Remote workers: more productive, less promoted

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There are plenty of good reasons to support remote working –  for example, remote workers are more efficient, more productive and eager to prove they deserve the trust – but it seems  employees themselves might have one good reason to resist the move to mobility.

A lack of “face time” with supervisors and bosses could be preventing people from getting the same rewards as their on-site colleagues, according to a new study from the London Business School and University of California.

The study identified two types of passive face time. The first, “expected face time”, was about being seen at work during normal business hours, while “extracurricular face time” was when employees were seen at their desk outside these normal hours.

When managers were asked to describe their staff they used words like “responsible” and “dependable” for staff they saw during expected hours, and “committed” or “dedicated” for those who were in the office outside those hours.

However,  this was a concern because many managers were not aware that their judgements were actually based on when they saw their staff, rather than the results or performance of the workers, report author professor Daniel Cable from London Business School said.

Mobile workers could help by sending emails and leaving voicemails outside business hours to show their dedication, Cable said. As many remote workers spent some time in the office, they could take advantage of these days to be “extra-visible” – pointing out when they missed lunch or worked longer hours to meet a deadline.

Key HR takeaway:

Avoid “trait-based evaluations” where leadership ability or teamwork assessments could be biased by an employee’s mere physical presence in the office. Employing “objective output measures” instead help appraise the quality and number of projects delivered by members of their team – whether based in the office or elsewhere.


 

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