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Hybrid work offers employees flexibility, but they run the risk of losing out to those who are in the office full time. Unified communications tools can help close the gap.

Many companies have come to learn that a hybrid workplace strategy that enables employees to choose when they work in an office or from home can be both a blessing and a curse. Although employees may appreciate the flexibility and quality-of-life improvements hybrid work provides, they may also feel burdened by it.

In particular, some employees end up feeling they’re dividing their time between office and home not based on their own needs and preferences, but rather on those of their managers and colleagues. If they don’t show face when others do, they’ll lose their voice in collaborative meetings and risk the chance their input is treated less seriously than that of team members who are physically present.

Indeed, fending off proximity bias in the workplace is one of the biggest challenges leaders face when overseeing a hybrid workplace. Enabling a culture where remote workers are made to feel less committed than their in-office counterparts can quickly lead to a toxic environment, rather than an environment meant to be open and embracing of work-life balance.

Unified communications (UC) and collaboration tools, such as team chat and video meeting software, are essential components of today’s hybrid work paradigm. They are now evolving to break down the barriers between in-office and at-home employees. Companies would do well to explore how they can take advantage.

Here are five ways to use UC and collaboration tools to reduce proximity bias in the workplace.

1. Support spontaneous brainstorming among disparate team members

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