Proximity Factor

“I’m finding it harder to conduct performance reviews after first being remote and now with a hybrid work environment. It’s difficult to know what they’re doing when not in my presence.”

Your HR Survival Tip

Managing a remote work environment has challenged companies over the past two years. New and different challenges are being noted with the hybrid work environment that incorporates both remote and on-site workers.

The thought behind the proximity factor is whether you must actually be seen working to get credit for the work by your company’s management team. A bias based on proximity may appear when choosing which employees get certain projects or when not encouraging remote employees to be more interactive. Other considerations include:

  • Employees with well-established careers found they really enjoyed working remotely. However, those employees just starting out in their careers felt they must be easily visible to management to further their careers. Plus, younger generations want to work next to the older generations due to the mentoring and training opportunities.

  • Many managers prefer to work in the office at least half the time… and want their direct reports there with them. Trust may be missing for managers who do not believe their remote staff is as productive as their on-site staff.

  • Loyalty and workplace friendships help retention and companies need to consider developing more team projects so work relationships, near and far, thrive.

It’s easier than ever for employees to choose the work/life balance they want. While you might have been hoping for an easy solution to the complexities of remote and hybrid environments, no one has found it yet. Mostly, companies are trying a lot of different things to see what works best for their workforce and business. Consider regular discussions with your management team about the remote and hybrid issues other companies are having and take note of possible solutions you might try. As always, training managers how to work better with remote and hybrid employees, how to better track their production, and how to encourage open communication will help you avoid biases and retain employees.

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