The office looks a lot different today, after the pandemic caused organizations worldwide to rethink how and where work gets done. Remote work shifted from being an emergency tactic to business-as-usual for millions of people. Employees loved the flexibility and companies didn’t have to maintain expensive office space. But the shift to remote work had unintended consequences for people managers and team leaders. It’s harder to build team cohesion when colleagues aren’t physically together, and it’s challenging to manage virtual or hybrid teams.
As quickly as the office environment changed, supervisors suddenly had to navigate communication challenges and proximity bias. Leaders seldom explicitly state that they prefer in-person workers. Rather, there are small inequities that persist, where in-person workers are given more opportunities or more favorable reviews than remote workers. In fact, one recent study found that remote employees are less likely to be promoted than employees who come into the office, despite being 15% more productive.
The good news is that organizations, leaders, and employees can take actions to mitigate bias so proximity doesn’t play a role in performance evaluations, opportunity, and access. Here are 15 practical tips for building better remote teams: