Working remotely has traditionally held a bad reputation; however, as more companies adopt work-from-home policies, there has been a positive shift with several benefits like better work-life balance, lower emissions and higher productivity. However, there’s one thread dangling in the equation. Inequity in promotion between remote and in-person workers is a problem that is yet to be rectified. It had existed well before the pandemic forced many people into work-from-home situations across the world. As the saying goes, ‘out of sight, out of mind’, can be rightly used in this context.
Researchers from the Stanford Graduate School of Business conducted a study in 2015 in China. They found that while people working from home proved to be more productive – 13% more, to be exact – they were not rewarded with promotions at nearly the same rate as their in-office colleagues.
While it may seem like an arduous task to stand out within your organization, especially while working remotely, there are several ways to set yourself apart to be heard and seen beyond emails and routine phone calls.
1. Research And Pitch Innovative Ideas And Projects
Go the extra mile and find possible solutions to existing problems before the problem gets blown out of proportion; the key is always to be proactive rather than reactive. Do not be afraid to speak up. Suggest new projects, offer new ideas. Try to allot one hour every day to research to come up with improvements to improver routine tasks. This is the perfect opportunity to put in the work and demonstrate your value to your manager or team lead by going beyond your everyday tasks and adding value to the company. “Show you’re not just thinking about your position but the company’s performance as a whole,” says Zach Cusimano, COO at mobile application maker Bizness Apps. “If you see a process that could be improved, let someone know. Managers love to see critical thinking.”
2. Act And Dress Professionally
With Zoom calls leading the way for remote working, it is imperative always to dress the way you would at the office, especially if the visual component of the call is on. While this gives viewers the impression that you are well dressed and ready for work, it also has several benefits linked to productivity. Research by Joy V. Peluchette and Katherine Karl found, “Respondents felt most authoritative, trustworthy, and competent when wearing formal business attire, but friendliest when wearing casual or business casual attire.”
Important reminder: Be on time every day and always meet deadlines. Working from another location can not be an excuse for missed deadlines or tardiness; instead, it should reflect your efficiency and good time management skills.
3. Communicate Effectively
This point has been repeated consistently in every remote working brief, but it is of utmost importance. Always list down the day’s tasks before you begin and work towards completing everything on the list to the best of your abilities. If your colleague hasn’t given you an update about a particular task that had to be completed that day, get in touch with them, call them if necessary, strengthen your follow-up game and constantly be updated with all the projects you are currently handling. If you are working on a specific project, always send reminders at the start of the day to every person involved, so everyone is up-to-date on the progress and the tasks to be completed for the particular day.
Every bit of communication with your colleagues is a golden ticket to develop your work relationships with them. Engage in small talk, learn about their kids, their family life, how they are dealing with the pandemic; the more comfortable you get with them, the more they will respect and enjoy working with you.
4. Always Be Ready And Organized
Organize your work. Have everything ready in folders and share access with everyone in the organization; that if you are asked for something at any point in time, it will be readily available to you or your colleague working with a 6-hour time difference.
Have a plan for every task. Write down agendas for every meeting with no time to spare. Be absolutely certain that you have a solid internet connection that will work well during that important presentation or meeting without buffering during crucial points.
As Kyle Wong, CEO and Co-Founder of Pixlee, said, “Organizations place a premium on individuals who follow through on tasks. If you can prove that you can consistently own projects from start to finish, you will not only get promoted, but you’ll also make yourself indispensable.”
Working remotely may require additional effort to demonstrate that you are an active component of the organization. An important point to keep in mind: never let the quality of your work deviate; as Vik Patel, CEO of Future Hosting, said, “Competence, diligence, intelligence, loyalty—these all matter, but what matters most is the inherent will to do the best work possible. The work is what matters, and employees who take it personally, who own their work as a reflection of their values and take pride in doing good work, are the employees I trust with positions of responsibility.”