Working from home is one of the cornerstones of any flexible working policy. It’s been shown to be good for both productivity and employee wellbeing.


But despite all the benefits to working from home, some workers have been reluctant to do it because of one persistent myth; people that work from home don’t climb the career ladder as quick as those that work in the office all the time.

Now, research published in the Journal of Vocational Behaviour has finally shown that there is no truth in the working from home myth.

Researchers at The Lally School of Management at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the US, compared the career progressions of 400 employees, some who worked from home and some people who didn’t.

They found that rather than suffering career consequences, telecommuters and non-telecommuters receive an equal number of promotions.

However, the research wasn’t all good news for people that work the bulk of their hours from home. According to Timothy D. Golden, a professor at The Lally, people who work from home don’t get do as well when it comes to pay increases.

Golden notes that it’s not just working from home that matters. The number of hours that an employee works from home is a key component of how quickly employees advance up the career ladder.

On top of this, he found that ‘face time’ matters. In other words, it’s people who had the most face-to-face contact with their direct manager got the biggest pay rises.

So what is the key take away? Golden says that it’s important that employers don’t treat all people that work from home as one homogeneous group.

“Telecommuting arrangements are often unique, and differences in these arrangements must be understood and taken into account when determining how best to be successful,” he said.

“This study suggests contextual factors are especially important to consider when determining telecommuting’s effect on promotions and salary growth.”

If you work from home and want to ensure that you’re still part of the team, try these tips:


Have regular check-ins

It’s not enough to stay in touch with your manager, make sure that you are consistent with the way that you communicate. One way to do this is to schedule a regular one-to-one with your boss.

It’s a good idea to have check-ins with peers too. Ask questions about what’s happening in the office so that you don’t miss out on informal team building.


Ensure you have a presence at team meetings

Even if you’re not able to attend a team meeting you can still be involved. Perhaps you can phone or jump on a video conference call. If not, then ensure that you are across the agenda and ask a colleague to report or comment on your behalf.


Be accessible

You’re working from home, not taking a day off. Make sure that you are available to chat to colleagues on the phone if they need to chat to you.



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