As our new way of hybrid working has started to evolve, the interesting question of being “Out of sight, out of mind” has been raised.
The Bank of England policymaker Catherine Mann, recently resurfaced the debate by warning of a “she-cession”, and said women who accept their employer’s offer of working mostly from home risk damaging their careers, as they aren’t returning to the office after Covid to the same extent as men.
This is not a new occurrence, or a female only issue. Research from ONS found employees who mainly worked from home were around 38% less likely on average to have received a bonus compared with those who never worked from home between 2013 and 2020.
The question is why, and then, what do we need to do about it?
Flexible working is here to stay, so we need to evolve our management approaches.
The underlying challenge is that at a basic human level, managers need to recognise their natural unconscious proximity bias towards the team members they see most often. Going forward we need to pay particular attention to questions of inclusion and fairness. The goal is that all employees should feel included and part of the organisation, with equal access to the leader, opportunities to take on the best projects, and be considered for promotion, regardless of their location.
This is vitally important. Research tells us that feelings of unfairness in the workplace can hurt productivity, increase burnout, reduce collaboration, and decrease retention… the current big risk.
So, what can companies and managers do to address this visibility issue? Here are our top 5 questions to ask yourself:
- Does everyone have the opportunity for equal contributions in meetings, whatever their location?
- Are you allocating the most interesting, and high profile projects fairly?
- Does everyone have a personal development plan that is regularly reviewed?
- Are you acting as a cheerleader for your team members, wherever they are working?
- Do you have regular 121’s with your team, and do you ask how they are feeling and how you can help them to succeed?
Tony Lamb is a Director of Nua Training. If you found this article useful and would like to know more about how to transition your teams to a new hybrid working model, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org