Does remote work help careers or hinder them? | Life

Although working remotely may be more convenient for many employees, there is a growing risk of proximity bias. — AFP photo

NEW YORK, February 4 ― The Future Forum Consortium’s new Pulse report shows how massively remote working has been embraced by knowledge workers around the world. It also notes the significant increase in remote work among demographic groups previously underrepresented in knowledge work, including women and mothers, and highlights how “proximity bias” is emerging as a new risk in the world of job.

According to the Pulse survey released in January 2022 by the Future Forum Consortium, people of color, working women and mothers are “thriving with the rise of new location and schedule flexibility.” The report surveyed 10,737 knowledge workers across the world, from the United States to Japan to Germany.

The details show that in the United States, more African American, Hispanic, Latino and Asian workers want to retain the flexibility offered by remote work compared to white workers. Flexibility in where and when work is done is no longer simply desired but expected by knowledge workers. And some 86% of Hispanic/Latino employees responding to the survey preferred to stay in a hybrid or 100% remote work setup, compared to 75% of white workers.

The consortium notes in its study that “white knowledge workers are more interested in returning to the office full-time, compared to employees of color.” A constant trend, according to the consortium, in all their investigations since the start of the pandemic.

Another difference noted by Future Forum relates to the preferences for remote work according to the sex of the workers. More than half of women surveyed globally want to work primarily remotely (52%), while only 46% of men express such a desire. Mothers in particular are more supportive of flexible working hours and childcare locations.

Fighting the “proximity bias”

While remote work may be more convenient for many employees, being away from the office can be a barrier to career development for workers. Despite an increase in demographics historically underrepresented in knowledge work, the consortium warns of the possible downsides of being in or out of the office.

The consortium warns that leaders must set an example in their own ways. “If organizations promote flexibility of location and hours as a company-wide benefit, but managers spend most of their time working in the office, this will likely lead to a double standard that favors employees “, emphasizes the consortium, pointing out that it is more often white men who choose to come regularly to the office.

Today, it is important to invest in “diversity, equity and inclusion” and to fight against “proximity bias” by building trust and transparency.

The Future Forum Pulse study surveyed 10,737 knowledge workers in the United States, Australia, France, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom between November 1 and November 30, 2021. ― ETX Studio

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