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Do Telecommuters Earn Less Than Office Workers? — Dollars and Sense

six27, flickr

Telecommuters enjoy a lot of perks, but they may come at a steep price: a new study finds people who work at home get smaller raises, fewer promotions and lower performance reviews.

Although research finds telecommuters get just as much — if not more — done than office workers, the MIT Sloan Management Review says bosses are heavily influenced by what’s called “passive face time,” or the mere presence of someone in the office.

“To be credited with passive face time you need only be observed at work,” the study reads. “No information is required about what you are doing or how well you are doing it.”

Researchers break passive face time into two categories: “Expected” face time, which involves working during normal business hours, and “extracurricular” face time, which is being present at other times — during lunch, for example, or early in the morning or after hours.

Bosses in the study were nine percent more likely to describe workers who put in expected face time as “dependable” and “responsible,” and 25 percent more likely to describe those who put in extracurricular face time as “committed” and “dedicated.”

Kimberly Elsbach, a management professor at UC-Davis and one of the authors of the study, said that to avoid an unconscious bias against at-home workers, reviews should be based on actual performance — not subjective traits.


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