Why Showing Value is Important for Remote Workers
While the phrase “go above and beyond” is not a new concept, its meaning is as relevant as ever for today’s workforce. To stay visible and grow in your career, you can’t just show up, do your work and leave; you need to continuously demonstrate value to your team and organization. In addition to helping you pursue your goals, actively striving to show your worth can benefit you during good times, like opportunities for advancement, and bad times, like downsizings.
However, if you’re a remote worker, it can be difficult to get noticed. Because you aren’t physically in the same space as your team or leadership, you’ll need to take a more targeted approach to demonstrate your contributions and achievements.
Evaluating misconceptions about remote work and productivity
Remote work adoption is growing more and more common, particularly since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, some misconceptions about the work-from-home environment remain. Employers may be hesitant to adopt a remote work strategy due to concerns about diminished productivity and increased distractions compared to an in-office environment.
But data suggests the opposite. In a Mercer survey of employers who went remote due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 94 percent of employers said productivity remained the same or increased after going remote. A 2020 Statista report also found that over 50 percent of employers indicated increased productivity as the main benefit of remote work.
As this data indicates, remote work can actually boost productivity, rather than reduce it. When offered the flexibility needed to balance priorities outside of work, employees can avoid burnout and tackle their work tasks with more focus and motivation. However, remote workers should still be cognizant of employers’ potential concerns regarding remote work and how to dispel them. Even small things, like maintaining a professional appearance and neat workspace when on video calls, using quality audio equipment and making sure you’re reachable during assigned working hours will help maintain positive optics.
Why it’s harder for remote workers to stand out
Remote workers often feel the impacts of being “out of sight, out of mind,” as they have less face-to-face time with their team and leadership than they would in a typical office environment. As a result, it’s easier for communication roadblocks to occur and for recognition of milestones and achievements to slip through the cracks. This lack of visibility can make it difficult for remote workers to stay on the radar when new projects and opportunities arise.
As a remote worker, how do you know it’s the right time to advance?
Despite these challenges, being a remote worker is not a barrier to entry for advancement. If you are a remote worker pursuing a promotion, asking yourself a few questions will help you plan how to proceed.
Once you have these answers in place, you’re ready to build a strategy.
How to Stand Out as a Remote Worker
Whether your goal is to increase your visibility among leadership or to go after your dream promotion, these strategies will help you get noticed – and promoted – while working remotely.
Step 1: Seek out greater responsibility
How to do it:
- Keep your plate full by asking for new projects and tasks. Staying busy will help diminish concerns about remote work productivity and prove your reliability and work ethic.
- Offer to help your manager with projects when their workload is high. This demonstrates a commitment to growing your responsibilities at a higher level.
- Incorporate new programs, tools and strategies whenever possible. Stepping out of your comfort zone to try new things will signal your drive and innovative spirit to leadership.
Step 2: Identify what matters most to your organization and use it to your advantage
How to do it:
- Look at your company goals, objectives, and/or mission statement and use that information to determine the top priorities for your organization. Whether it’s ROI, customer satisfaction, quantitative or qualitative results, plan how to showcase your accomplishments specific to those areas.
- Prioritize internal networking to get a well-rounded picture of your organization’s priorities. Anything from a virtual lunch-and-learn to a quick message on LinkedIn will help you see the bigger picture, even in a remote environment.
Step 3: Become a master communicator
How to do it:
- Make the most of meetings by sending pre-meeting agendas and post-meeting recaps, and remember to bring suggestions and ideas to your team and leadership instead of taking a backseat. Active participation in meetings will go a long way in helping you get noticed in a virtual environment.
- Provide regular updates and check-ins on the status of deliverables. This will eliminate roadblocks and ensure you and your team are aligned, as well as demonstrate your ability to stay on-task and meet deadlines.
- Proactively seek and implement feedback. Leadership will notice, and appreciate, when you make concerted efforts to improve.
- Practice the art of “packaging up” projects to showcase significant initiatives from conception to completion. Whether it’s a slide deck or a one-page recap, having summarizing material will help close the loop on projects, determine organizational priorities and act as a roadmap to guide future team strategy.
Step 4: Focus on continuous learning
How to do it:
- Use your network and connections to find webinars or trainings that are relevant to your field.
- Openly discuss career goals with your manager to identify key areas for growth and learning.
- Target your learning toward skills or topics that would be of value in a promoted role and find ways to mention that work in conversations with your manager. Most managers want to see that you can, or in many cases, are already doing the role before you’re actually promoted.
Step 5: Track your progress and achievements
How to do it:
- Keep a running document or folder with positive customer feedback, quantifiable results of projects or tasks, demonstrated progress learning new programs or software, and other measurable improvements.
- You can then use that material as a reference during interviews, meetings, goal-setting discussions and more.
While it requires a proactive, strategic approach, standing out in a virtual workforce is possible. With these tips in hand, remote workers can feel empowered to show their value and go after their career goals.
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