You’ve heard it said that perception is everything. A new study shows that employees who telecommute suffer from the perception that they are not as dedicated. The study’s author concludes that this bias is probably unconscious. But they found a definite correlation between the amount of “passive face time,” meaning time that an employee is seen in the office, not actively interacting, but just there.
Many employees are very productive working from home. They avoid commuting fatigue, and may have fewer social distractions. It can be very helpful for people with disabilities to remain home most of the time. Promotions often involve subjective elements, though, a judgment that someone is ready to manage, to lead. The study reports that employees who appear regularly at the workplace, and who are seen to be working late or on the weekends are given higher marks for dedication.
The study also gives a few tips to telecommuters about staying electronically visible. They suggest responding immediately to emails, leave emails and voice mails early in the morning or late at night, and be super-visible when in the office. Again, perception is everything.