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Lack of ‘passive face time’ puts homeworkers at disadvantage

Just being seen in the office, regardless of what's being done, leads supervisors and colleagues 'to think more highly of an office-based employee', according to the Acas Policy Discussion Paper Agile but fragile: The changing face of UK homeworking – what works best for whom?. The research shows that the act of being present in an office – something termed 'passive face time' – gives an 'optical illusion of productivity'. The absence of passive face time has been found to 'negatively influence the perceived fitness of employees for specific tasks such as team leadership'. The need of managers to physically see their employees working is essentially a lack of trust in a worker's ability to get on with the job unseen. With the growth of homeworking and the extension of the right to request flexible working to all employees with 26 weeks’ service, this is a ‘perception’ that employers need to be conscious of, particularly as this may lead to unconscious bias, which in turn could lead to a further issue if it is linked to discrimination.


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