Banish the Bias: 3 Tips for Reducing Proximity Bias in the Workplace

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3 tips for reducing proximity bias in the workplace

 

From training to rethinking meetings, here are ways some to make every employee feel included — no matter where they work best.

Allison Carter, Ragan Communications

As hybrid work becomes more common, employers need to be careful to not favor of people who come into the office more regularly over those who may work mostly or entirely remotely. This phenomenon is commonly referred to as proximity bias.

“You will end up being a little more focused on people you are talking with and seeing in real life,” explained Anne DeAngelis, executive vice president of Employee Engagement at Strategy Zeno Group, during Ragan’s Internal Communications & Culture Next Practices Conference this past fall. DeAngelis first worked in a hybrid workplace more than 20 years ago, so she has experience in finding ways to make employees feel valued and included, even if they aren’t putting in as much face time at the office.

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During her presentation, “Distance Bias: Eliminating the Out-of-Sight, Out-of-Mind Mentality in the Workplace,” DeAngelis noted that making employees feel included is especially important not only because it helps keep workers engaged, but because of the kinds of workers who tend to prefer hybrid or remote work. According to research she cited, Black workers value hybrid work more than white workers and women value it more than men. Working to bridge the hybrid gap can ensure all employees have fair access to managers, an equal voice in meetings and the same chance at receiving promotions.

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