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24 Dec 2012

Mobile Workforce: Less “Face Time,” Less Advancement

One day long ago, I was working late for an employer when the President walked into the department and commented, “You’re working late!”

I replied, “Yes, my wife is out of town, so I figured I would catch up on a few things.”

“I wish more thought the same way,” he concluded and continued his rounds.

Employees have long known of “face time’s” value. Whereas staying late after school was considered bad, staying late after work isn’t even if it’s because we were disorganized and incompetent. However, today, with more companies moving to a mobile workforce environment and more employees working in remote offices or from home, “face time’s” impact on employees’ assessments is critical to consider, especially if employees are using Monday or Friday to work from home.

As reported in and MIT Sloan Management Review: “Why Showing Your Face at Work Matters”, Daniel Cable of the London Business School and Kimberly Elsbach of the UC Davis School of Management found:

. . . that managers’ inferences based on passive face time are unintentional — even unconscious. This supports research findings that people generally form trait inferences spontaneously, without realizing they are doing so.

Moreover, this just doesn’t affect managers:

. . .our research suggests that coworkers and subordinates may be just as prone to making unconscious trait judgments as managers are.

The real danger is that management – because these influences work subconsciously – will discount that influence. Knowing when we are under this influence is difficult. Yet, we can ward it off more easily if we are consciously aware of it and change our thoughts and behavior accordingly.

At the other end, employees will need to realize this influence is real and manage their careers differently. More emails, phone calls and reports to the boss won’t do it alone.


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2 Responses

    1. Mike Lehr

      Thank you, Brian, for the heads up. I appreciate it. I’ve corrected the link. I apologize for any inconvenience. ~Mike

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