showing an informed perspective, helping those who require it, and setting the standard.
You could take the initiative to speak out against oppressive beliefs or behavior — even if it comes with great personal danger. Being aware encourages those around you to pursue a progressive work environment.
11. Boycotting tasks that don’t align with your values
A woke employee takes action to represent their values. They consciously try to understand their environment and recognize tasks that do not align with their beliefs.
Their principles may lead them to refuse such tasks, even if it comes with consequences like tension or opposition. It is a risk but can force others to think and act on their beliefs.
Boycotting to do tasks they disagree with allows them to make a statement and stand up for what they know to be right.
Though complex in many workplaces, this sends a message of strength and courage inside and outside the office.
Woke people stand up for what is right, and although it can be uncomfortable, it can have long-term effects.
12. Showing interest in learning about other cultures
A woke person in the workplace shows curiosity and openness. They seek to understand different backgrounds and viewpoints by conversing with colleagues, asking questions about their culture, and engaging in activities that make all feel included and respected.
In addition, one can incorporate cultural practices into their environment to further show respect for different traditions.
Understanding other cultures create harmony, which can break down prejudices. Learning makes the work experience more prosperous for everyone.
13. Stepping back when you have the privilege
In the workplace, privilege is an advantage given to specific people or groups over others. A “woke” employee is attentive to injustice and inequality.
They understand privilege and take action if they have had too much of it. This could be declining a promotion in favor of someone more experienced or underrepresented.
By stepping back, they show trust and generosity in making the workplace fairer for all its members.
Read also: 17 Examples of Personal Aspirations
Being a “woke person” means actively engaging with the issues that impact our lives, both in and out of the workplace. A woke employee works to challenge discrimination, hierarchies, and anything else which they deem unethical or unjust.
It could mean standing up for themselves and others, speaking out against unfair decisions, or confronting difficult conversations.
Being woke is about taking risks and inspiring change, setting examples through brave action, and understanding why you are doing something instead of simply ‘by what means .’It requires courage but ultimately leads to more effective leadership.