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Remote work is changing how climbing the career ladder works.

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Remote work is changing how climbing the career ladder works.

Remote work is often preferred by established employees who know their manager, are comfortable in their role and want to balance work with family responsibilities or other personal obligations. For those just starting out in their careers, working in isolation can make working in an organization suitable – and eventually moving up their ranks – more difficult.

Companies have become more open to remote work during the pandemic. Now, as they plan what work will happen next, they are focusing more on what it means to have a career without the traditional opportunities for networking, mentoring and visibility that come with a full-time physical office , Corinne Pertil reports for The New York Times.

Prithviraj Choudhary, an associate professor at Harvard Business School who focuses on the changing geography of work, said he observed three common practices in companies that successfully manage remote work. These companies:

  • Took time to compile information and practices into handbooks or guides, allowing employees to consult from anywhere.

  • Connected remote workers with mentors outside their department so they can speak clearly without jeopardizing team relationships.

  • And created what he called a “virtual water cooler.”

In one study, Mr. Choudhury and his colleagues randomly recruited some interns at a global bank to participate in face-to-face video meetings with senior executives. Others met with fellow trainees virtually, and some were given no additional meetings. Those hired to meet with senior employees had better performance reviews at the end of the summer and were more likely to receive job offers.

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Managed effectively, remote work can lead to more in-depth conversations, Mr. Choudhury said.

Among employees who preferred remote work are women and people of color, who even before the pandemic often reported feeling under-represented and isolated in the workplace. Moving away without proper support can create a vicious cycle that increases feelings of isolation, while also reducing the chances of those workers being pulled over for career and morale-boosting projects.

Sensitive to this unconscious tendency, which organizational psychologists have dubbed “proximity bias”, software developer HubSpot evaluated all of their roles and specified which positions in the office were to be held for legitimate business reasons.

Katie Burke, the company’s chief public officer, said, “‘I only like it when I can see people on my team’—that’s not a good business reason.”

Some employees are even more considering what long-term remote or hybrid work could mean for their future. Read full article →

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