Have you ever suspected that your boss favors your colleague over you? You might be paranoid – or you could be suffering from proximity bias.
Proximity bias is what happens when people’s work and contributions are considered greater than they actually are because they are more closely associated with decision makers. you may think it doesn’t apply to you, and you may think your boss is fair about remote working and doesn’t have a preference on how and where you work, as long as you achieve your goals.
That may be the truth, but that doesn’t mean your manager isn’t one of the 95% of executives who recently admitted that they notice the contributions of their team members more when they’re in the office.
As a workplace phenomenon, proximity bias is very real. As we continue to embrace remote and flexible working, it’s another hurdle to overcome if you are committed to career progression.
How can you get around it? For managers, the key is to focus on outcomes, not face time. And for workers, try adopting the following practices.
Join Meetings Individually
If one or two team members work remotely while the rest are office-based, having everyone join a meeting on their device can stop a group mentality from forming and allow everyone an equal opportunity. In addition to tackling proximity bias, this approach can also make it easier for shyer team members to speak up. For those working from home, this takes away the need to shout over a group conversation from a screen to have your contribution heard.
Suggest A 360 Review
How has your work previously been measured? If you’ve been working in an office with your entire team then there’s the possibility that success was measured by hitting a target rather than individual contribution.
If you’ve moved to working remotely, suggest to your boss that you set monthly benchmarks which can then be reviewed holistically. This will encourage the leadership team to start looking at success from a 360 helicopter view – removing the potential for proximity bias.
When working from home, it can be easy to silo yourself while focusing on projects – interacting with cross-departmental colleagues only when necessary. To ensure you fight proximity bias, set up weekly or monthly cross-departmental virtual meetings. Not only will this ensure visibility with other teams, but it will help you maintain an overview of challenges being faced across the company which can influence your upcoming strategies.
If you’ve tried to bypass proximity bias and still don’t feel that you’re getting ahead, the best option may be to move jobs, and work for a company that already has procedures in place to fight it. We’ve highlighted three such companies below but there are plenty to be explored on The Next Pit Jobs Board.
With its API-driven platform, MoneyGram has grown to help over 150 million people manage their finances across the globe. As well as benefits such as pension, healthcare and annual performance reviews, MoneyGram is known for providing staff with constant career progression. It has a diverse hiring policy and constantly seeks feedback from staff to ensure that promotions are considered fair. MoneyGram is currently hiring for a number of roles, including a DevOps Engineer. Explore all available roles at MoneyGram.
As a corporation Apple remains committed to diversity hiring and inclusion across its departments and recently announced its commitment to equitable development and payment for all, ensuring that no matter where you work and how, your future at the company is based on fairness. Apple is currently hiring for those with experience in Video Processing with remote opportunities available. Browse all available opportunities at Apple.
PayPal has an array of roles available including Senior Software Engineer - Java and Data Scientist. Employee wellbeing is taken seriously here with the company committed to building an equitable and inclusive global economy. It considers its people to be its most important asset, offering benefits to help employees thrive. These include financial benefits and physical, and mental health resources, a flexible work environment, employee shares options, health and life insurance and more. you can discover more and see all open roles at PayPal here.
There are dozens of companies currently hiring across all sectors and levels on the NextPit Job Board – discover all opportunities now. This article was written by Aisling O'Toole.