Employees at Work - Proximity Bias - How to stop it from harming your career - VMAGROUP

How to Stop Proximity Bias From Affecting Your Career?

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How to Stop Proximity Bias From Affecting Your Career?

Flexible work is here to stay, and the future is hybrid, as findings from the recent survey show that 58% of professional employees adopted a hybrid work arrangement – an increase of 12% from May 2021.

Consistently with the shift, knowledge workers across the globe now expect to have flexibility – both in terms of location and schedule. The desire is particularly strong among the historically underrepresented groups. However, we are beginning to see a growing concern that proximity bias may lead to inequalities between on-site and remote workers.

What is proximity bias?

 For many marketing and communications professionals, the biggest worry about remote work is the proximity bias – an idea that employees who have returned to the office will get ahead as they will be perceived as better workers. While it is often unconscious, it may affect how some managers evaluate performance, raising concerns that it will unfairly penalize women, ethnic minorities and working parents, who tend to spend less time in the office than their peers.

Globally, 84% of men work in the office all or some of the time, compared to 79% of women. In addition, three-quarters of working partners work remotely or hybrid, compared to 63% of non-parents.

Despite the potential negative effects on underrepresented workers, many bosses still prefer the office. A recent survey by Future Forum finds that 42% of executives report they work from the office three or more days a week, as compared to just 30% of non-executives.

As companies are at risk of losing talent, the leaders now are faced with a challenge to figure out how to help workers thrive, regardless of how much time they spend in the office and also, how to lead inclusively in a hybrid working environment.

“Companies have to understand that their diversity efforts and their future of work plans are going to be linked,” said Brian Elliott, a Senior VP at Slack and Executive Leader of the Future Forum.

How to stop proximity bias from hurting your career?

While some companies are still getting used to hybrid and remote arrangements, the bias can be negated with intentional communication and self-advocacy. To make sure that proximity bias does not harm your career, here are some actions that you can try to:

  • Increase your visibility by joining the meetings early and being active on your designated work channels such as Slack, Yammer or Workplace.

  • Have regular video conferences with your team and boss, but don’t limit them to just work activities – try virtual lunches or happy hour on a weekly or monthly basis.

  • Become your company’s brand ambassador on social media and endorse the corporate values.

  • Value and encourage high-quality internal communications and listening campaigns, including sharing constructive feedback.

  • Endorse, praise and celebrate your co-workers and their achievements.

  • Finally, try scheduled visits to the office – whether it’s on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis – taking the time to connect with your team will make a difference in your and your colleagues' wellbeing and engagement levels.

Our commitment to Diversity & Inclusion

VMA GROUP is committed to equal opportunities and is a Diversity Pledged Recruiter.​​

We are committed to encouraging equality, diversity and inclusion and eliminating unlawful discrimination among our workforce and within the recruitment services that we provide to our clients. We believe that true diversity in recruitment starts from within and our consultants inspire and enable VMA GROUP to entice and represent candidates from diverse backgrounds.