People working from home fear ‘proximity bias’ will harm career progression

Do you feel the pressure to go into the office?

Many UK workers have been told they can have flexible arrangements, meaning they have a bit more control over when to go into work and when to stay at home.

While within their rights to work from a home desk, thousands of office employees fear a ‘proximity bias’ is stacked against them, according to new research from LinkedIn.

There’s pressure to be seen in office, as almost three quarters of the Brits surveyed believe working from home will negatively impact their careers.

The ‘proximity bias’ is the belief that employees working from the office will excel more quickly in their careers than those working from home – the latter group feel their career journeys will be hindered.

Though concerns are valid, LinkedIn data shows a 97% increase in jobs being advertised as remote over the last year, suggesting a potential disconnect on expectations between employees and employers.

As workplace culture enters new territory for the first time, how exactly the ‘proximity bias’ plays out long-term is yet to be seen.

In this transitional period, 44% of staff believe those who work in office are more likely to be favoured by senior team members.

Two in five worry that less face-to-face time with senior staff will slow down their progression in their companies.

Presenteeism – the idea that you have be seen to be ‘present’ at work – is still rife in offices, even after long periods of remote working, as 39% feel there is a negative stigma attached to choosing home working.

And 22% fear at worst it this choice will mean they’re overlooked for promotion.

Catherine Barr, an operations manager, feels that her job is suited to remote working and so is taking the opportunity to be closer to her family, yet she worries about the impact of this on her career progression.

Being the only employee at the company to choose this working pattern, she then ‘did not receive a bonus this year, while all other colleagues who are working in the office, or in a hybrid capacity, did’.

She believes she would ‘hold a more senior position’ if she choose to work in office, and now feels ‘less connected’ to other employees as updates shared at work don’t reach her.

Outside of career growth, nearly half of workers worry about missing out in-person watercooler chat and impromptu work drinks.

Despite this anxiety, large numbers of employees are favouring hybrid working patterns. This comes as 82% of bosses have asked staff to return part time or full time.

Perhaps this call back to the office is steeped in concern, as the survey found that nearly a third of business leaders also worry accidental favouritism may arise as a result of home working.

Charlotte Davies, careers expert at LinkedIn, says: ‘The return to office still holds that sense of excitement for many, but also anxiety for those who don’t want to commit to going back full time – this could be due to childcare or simply wanting a better work-life balance.

‘We’re seeing conversations amongst the LinkedIn community suggesting that despite the opportunity to work more flexibly, which is welcomed, people are still worried about the negative stigma associated with working from home.

‘Employees shouldn’t feel as though they need to choose between flexible working or a promotion. It’s important that businesses create a working environment that is supportive to individual needs, and is fair and inclusive for all, no matter what their circumstances.’

Do you have a story to share?

Get in touch by emailing [email protected]

Source: Read Full Article