Think Working From Home Won’t Hurt Your Career? Don’t Be So Sure
Kanebridge News
Share Button

Think Working From Home Won’t Hurt Your Career? Don’t Be So Sure

Many companies are letting employees stay home some or all of the time, but workers who frequent the office might get ahead.

By CALLUM BORCHERS
Fri, Jun 10, 2022 1:27pmGrey Clock 4 min

Employees of accounting firm Dixon Hughes Goodman showed CEO Matt Snow that they could be productive at home during the pandemic. So, last fall, the company declared “hybrid” the new normal and made the office optional on most days.

This month the firm merged with a larger one whose staff shows up in person more often—and whose chief executive became CEO of the combined business, Forvis. Some of the blended company’s 5,400 total employees are now meeting new colleagues who could dictate future promotions and raises.

Sounds like a good time to get back to the desk.

“If you want to be a managing partner, you’re probably not going to do that working one day a week in the office, and I think people get that,” says Mr. Snow, who is now Forvis’s chairman. Employees still can work from home much of the time, he notes, but there may be trade-offs.

Hybrid workers, beware: There can be a gap—sometimes a wide one—between what’s required and what it really takes to succeed.

Office hard-liners like Tesla CEO Elon Musk have made clear that “a minimum of 40 hours in the office per week” is the only way to thrive, or even survive, at his company. The leaders of Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase also don’t hide their disdain for remote work.

While telecommuting may be fine in certain roles, people in the upper ranks “cannot lead from behind a desk or in front of a screen,” JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon wrote in his annual shareholder letter this spring.

Yet other businesses are promising “hybrid equity,” insisting some employees can enjoy the conveniences of working from home without compromising their ambitions.

HubSpot, a Boston-based digital marketing firm, plans to track promotions in the coming years to ensure people who rarely visit the office aren’t disadvantaged, says Katie Burke, chief people officer. Citigroup requires three days of office work per week, and human resources head Sara Wechter says those who log only the minimum will have an “equitable opportunity to develop and advance their careers.”

It’s a dream for many workers, but it could be pure fantasy unless companies are vigilant, according to career coaches and researchers who say people in the office are more likely to get noticed and rewarded. A 2020 study of more than 400 tech workers by researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Northeastern University found that while remote and non-remote workers won roughly the same number of promotions, the salaries of remote workers grew more slowly. At companies where remote work was less common, telecommuters won fewer promotions.

Sure, you can hit your performance targets from the kitchen table and wear out the “raise hand” button on Zoom. But a colleague who chats up the boss when the meeting is over and goes for a drink after hours may get ahead.

There’s a term for this.

Proximity bias (präk-ˈsi-mə-tē bī-əs) | noun

1. A tendency to favour people in close proximity to you

2. Human nature and the way things have worked in business since forever

It’s certainly possible to progress while working from home most or all of the time, especially in today’s tight labour market, and not everyone aspires to climb the corporate ladder to the top. Still, hybrid and remote arrangements could be vulnerable to management changes or an economic downturn—which many economists say is increasingly likely, by the way.

Businesses are hunting for leaders who can handle decentralized teams, says Bo Burch, founder of the executive search firm Human Capital Solutions in Wilmington, N.C.

Yet, “companies aren’t saying, ‘Bo, you need to make sure you present a panel of executives that have great stories to tell about how they overcome proximity bias,’” he says.

Office-goers sometimes enjoy special status even at companies that have embraced remote work. Google, Facebook, Twitter and others have allowed many employees to scatter—but warned of pay cuts for those who go remote and move to cheaper cities.

Polls show people in historically marginalized groups are among the most likely to prefer working from home, and businesses with hybrid teams should be careful not to exacerbate longstanding inequities, says Kathlyn Perez, a New Orleans labor lawyer who counsels companies on unconscious bias.

Then again, she notes remote workers aren’t members of a legally protected class in the way that women, minorities and people with disabilities are. Those who feel that infrequent office visits unfairly cost them promotions could have little recourse.

“Unfortunately, if you know that your employer values some face time, then you as an individual trying to improve your working situation and endear yourself to your boss may want to put some of that face time in,” she says.

Ms. Perez’s advice might seem obvious. Not to everyone, apparently.

Overstock.com CEO Jonathan Johnson expected good turnouts, especially among young workers, when he extended a staff-wide invitation to join him for lunch every Tuesday at the company’s Midvale, Utah, headquarters.

Total attendance over eight months: 10 people.

“Most of the time, I eat my peanut butter sandwich alone,” he says. “When I was 25, if I had a chance to eat my sandwich with the CEO, I’d have been there.”

He says he doesn’t mind letting a majority of his 1,500 employees work from home most of the time, and Overstock recently hired executives in Austin and Cleveland to demonstrate its commitment to a hybrid workforce.

Nevertheless, when Mr. Johnson and I spent almost an hour chatting in a hotel lobby recently, I asked whether his lunchmates stand out as go-getters.

“A little bit,” he allowed.

The man likes to talk in person. If I worked at Overstock and wanted to get ahead, I’d find out whether Mr. Johnson prefers Skippy or Jif and bring a jar to the office next Tuesday.



