· News

Employees think remote workers are less likely to get promoted

Zofia Bajorek from the Institute for Employment Studies said this could be due to proximity bias

A study from TonerGiant found 41% of Brits think employees are less likely to get a promotion or pay rise if they don’t spend enough time in the office.

Zofia Bajorek, senior research fellow at the Institute for Employment Studies (IES), told HR magazine this could be due to proximity bias from managers.

She said: “Employees who work remotely may feel the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ syndrome when it comes to opportunities for promotion.  

“This may be as a result of proximity bias, meaning those who managers see and have more regular communication with are more likely to be remembered when promotion decisions are made.

"This also happens in organisational cultures where hours worked (or seen to have worked) trumps quality of output when considering productivity.”

Read more: Remote jobs flooded with applicants as majority of recruiters struggle

Removing proximity bias should be part of wider efforts to make hiring less biased, according to Kayla Ihrig, author of How To Be A Digital Nomad: Build a Successful Career While Travelling the World.

Speaking to HR magazine, she said: “Fair promotions are decided by facts and not feelings. Employers must quantify what success looks like for each role at their company and gauge employees’ success by how consistently they hit predetermined performance metrics. 

“These measurements must be something that all employees can achieve, whether they’re physically in the office or working remotely.”

The research found 81% of UK employees work from home at least one day during the week, while 25% of those surveyed said they would like to take up fully remote work.

Almost half (48%) would not apply for a job if it required them to come into the office full-time, while 44% would consider leaving their current job should they be asked to come into the office full-time. 

Alina Sarkissian is director of people at device intelligence company Fingerprint, where employees predominantly work remotely.

She said performance metrics and communication must evolve so that in-office and remote work are valued equally.

Read more: Remote working employment tribunals hit record high

She told HR magazine: “Physical presence in an office doesn't guarantee greater productivity or commitment, and assumptions about dedication based solely on location often prove unfounded.

“By prioritising remote-first strategies, managers are better equipped to be deliberate about checking in with remote staff and finding ways for them to showcase critical projects. 

“At Fingerprint, employee performance is evaluated against predefined goals, and each function has specific career tracks and rubrics. Promotions are earned based on merit, individual contributions and alignment with business needs.”

Toner Giant surveyed 1,000 nationally representative British workers to find out how they feel about the current working from home climate in the UK.