February 16, 2023

Time Zone Bias and Remote Workers

Time Zones

Workplace Trends

For all the positive aspects of remote working—living in less expensive cities, no commuting, relaxed dress code—there are drawbacks as well.

A recent article from Business Insider points to time-zone bias and proximity prejudice as two ways remote workers are sometimes discriminated against.

Some employees express feelings of exploitation, citing expectations of being on call 24/7. Other employees say they were assured their time zone would be respected, but have experienced either a reversal of that support or are feeling left out of company team-building activities because they are held outside their normal working hours.

Why This Matters

While you may be tempted to think it was easier when everyone was in the same office, organizations now have the opportunity to employ talented people from various locations. Remote working is here to stay and adjustments have been made, to the point where globally, 16% of companies are now fully remote and 45% of the US workforce works remotely, at least some of the time, and plan to continue this way.

However, both time zone bias (centering work around “core team hours”) and proximity prejudice (favouring employees who appear in person) is rising, but not for the reason some may think. For most companies, the learning curve to adapt to remote working has been steep and they have not yet adopted the infrastructure needed to support workers in multiple time zones, such as using scheduling software and embracing ways to accommodate team members in multiple locations.

The article points out that “If companies fail to treat workers fairly across time zones, they risk losing talent to the Great Resignation. Time-zone bias isn’t something employees should need to adapt to—it’s a problem companies need to address from the top.

Next Step

The workplace format has changed and will continue to do so as employers and employees find the best practices for working together. It behooves everyone to be open enough to talk through how all parties can feel included and fairly treated. Click here to read further and consider how you can help prevent or address time-zone bias in your workplace.

Photo by Canva.com