Leveling the Playing Field in the Hybrid Workplace | Future Forum by Slack

Workforce Trends

As hybrid and remote work continues to be a preferred flexible work arrangement for many knowledge workers, organizations seek to understand the long-term implications of these arrangements. This Future Forum Pulse survey by Slack surveyed 10,737 knowledge workers across sectors in the U.S., Australia, France, Germany, Japan, and the U.K. to understand aspects of hybrid work. One finding is that people of color, women, and working mothers are opting for flexible work arrangements at higher rates than their peers. The difference in hybrid/remote work utilization across worker segments has raised concerns about the potential for rising “proximity bias” (PB)inequities between co-located and remote employees where there is favoritism of workers who spend more time in the office or in proximity to organizational decision-makers. Firms can respond by developing strategies for mitigating PB when making talent decisions (e.g., evaluating and rewarding performance, allocating development opportunities. One tactic is to build manager capability in a) recognizing their tendencies to engage in PB and 2) helping them to develop mindsets and behaviors that minimize PB. Another tactic is measuring the extent to which workers believe PB exists in a firm’s organization. This can be achieved by adding a couple of questions to your company survey or a pulse survey with items such as: Do you believe yourself and your coworkers are treated differently depending on your work location (on-site, remote)? Do you believe that on-site workers are prioritized over remote workers? Firms can use the results to target PB mitigation strategies. What other tactics will you consider to reduce proximity bias in your organization?

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