Proximity Bias. Are you favouring those in the office?

Proximity bias — the idea that employees with close proximity to their leaders are seen as better workers — will penalise women, people of colour and working parents the most, as these groups are spending less time in the office than their peers.

I spotted this on a LinkedIn news story some time ago – accompanied by one individuals story around proximity bias. 

Whether you ‘believe’ in the phrase or not, I think it’s worthwhile asking yourself if you are inadvertently currying favour with those who spend more time in the office. 

This article from Forbes has some nice ideas about creating a culture in distributed teams, noting that for intimate teams, a thoughtful and consistent communication rhythm is key to retaining and building company culture in the remote world. Short and frequent all-hands huddles bring the entire team “together” daily without consuming too much work time. I also liked point #5, to:

 Speak To Everyone On Your Team Every Day

Take the time to speak to everyone on your team every day, even for five minutes. Let them know they matter and that you will be there when they call. Know what’s happening in their lives. Ask if there’s anything they need. Maintaining good culture remotely takes deliberate effort. Don’t be so busy getting work done that everyone thinks that’s all that matters to you.

It’s always worth a bit of introspection around possible culture pitfalls. And if in doubt, up the communication. 



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