When working remotely, it is vital to ensure that your boss notices your hard work.
The nature of work has been dramatically altered by the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly when it comes to employees' desire to work from home. In fact, recent surveys suggest that roughly half of all workers say that they only want to work in jobs that offer remote work opportunities – either full-time work-at-home or a hybrid work model. If you are one of those workers or a job seeker looking for remote work, however, it is vital to understand how your career advancement might be impacted if you choose to work at home.
In this post, we will examine the risks remote work can pose to your career advancement and offer tips that can help you to be more visible as a remote worker. These tips can help you to ensure that your work does not go unnoticed by supervisors, which could damage your efforts to advance your career.
The potential risks to your career development
In addition to problems like employee burnout and mental stress, working from home can potentially stunt your career advancement as well. That point was driven home after a two-year study from Stanford professor of economics Nicholas Bloom. His research included a survey of more than 30,000 American workers and suggests that employees may find their careers stalled when they choose full-time remote work – especially if they have peers who are working on-site.
Bloom's study discovered that employees who work from home were 50 percent less likely to be promoted than their on-site coworkers. According to Bloom, his findings aligned with statements he has received from supervisors who acknowledge that work-from-home employees receive less promotion attention due to their reduced levels of office visibility. Basically, they are out of sight, and thus out of mind when it comes to advancement consideration.
Obviously, remote work's potential negative impact on career advancement should be an important consideration for any job seeker who wants to work from home. The good news is that remote work opportunities do not automatically equate to career dead ends. However, employees who want to work remotely should make sure that they only take opportunities that can still allow them to reach their career goals.
Tips for advancing your career while working from home
Employees who are looking for remote work should do everything they can to assess their opportunities for advancement in any new job. When you are applying for open positions, be sure that the company you want to work for is built to accommodate remote work. One of the biggest challenges that many new remote workers have experienced during the Covid-19 emergency has been their employers' unfamiliarity with full-time remote work.
Once you have determined that the company you want to work for values remote work, you can focus on ensuring that you remain visible to your supervisors and company leaders. The following tips can help you to lay the proper foundation for career advancement while working remotely:
1. Plan to structure your remote work
If you have an image of working from home in your pajamas, with a laptop on the couch, you might want to think again. If career advancement is really your goal, then it will be important to approach any remote job in a professional way. Set up a designated work area, free from distractions. Wear appropriate clothing – business casual is usually sufficient. Finally, be strict with your work hours, schedule and responsiveness to co-workers and supervisors.
2. Focus on being the best you can be
Since working from home can make it harder to get noticed, you may need to work even harder to ensure that your performance is at its highest level. You may be out of sight, but that does not mean that you need to be out of mind. By consistently producing awesome results, you can guarantee that supervisors recognize your excellence.
Note also that working harder should not mean working more hours, since that can quickly lead to burnout. Instead, you should focus on improving your time management, becoming even more detail-oriented, and strengthening communications with co-workers, supervisors, and clients. By being organized and focused, you can ensure that you consistently produce the excellent results you need to gain the recognition you deserve.
3. Make yourself visible
If possible, make a point of visiting the office every few weeks to be in contact with co-workers, managers, and others. If there are meetings that you can attend in person, do so. Alternatively, make sure that you are attending via Zoom or other meeting software, and be an active participant in discussions. Those connections are vitally important for establishing and maintaining your visibility.
If your company maintains active social media groups on Facebook or other sites, you may want to join those groups as well. Build those connections that you need to make yourself a visible presence in the company. By developing meaningful relationships within your company, you can also better combat the remote work isolation that often contributes to burnout.
4. Use extra time to enhance your skill set
Working from home should provide you with extra time, since you avoid commuting and other time-consuming tasks. You can use that extra time to improve your existing skills or learn new ones. If you make your skill development a priority, you can increase your value as an employee and improve your odds of advancement.
5. Document your own successes
Learn to keep score and document your achievements. You may already do that to some extent for resume enhancement purposes, of course, but those pocketed successes should also be viewed as important resources that can aid you in career advancement. Since managers struggle to track remote workers' achievements, you will need to be your own advocate. Get into the habit of tracking and sharing that progress with your supervisor on a regular basis. These tips can help get you started:
Avoid comments or language that sound self-deprecating or suggest a lack of confidence.
Learn to brag about your successes, while also recognizing others who contribute to your excellence.
Always communicate your results with other members of your remote team, as well as those who work on-site.
Find ways to get other people to talk about your positive impact on the team.
Be proactive and reach out to teammates and supervisors to ask how you can be of further assistance. When you are actively doing everything you can to support your team, you are sure to be noticed.
You should also look for opportunities to display your problem-solving skills. Managers often prioritize problem-solving when they are considering candidates for promotions or other advancement. Make sure that you are seen as a problem-solver who can always be relied upon for creative solutions to the company's challenges.
6. Speak with supervisors about your career goals
Obviously, there are no mind-reading supervisors out there. If your career goals include promotions or other forms of advancement, you will need to raise those issues with your manager. Do not wait for your supervisor to offer you a promotion. Instead, discuss your advancement goals well in advance of any offer and ask what you need to do to be eligible for a promotion.
It is important to ensure that your desire to work from home does not hinder career advancement. These tips can help you navigate remote work challenges and help you to ensure that you are more visible as a remote worker so that you remain on the company's radar for promotions and other career advancement opportunities.
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