Should In-Office Workers Be Granted More Career Advancement?

Should In-Office Workers Be Granted More Career Advancement?
Summary: When deciding who should be promoted, many factors come into play. Each company has its own views on this matter. There is no right or wrong method, but considering the increasing demand for hybrid work, perhaps it is better to take workplace bias out of the equation.

Career Growth For In-Office Vs. Remote Workers

Deloitte's survey showed that only 36% of workers felt satisfied with the growth opportunities offered by their employers. Judging by this statistic, there’s a global challenge in providing career advancement opportunities. However, some argue that in-office workers should be given an advantage when it comes to promotions because they are physically involved where the business happens. Is this argument still valid in the post-pandemic work culture?

eBook Release: Return To Office Survey Insights 2023: What To Consider When Planning To Bring Your Team Back To Work
eBook Release
Return To Office Survey Insights 2023: What To Consider When Planning To Bring Your Team Back To Work
Discover how workers truly feel about returning to the office and how these mandates will affect their everyday lives moving forward.

Climbing The Ladder: From Home Vs. From The Office

There’s a common assumption that in-office workers have an easier time ascending the career ladder than those who work from home. Unfortunately, this may be the case. A recent survey by CNBC revealed one vital reason why many workers consider returning to the office [1]. The study showed that even though working from home provides more comfort and flexibility, 52% of employees believe those working in the office are more likely to get better career opportunities than those who prefer to work from outside the office. They are available where the business transactions take place, they build personal rapport by meeting with colleagues in person, and they showcase their excellent skills directly. These are some proven factors to earn career advancement. Furthermore, a Business Insider article backs up this argument by pointing out the disadvantage of working remotely [2]. The physical distance impacts team cohesion and innovation which, in the long run, could cripple the home workers' careers.

Does This Mean Remote Workers Are Permanently Disadvantaged In Career Advancement?

Although it is reasonable to think that in-office workers should have an upper hand over their counterparts, some also believe that employee mentoring, career advancement, and promotion don’t always happen in the office. In fact, almost a third of the workers surveyed believe that their companies don’t provide learning and growing opportunities. This condition was made worse when the pandemic hit, and nearly all business had to take place online. Assuming that many workers still prefer to work hybrid post-pandemic, how can organizations diminish the workplace bias when deciding on career advancement opportunities?

How To Create Equal Career Growth Opportunities For Both Remote And Office Workers

1. Support The Career Advancement Journey

One way to create equal opportunities for career growth for remote workers is by supporting their career progression framework. Below are several factors that influence career advancement for your employees:

  • Provide expertise
    A great way to provide expertise is by creating and implementing an employee development program. This typically consists of learning opportunities in the form of workshops where employees learn some hard and soft skills. Before organizing the training, we suggest analyzing the needed training using a training matrix [3].
  • Create meaningful experiences
    Empower your employees. Make the work environment and culture hospitable for them. For example, give them more flexibility in deciding their work hours, and welcome any suggestions/ideas from your staff for a better work environment.

2. Minimize Unconscious Bias

Bias doesn't necessarily translate to cultural or background bias. It includes the feeling generated from negative work or personal experiences that may unconsciously affect how you perceive an individual. Although it often happens unconsciously, it doesn't mean you can't tackle it. First, ensure that you treat all employees equally. Review them objectively based on their performance, skills, and interest to grow. Use a competency model to help start the evaluation process. If you're looking for a second opinion on who to promote, hold a meeting with several people, so you can get multiple perspectives. Second, make inclusivity a core value in your workplace. Hold events where you encourage workers to interact, such as informal meetings over lunch or coffee. Let them mingle with people from other departments to broaden their views on diversity.

3. Carry Out Regular Evaluations

Create a framework for regular assessments and evaluations for your employees. Schedule them frequently (e.g., every month or quarterly). Both the managers and the employee should analyze their performance together and pinpoint areas where they could use improvement. At the same time, regular evaluations can help to measure the growth rate and identify which employees are leading the race.

4. Create A Learning And Resources Center

Create a resource center with all the necessary learning and reference material. Let the employees sign up for courses that align with their interests and the company's goals. Make sure you offer diverse online materials that are accessible to everyone.

5. Nurture Positive Working Relationships

Creating and nurturing office relationships can be challenging when you’re working remotely. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not possible. There are plenty of ways coworkers can interact and bond, despite not seeing each other physically. For starters, try virtual coffee or lunch roulette, where you pair people across the department to broaden their network. It encourages open and responsive communication and also nurtures cross-departmental teamwork. Or create after-office activities, such as sports meetings (yoga, jogging, biking club, etc.) where the team can have a conversation outside the business domain.

Should Career Advancement Factor In The Workplace?

The answer to this question depends on your company's decision. There's no one-answer-fits-all solution as each organization has different policies and unique circumstances based on the type of business, the work culture, and the types of workers. That said, companies still need to create an environment where every employee has an equal opportunity to develop both their skills and their career scopes. Create a working environment where your team feels safe to show their best talents, and then reward them proportionately.


[1] CNBC|SurveyMonkey Workforce Happiness Index: April 2021

[2] Work from home is here to stay, but it may put younger workers at a disadvantage

[3] What’s A Training Matrix And How To Create It (+ Free Template)

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