Hybrid and Remote Work Is Creating A Zoom Ceiling

By Kirstie McDermott
15 November 2022 | 15 Shares

One thing has turned out rather nicely from the unplanned exodus to working from home that American workers experienced at the outset of the pandemic nearly three years ago. It is the fact that many employees have discovered they actually really like it, in fact, and many prefer it as a work-style over being in the office.

McKinsey’s recent American Opportunity Survey found that when people have the chance to work flexibly, 87% of them take it. Just like the 58% of Americans who now have the opportunity to work from home at least one day a week, and the 35% who are able to work from home five days a week. Only 13% of the survey’s participants said they could work remotely at least some of the time, but are choosing not to.


This shows a clear sea-change in the way we work, and as a result, new behaviors and trends are emerging. A study by Stanford of 16,000 workers over nine months found that working from home increased productivity by 13%, for example. Remote employees are happier, too. A survey from Tracking Happiness found that fully remote workers reported a happiness level roughly 20% higher than those who worked in the office 100% of the time.

But there are downsides. Less face-time with managers and leadership teams can be costly for your career progression, leading to what’s being called “the Zoom ceiling”. If you’re working remotely all or most of the time, it’s simply far too easy for managers to prioritize those with whom they have in-person interactions, or quite literally see more often.

The Zoom ceiling effect is a by-product of another workplace issue called proximity bias. This is detrimental to those who work from home because it benefits those who do go into the office, regardless of whether they are more talented, hardworking or productive.

While it can affect anyone who prefers to work remotely, because women and minorities prefer remote and hybrid models of working, they are the groups that are most at risk from the Zoom ceiling effect. It can result in being passed over for recognition, opportunities, training, and even promotions.

It’s important for your employer to take measures to get this right, because remote working isn’t going away. In fact, McKinsey’s study found that for job switchers, it is the third most important rationale in a job search after career opportunities and better pay.


If you’re looking for a new job that supports your desires to work remotely and advance your career, then we’re taking a look at three great roles below. And you can find plenty more on the TechHQ Job Board too.

Software Engineer, PayPal, San Jose

PayPal is seeking an intelligent and motivated Software Engineer to join the PayPal Blockchain, Crypto and Digital Currencies (BCDC) crypto applications team. In this role you will help build crypto trading and commerce platforms and create a more effective, inclusive, and accessible payment system, based on digital currencies and tokens. You will need hands-on development experience using Java, Spring Core and Spring Batch, an understanding of and experience with advanced object-oriented design and development principles, as well as good analytical and problem solving skills. Experience applying software design patterns, data structures, and algorithms is also required. Apply now.

iOS Software Engineer, Apple, Cupertino

In Apple’s Wireless Software group, the iOS Software Engineer will be responsible for bringing groundbreaking wireless connectivity to the world through WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, and more. You’ll design, develop, and patent the next generation of state-of-the art connectivity technologies, collaborating across departments to help craft wireless solutions that elevate the customer experience with Apple products and services. If you’re passionate about technology, and have strong experience writing C++ code in a POSIX environment, a proven understanding of multi-threaded programming and synchronization, plus broad experience in overall system design and implementation, this could be the perfect role for you. Get the full job description.

Security Engineer, Salesforce, Atlanta

Salesforce is seeking a Security Engineer with a passion for information security, to join the security detection and response organization in one of its US locations. You will be responsible for analyzing response to events and incidents across a large and complex environment in order to identify and fix security gaps and vulnerabilities before they further impact performance. You’ll need a strong focus on security expertise, technical influence, proven experience with automation, as well as large-scale/distributed production engineering experience. Acute attention to detail, a logical approach to analysis, and a passion for problem solving, especially through automation, are also needed. Find out more now.

Inspired to look for a new job? There are thousands of other jobs over on the TechHQ Job Board awaiting your application