Many of us either work from home on a regular basis or are working from home temporarily. Regardless of which group you fall into, it’s important to be connected at work so that you are moving forward professionally. Try out these tips for getting ahead at work if you’re a remote employee:
- Find the best communication method: This will vary from person to person or even from team to team. It may be helpful to ask your boss or co-workers which communication method they prefer. Knowing this information will help you communicate with them in a way that fits into their style and does not disrupt their day. For example, your boss may not appreciate getting text messages for urgent needs; she may prefer an email as they check it so frequently anyway. If you texted, it may annoy them which doesn’t give you any brownie points. But once you know they prefer email, you email and keep in their good graces!
- Check in frequently: It’s easy for your manager to think you’re not working if she isn’t hearing from you. If you are working from home, it’s easy for your manager to have this image of you doing your laundry, sleeping in, taking a long lunch. Be cognizant of how and when you are interacting to paint a picture of how invested you are in your work. For example, if you start working at 8 a.m. but you generally start by making a list, consider sending a couple emails to timestamp your start time and then make your list for the day. You may have extra time in the day to get the dishes done or get a workout in, which is great. Just make sure you’re available when your boss normally calls and you’re getting your job done.
- Use Your Calendar! In many companies, when someone searches for you in the calendar function, it will show if you are busy or in some cases, it will show the appointments you put on your calendar. Your calendar is a great way to stay focused and on task and also a passive way to show your dedication to what you do. You may not have as many meetings working remotely, but you can still block off time for projects, tasks, etc. Check out some tips for making a super effective calendar HERE.
- Express interest in company dealings– what’s going on in the company that’s not in your function? Moving forward at work many times requires cross-functional experience or additional education. By volunteering for projects, learning more about other departments and the company in general, you will be educated to have higher level conversations that could lead to promotion. This can also help you stay connected, build your network and show you are invested in the culture.
- Say Yes: to special projects or cross-departmental assignments. It might mean more work for a period of time but it allows other supervisors to get to know you and see what you can do. These teams also help you develop your ability to see the bigger picture, a skill bosses look for in candidates they want to promote. You may find a new mentor or advocate on the special project. Volunteering also shows you are a “team player.”
- Find a Mentor: While it may feel like new territory to you, whatever you’re going through, it is likely someone has been through it before. Reach out and find someone you can be honest with about your thoughts and concerns. This may be someone outside the company, in another department or even in your own area. Check out our article on Finding Your Tribe to know what to look for in a mentor! It’s important to remember that you are never too old or in too high of a position to need a mentor. We all can benefit from each other’s experiences and having a sounding board.
We can’t wait to hear how you excel at work using these tips! Have another one based on your remote experience? We’d love to hear it in the comments!