Despite a huge rise in the number of remote workers across the county, a new study carried out by the London Business School has shown that lack of ‘face time’ in the office can hold employees back.
The 10 year research project has found that, although the business world is slowly shifting towards granting more flexibility to the workforce in terms of where and how they can work, the importance of ‘passive face time’ is not to be overlooked. Indeed, the research found that the lack of physical presence in the office environment could ultimately affect career progression and promotions.
However, as the name suggests, ‘passive face time’ bears no relation to how efficiently and effectively an employee is working, just that they’re seen, on a regular basis, at their place of work. It’s almost as if the phrase ‘out of sight, out of mind’ was coined to explain this particular situation.
It is ironic that this should be the outcome of the findings bearing in mind that, as technology moves forwards in leaps and bounds, an individual can now work from almost anywhere and enjoy the same access to programmes, and connectivity, as they would if being based in an office space. Indeed, in particular cases, being based in a quiet room at home may even provide a more stimulating, and less interrupted day’s work than those at a desk in a busy office. For many, it can also mean a longer working day as, instead of a lengthy commute; employees have everything they need at their finger tips to get working straight away.
To get around this problem, Professor Cable from the London Business School suggested a number of ways that remote workers can remain at the forefront of their colleagues’ minds:
Make regular phone or email status reports. Take advantage of technology to report progress and show that you are still hard at work
Be extra-visible when in the office. Work hard when you are in the office and point out when deadlines are made because of working overtime.
Be immediately available at home. Respond to emails and calls as soon as you can to allay fears that you cannot respond as quickly as if you were in the office
Get others to talk you up. Make your peers and directors know who you are and update them on what you are doing when you see them
Email or voicemail early or late in the day. You may not be visible but keep colleagues under no illusion that you’re not putting in the hours, even if you are not necessarily visible.
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