Understanding Cognitive Bias When Planning New Work Policies
Google recently walked back on its efforts to bring all employees back to the office, while Apple employees wrote out a letter to executives opposing its new hybrid work arrangement.
This is just two examples of the backlash that companies have faced in recent months over their less-than-progressive post-pandemic workplace strategies. These efforts are curious, as multiple surveys from this year have shown that a large portion of employees want to continue working from home at least half of the week.
However, many organizations are still trying to push employees to return to the office for most or all of the work week.
Despite these unpopular choices leading to workers leaving their positions and hindering productivity and engagement, leaders keep trending towards what makes them feel most comfortable. This is largely due to cognitive biases that sways their business decision-making skills.
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By understanding these biases, leaders can make better choices that benefit their employees and the company.
For starters, the desire to return to what they perceive as appropriate or normal is referred to as status quo bias. Many leaders have spent the majority of their careers working around people in an office, so learning that employees may want to continue working remotely is jarring.
Although data has indicated that working from home is preferred by several employees, confirmation bias keeps leaders from accepting this reality. Instead, they seek information that confirms their beliefs that workers want to return to the office for the majority of the time.
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