Staffing Kansas City

Will Work from Home be The Reason You Didn’t Get Promoted?

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The work pendulum continues to swing with employees and job seekers finding that the desire for a promotion is a good reason to consider an in-office job instead of a work from home situation. While many employees prize the convenience and flexibility of working from home arrangement, WFH might not be the best for those who seek advancement. December data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found close to 20% of all employees with college degrees or higher still work remotely.

Staying Visible 

But being a top performer may not be enough if you’re also not getting enough face time with those in the office. A January article, Remote Workers Are Losing Out on Promotions, in the Wall Street Journal reported remote workers are promoted 31% less frequently than those who work in the office, either full-time or on a hybrid basis. The analysis of two million white-collar workers from Live Data Technologies, an employment-data provider, also found WFH employees also receive less mentorship. In contrast, a related 2023 National Bureau of Economic Research paper found no difference in promotion rates between hybrid workers and those who come into the office, according to Stanford University economist Nick Bloom, who co-wrote the report.

Defining What Matters

What these studies and articles often do not explore is a deeper dive into the motivations of those who want to work from home versus those who want to come into the office. High-performance employees exist in both areas as do lower-performing workers. In-office work can be helpful for those who need a boundary between home and work.

Conversely, there are individuals who thrive working from home and who have fewer issues setting boundaries between home and work. Introverts who dislike interruptions and who need a quiet working environment may not thrive in a traditional office environment, which typically caters to extroverted types.

Extroverts who feel “banished” to the home office are more likely to report higher rates of depression and the need for human/social interaction. Likewise, those who thrive on constant feedback may also wither away without interactions within the workplace. These individuals may lack the necessary motivation to do their best work without more in-person feedback.

As for promotions, it is still up to the individual to distinguish themselves from their peers – whether they’re working from home or in the office. Employees who look to work their way up the promotional ladder must understand being in the office may be a determining factor for promotions. This career path may also mean longer hours and less work-life balance. It will be up to the employee to decide if this is the right path for them. WFH and in-office are very nuanced matters, and a business is composed of individuals with a range of traits, some positive and some negative. Employees who want to be promoted and managers who look to promote those people must look at several factors, not just the location of where the employee works.