Is it up to employees to fix the remote-work promotion gap? - Deepstash
How to Manage a Hybrid Team

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Proximity plays a role in promotions

Proximity plays a role in promotions

Managers are more likely to give workers that they spend time with key assignments and, as a result, develop their careers. 

In the wake of the pandemic, it's become evident that some managers view in-office workers more favourably. This represents a concern for remote workers: managers biased toward colleagues they see more often may overlook or potentially stigmatise home-workers.

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The same opportunities for remote workers

  • A 2022 survey of 200 US C-suite executives shows that 41$ of participants believe remote employees are less likely to be considered for promotion.
  • Research from 2015 showed remote workers in China had promotion rates 50% lower than their in-person colleagues, despite being more productive.

Companies must find ways to ensure remote workers get the same opportunities for advancement as everyone else. Firms are still coming up with best practices to address this issue, but workers could still be in for an uphill climb.

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No simple solution

No simple solution

Whether remote workers are likely to encounter promotion-related bias depends on the organisation's working model. 

If you're in the minority of people who are working remotely, you're probably at a disadvantage in terms of promotions. But if the majority of people in the organisation are working remotely, then it will be a different story.

Policies are relatively new, and it's unclear to what extent they might close the promotion gap between remote and office workers, but achieving parity will be a long process.

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Workers need to be visible

Remote workers can take steps to ensure they remain in contention for promotions.

Remote workers need to be proactive and make themselves as available and visible as possible.

  • Workers should schedule more catchups with bosses, be clear about career goals, and draw attention to recent achievements.
  • Little things like switching cameras on and participating in Zoom calls will go a long way. 
  • Communicate frequently with your manager in a way that builds trust. For example, send your boss a quick message saying, 'here's what I did today. or 'what do you think about this?'

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Towards a level playing field

Towards a level playing field

It's in the long-term interest of companies to find a way. Promotional bias towards in-office workers could become an equity issue.

Since hybrid work is forecast to remain the post-pandemic normal, there's growing awareness that companies need to create a supportive environment for remote workers or risk losing that talent to a company that will give them what they want. 

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