Half of professionals believe working from home has negatively impacted their careers


Professionals report that working from home has reduced internal and external networking opportunities and harmed their career progress, according to a new survey.

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In recent months, many companies have adopted remote work policies due to the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, employees around the globe have transitioned from the traditional office to the virtual workspace. During this time, in-person meetings have transformed into blocks of Zoom meetings leading to a new type of burnout altogether. A recent informal survey on Blind, a popular anonymous network for professionals, details employee sentiment regarding working from home and perceived effects on their long-term career progression.

Last week, a Blind user created a survey posing a series of questions related to the perceived professional impact of remote work and reduced networking opportunities. The survey ran from Sept. 14 through Sept. 17 and garnered more than 1,600 responses. Overall, 53% of professionals believed the shift to remote work had negatively impacted their careers.

“In all transparency, the work from home phenomena has had a higher negative impact on career progression because we don’t have the same ability to build relationships AND management is not making a lot of changes to org structure (unless it’s to let people go) because there’s so much uncertainty about the future,” said Amy Sanchez, executive career and leadership coach with Swim Against the Current, via email.

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As part of Blind’s networking format, users are also able to list where they are employed. This allows data to be aggregated to detail correlations across companies and industries. That said, 77% of Intuit respondents and 69% of Google employees believed their careers had been negatively impacted by the switch to telecommuting. Conversely, 85% of Salesforce employees and 62% of professionals at Intel believed their career progression had not been impacted by remote work.

Professionals also feel as though external networking opportunities had decreased during this time period, according to the survey. Three-quarters of respondents said they were “not been able to network outside of their company since work from home began.” Nearly nine-in-10 LinkedIn employees and 81% of professionals at Amazon said they were unable to network externally.

“It’s harder to build personal connections when we’re not in-person with people and personal connections are a key input to getting promoted. So we’re still trying to adjust to this new environment and finding ways to replace what worked before with new methodologies. This will take time to develop but the good news is, since everyone is remote, it’s a level playing field.  No one has the in-person relationship-building advantage,” Sanchez said.

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The survey also asked a question pertaining to professionals’ ability to network internally since the transition to remote work. Nearly three-quarters of respondents said they have been unable to internally network during this time. On a more granular level, 82% of Apple employees and 89% of Abode respondents said they were unable to network internally since the shift to remote work.

While the findings predominantly highlight the drawbacks associated with remote work, Sanchez notes that there could be long-term professional advantages for some telecommuters.

“For those who prefer the flexibility of working from home, this experience has been a positive one in helping them manage their day and finding time to recharge. In turn, this has positively impacted their mood and provided additional motivation leading to higher productivity. This has created helpful impact on their career and the way they are perceived by management,” Sanchez said.

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