Remote work limits remote workers' career prospects
The majority of evidence presented for and against this statement is relatively old and focuses on perceptions of remote employees and their managers, rather than actual practices. Therefore, more research is required to establish whether this is actually the case. Likewise, more research is required on career prospects in fully remote companies, where the division between visibility of onsite employees and invisibility of remote employees is non-existent.
We are still looking for more scientific and professional evidence on this. Do you know any studies on this topic? We’d love it if you could share them with us!
Several studies have found that working remotely led to more negative perceptions of career development opportunities, prospects and aspirations43, 44, 45, while one study actually found that performance-based promotion rate of call centre employees decreased when they engaged in WFH13. A comparison between OWL Labs’ State of Remote Work reports between 2019 and 2020 found growing concerns among remote workers that working remotely will impact their career progression negatively, which increased from 23% in 2019 to 43% in 2020 of respondents expressing this fear3.
A potential reason for this is that working remotely is seen as a workplace absence inconsistent with the need for visibility in order to obtain career progression opportunities46. Also, remote employees may feel that their career progression opportunities are limited when organisations do not invest in training of remote employees45, 46.
Contrary to remote employees, managers stated that they believed that remote employees had the same career opportunities as onsite employees47. Another study did not find any negative associations between remote working and career prospects44. Other academics have argued that this is because the study was conducted primarily with women who tend to benefit more from the increases in control over their personal and professional lives that remote work provides42.
3OWL Labs & Global Workplace Analytics. (2020) *State of Remote Work 2020*. Retrieved from https://globalworkplaceanalytics.com/whitepapers
13Bloom, N., Liang, J., Roberts, J. & Ying, Z. J. (2015) Does working from home work? Evidence from a Chinese experiment. *The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 130*(1), 165–218. https://doi.org/10.1093/qje/qju032
42Charalampous, M., Grant, C. A., Tramontano, C., & Michailidis, E. (2019) Systematically reviewing remote e-workers’ well-being at work: a multidimensional approach. *European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 28*(1), 51–73. https://doi.org/10.1080/1359432X.2018.1541886
43Baruch, Y. (2000) Teleworking: benefits and pitfalls as perceived by professionals and managers. *New Technology, Work, and Employment, 15*(1), 34–49. https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-005X.00063
44Gajendran, R. S., & Harrison, D. A. (2007) The good, the bad, and the unknown about telecommuting: Meta-analysis of psychological mediators and individual consequences. *Journal of Applied Psychology, 92*(6), 1524–1541. https://doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.92.6.1524
45Redman, T., Snape, E., & Ashurst, C. (2009) Location, location, location: Does place of work really matter? *British Journal of Management, 20*(s1), S171–S181. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8551.2008.00640.x
46McDonald, P., Bradley, L., & Brown, K. (2008) Visibility in the workplace: still an essential ingredient for career success? *International Journal of Human Resource Management, 19*(12), 2198–2215. https://doi.org/10.1080/09585190802479447
47McCloskey, D. W., & Igbaria, M. (2003) Does “out of sight” mean “out of mind”? An empirical investigation of the career advancement prospects of telecommuters. *Information Resources Management Journal, 16*(2), 19–34. https://doi.org/10.4018/irmj.2003040102