Have you ever heard of the proximity bias?



Proximity bias describes our unconscious tendency to prefer people or things that are closer to us in time and space. In this way, proximity bias can have a major effect on our workplace culture.

One example: While some employees have already returned to the office after several Covid-Lockdowns, others are still in the home office and thus potentially further away from each other and the team leaders. The proximity bias shows its ugly face when team leaders then believe that on-site employees work harder and are more productive than remote employees, simply because they can physically see those employees doing their work and can only trust their remote team members to do the same.

Try out our three easy ideas to counteract proximity bias!

  • Inclusion Nudge: For virtual or hybrid meetings and feedback sessions, first ask for input from employees who work furthest from the office.
  • Try to integrate all decisions, action points, and open topics into a knowledge sharing tool at meeting-close, whether it happened via video or in person.
  • If you are doing in-person meetings, ask everyone – even people at the headquarter – to log in to the call from their own computer to equalize each person’s visibility.

How do you deal with the issue of proximity bias? We are looking forward to your ideas and experiences on our LinkedIn channel.