Proximity bias has become a persistent problem in the modern workforce.
In fact, a study from Alliance Virtual Offices shows that 38% of remote workers are less likely to receive bonuses, while also performing 50% more overtime compared to in-person workers.
So why do these mostly engaged workers struggle with career advancements and exclusion? Simply put, having a physical presence makes workers more likely to stand out compared to remote colleagues, regardless of their output.
Having a close proximity with certain workers often gives leaders a better sense of trust and connection. But remote workers who are spending long hours contributing to their role could grow tired of their contributions being overlooked.
When this happens, employees are more likely to quit. Why would they continue to remain engaged if their work isn’t being appreciated?
Proximity bias isn’t always intentional, but neglect can have a wider impact on a company’s operations. That’s why managers must be able to address their own inherent bias and suggest improvements that can be made.
For starters, encouraging workers to speak up can help them become more visible. This establishes a supportive line of communication, as well as a culture of openness.
If a worker is more comfortable offering their ideas, it is critical for leaders to address, recognize and respond to these insights. By showing workers that they are being heard and understood, they are more likely to continue contributing their input to the company.