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While working from home has been seen as the ultimate goal for some people, it also comes with caveats that can jeopardize someone’s progression in the company. What is proximity bias, and why are almost three-quarters of Brits fearing it will negatively impact their careers?
What is Proximity Bias?
Humans like to be around familiar people and have a group that they can get along with. Those that work in an office environment, can build up relationships with those they see every day, including managers.
If, however, you are remote working, then you may find that you don’t see or speak to anyone from your company all day.
This can lead to those who see people daily as getting perks and advancing in the company above those that work from home.
There is also a common misconception that those who work remotely are less productive than those who come into the office.
With the growing numbers of people now working from home or from serviced offices where staff may only be there part-time, this could lead to further issues.
How Can Proximity Bias Hurt Business
When you have skilled and experienced workers who are not recognized by the company because they are remote working, you are losing valuable resources. You may also be recruiting additional staff that you already have the skills for within your team.
Employees that are not appreciated by their employers will feel dejected and may seek other employment as a result.
Promote Contact That Includes all Staff
It can be easy to set up a quick meeting with those who are available in the office and forget about remote workers in the team.
The extra effort needs to be made to organize meetings to include all of the team. Companies also need to encourage a culture that encompasses office staff as well as remote staff.
Managers need to be proactive regarding contact with their employees that work from home. It is important to maintain regular contact with all your employees and encourage them to reach out if they need assistance.
Set Up Feedback and Daily Catch-Ups
Feedback is vital for all employees, but it is especially important for those working from home.
There needs to be a process where staff can give feedback about their work or any aspect of their time doing their job.
This can flag up to management if there are any problems so they can be addressed quickly.
Training May be Required
If the company is new to remote working, then additional training to managers may be needed to teach them how to monitor and engage with workers outside of the office environment.
These new skills can then be disseminated to those working in the office to help them engage with remote working colleagues.
Is the ‘Proximity Bias’ a Real Threat?
When managed correctly, having remote workers or a hybrid system can be productive and cost-effective. Striking the right balance at work is key to its success and staff happiness. Thus, as long as you are working efficiently and productively, working from home should provide no issue.