MOST POPULAR
11 ACRES ROAD, KELLYVILLE, NSW

This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

Related Stories
Lifestyle
The surprising passions paying off for investors
By Bronwyn Allen 09/04/2024
Lifestyle
Kanebridge News partners with Dubai Fintech Summit
By KANEBRIDGE NEWS 08/04/2024
elon musk
Lifestyle
The Inside Tale of Tesla’s Fall to Earth
By REBECCA ELLIOTT 08/04/2024
The surprising passions paying off for investors

The Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index reveals investments of passion are paying strong dividends, in some areas at least

By Bronwyn Allen
Tue, Apr 9, 2024 4 min

Art was the investment of passion that gained the most in value in 2023, according to Knight Frank’s Luxury Investment Index (KFLII). This is the second consecutive year that art has risen the most among the 10 popular investments tracked by the index, up 11 percent in 2023 and 29 percent in 2022. Art was followed by 8 percent growth in jewellery, 5 percent growth in watches, 4 percent growth in coins and 2 percent growth in coloured diamonds last year.

The weakest performers were rare whisky bottles, which lost nine percent of their value, classic cars down six percent and designer handbags down four percent. Luxury collectables are typically held by ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs) who have a net worth of US$30 million or more. Knight Frank research shows 20 percent of UHNWI investment asset portfolios are allocated to collectables.

In 2023, the KFLII fell for only the second time, with prices down 1 percent on average.

Despite record-breaking individual sales in 2023, a surge in financial market returns contributed to a shift in allocations impacting on luxury asset value,” the report said. “… our assessment reveals a need for an ever more discerning approach from investors, with significant volatility by sub-market.

Sebastian Duthy of AMR said the 2023 art auction year began with notable sales including a record price for a Bronzino piece. But confidence waned as the year went on.

“It was telling that in May, Sotheby’s inserted one of its top Old Master lots – a Rubens’ portrait – into a 20th Century Modern evening sale. But by then, it was clear that the confidence among sellers, set by the previous year’s record-busting figures, was ebbing away. In the same month, modern and contemporary works from the collection of the late financier Gerald Fineberg sold well below pre-auction estimates.”

The value of ultra contemporary or red-chip’ art contracted the most in 2023.

“Works by a growing group of artists born after 1980 have been heavily promoted by mega galleries and auction houses in recent years. With freshly painted works in excess of £100,000 almost doubling in 2022, it was little surprise that this sector was one of the biggest casualties last year. There is a risk there are now simply too many fresh paint artists with none really standing out.”

In the jewellery market, Mr Duthy noted that demand was strongest for coloured gemstones of exceptional quality, iconic signed period jewels, single-owner collections, and items with historic provenance in 2023. In the watches market, Mr Duthy said collectors chased the most iconic and rare timepieces.

A Rolex John Player Special broke the model record when it sold for £2 million at Sotheby’s in May, double the price for a similar example sold at Phillips in 2021,” he said.

Although whisky was the worst-performing collectable in 2023, it has delivered the highest return on investment among the 10 items tracked by the index over the past decade, up 280 percent. Andy Simpson of Simpson Reserved, said 2023 was a challenging year but the best of the best bottles gained 20 percent in value. In my opinion some bottles that lost significant value in 2023 will return through the next two years as they are simply so scarce and, right now at least, so undervalued, Mr Simpson said.

Whisky was the worst performing collectable in 2023 but it had highest return on investment over a 10-year period. Image: Shutterstock

Classic car expert Dietrich Hatlapa said the 6 percent fall in collectable vehicle values in 2023 followed a 22 percent surge in 2022. The strong performance of other investment classes such as equities may have dampened collectors’ appetites it’s a very small market so it only takes a minor change in portfolio allocations to have an effect, and there has also probably been a degree of profit taking. However, we have seen some marques like BMW (up 9 percent in value) and Lamborghini (up 18 percent), which appeal to a younger breed of collector, buck the trend in 2023.”

Mr Duthy said a dip in the share price of the top luxury handbag brands last Autumn appeared to spook investors. Last autumn it was possible to pick up an Hermès white Niloticus Himalaya Birkin in good condition for under £50,000. The recent slide reflects a general correction at the upper end that’s been underway for some time rather than changing attitudes to the harvesting of exotic skins.

According to Knight Frank’s Attitudes Survey, the top five investments of passion among Australian UHNWIs are classic cars, art and wine. Fine wine values gained just 1 percent in 2023 as the market continued its correction, said Nick Martin of Wine Owners. “It’s been a hell of a long run, so I’m not that surprised. Some wines from very small producers that had enjoyed the most exuberant growth have seen the biggest drops. It had got a bit silly, £50 bottles had shot up to £200 or £300.”

Favourite investments of passion: Australia vs Global

1. Classic cars (61 percent of Australian UHNWIs vs 38 percent of global UHNWIs)
2. Art (58 percent vs 48 percent)
3. Wine (48 percent vs 35 percent)
4. Watches (42 percent vs 42 percent)
5. Jewellery (18 percent vs 28 percent)

Best returns among investments of passion (10 years)

1. Whisky 280 percent
2. Wine 146 percent
3. Watches 138 percent
4. Art 105 percent
5. Cars 82 percent

MOST POPULAR
35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

11 ACRES ROAD, KELLYVILLE, NSW

This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

Related Stories
Money
The Bill for Offshore Wind Power Is Rising
By CAROL RYAN 23/11/2023
Property
Top Suburbs For House Price Growth In 2023
By Bronwyn Allen 27/12/2023
Money
Bitcoin Was Left for Dead. Why Wall Street Is Bringing It Back to Life.
By JOE LIGHT 10/04/2024
0
    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop