Proximity bias is ‘unquestionably’ real, according to one study

Proximity bias is ‘unquestionably’ real, according to one study
  • Home
  • Articles
  • Proximity bias is ‘unquestionably’ real, according to one study

As most teams are now splitting between on-site and remote employees, one new question arises: How important is it, really, to be seen by your coworkers and bosses?

New research by workplace platform Envoy suggests that it can matter — a lot.

In its poll of 1,000 employees and 250 executives in the United States, Envoy revealed that 96% of executives notice on-site employees’ contributions more than remote workers. 

Annette Reavis, Envoy’s chief people officer, said this highlights a pressing matter within the business community. One called “proximity bias.”

Proximity bias refers to the idea that leaders favor employees in the office more often for promotions and pay raises. And Reavis added that the problem is “going to get worse” as more companies return to the office.

So the question now is, what do we do to combat proximity bias?

According to Reavis, leaders have the most power to reduce proximity bias in the workplace. Start by introducing more inclusive practices that consider everyone’s capabilities and needs — whether working at the office or at home. 

She added that managers should be more mindful of their employees’ contributions no matter where they work.

Setting equitable, transparent performance and salary review processes anchored on clear goals and metrics — instead of behavior — could also work to make it fair for everyone.

Moreover, having firm start and end times for meetings could make remote employees not feel “left out” of conversations and important decisions. 

Johnny Taylor Jr., president and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), added that remote employees could also do their part to combat proximity bias. He suggested weekly or monthly virtual coffee dates with their co-workers or introducing themselves to higher-ups over email and sharing what they’ve been working on. 

While it is still early to see the impacts of proximity bias on a remote worker’s career, Reavis said that not addressing it could have great consequences in the future. 

“People are choosing to be remote with the expectation that their career will move at the same pace as their in-person colleagues,” Reavis said.

“If proximity bias persists, it could damage their career advancement without them understanding why … and that worries me the most.”

Read more here.

Start your
journey today

  • Independent
  • Secure
  • Transparent

Access fantastic talent at world-leading prices

Scale your business fast while reducing costs —
the average all-in employment costs in the
Philippines are typically 70% less than its
Western counterparts

Philippines United Kingdom Australia United States
Software Developer
$7,221
$39,913
$62,653
$81,994
HR Manager
$9,506
$46,669
$66,518
$78,007
Team Leader
$7,152
$31,174
$45,428
$75,823
Accountant
$5,959
$58,479
$67,190
$72,923
Copy Writer
$4,767
$52,088
$56,600
$62,653
Customer Service
$3,337
$22,137
$29,717
$35,275
Virtual Assistance
$2,285
$39,066
$42,240
$31,797
Select a role to view salaries
Philippines $7,221
United Kingdom $39,913
Australia $62,653
United States $81,994

Avoid guesswork. Talk to the experts, free.

Get 3 free quotes

You can save 70% on staff costs, whilst driving quality & growth. Connect with an outsourcing expert to see how outsourcing can transform your business.

Why choose us?
  • Independent and unrivalled expertise
  • We carefully match you from 3,000+ leading suppliers
  • Access to Outsourcing Savings Calculator & Report

Get Started

How many staff to outsource?

About OA

Outsource Accelerator is the trusted source of independent information, advisory and expert implementation of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO).

The #1 outsourcing authority

Outsource Accelerator offers the world’s leading aggregator marketplace for outsourcing. It specifically provides the conduit between world-leading outsourcing suppliers and the businesses – clients – across the globe.

The Outsource Accelerator website has over 5,000 articles, 350+ podcast episodes, and a comprehensive directory with 3,000+ BPO companies… all designed to make it easier for clients to learn about – and engage with – outsourcing.

About Derek Gallimore

Derek Gallimore has been in business for 20 years, outsourcing for over eight years, and has been living in Manila (the heart of global outsourcing) since 2014. Derek is the founder and CEO of Outsource Accelerator, and is regarded as a leading expert on all things outsourcing.