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Remote Work Hurts Young Workers? There’s an Important Caveat

If you haven’t seen it by now, the New York Times story about the negative impacts on younger workers that come from working from home has been making all the rounds on LinkedIn.

In typical old-time media fashion, the Times makes a strong argument that there is a proximity bias, and so younger workers who are not in the office do not get the same amount of feedback and mentoring that someone sitting in the office. This will eventually mean they learn and develop slower, if at all.

This is bad, but let’s not start getting confused about the causal link here. It’s not working from home by itself, causing this problem. It’s a manager with proximity bias. There is no reason that we shouldn’t expect our managers to be better than this. There is no reason we shouldn’t expect everyone on our team to be better than this.

Let’s change the argument and replace remote workers with minority workers.


Managerial bias causes white male workers to receive more feedback and mentorship opportunities.

Clearly, in order to make this fair, we should stop hiring women and minority candidates. We can’t expect our managers to correct their biases and learn a better way.

No one would be happy with that, would they? Of course not. We expect our managers not to be biased when it comes to the people who work for them regarding race, gender, and sexuality. Why do we accept that proximity bias cannot be overcome, so you must come to the office? Why do we accept that we will only be as diverse as to include people who can physically be in the same space simultaneously?

The conclusion to be drawn from this research is that we need better managers. Period.

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