Working remotely has it perks, but it’s also easy to be forgotten. While telecommuting has become an accepted practice for all size companies, moving up when you work from home can sometimes be harder to do. After all, remote workers have to be self-promoters if they want to get ahead when they aren’t in the office on a daily basis.
“There is one attribute that is most important to maintain a successful long-distance working relationship, and that’s being proactive,” says Becky Karsh, executive director of partnerships for Fullbridge, the company that trains students for professional jobs. “It’s important to stay in front of everyone when you work remotely.”
Rewind even a few years and studies showed workers who telecommuted were less likely to get a promotion compared to those who were in the office every day. While that may be the case with some companies even today, it doesn’t have to be your outcome, granted you put in the extra work.
Use Technology To Your Advantage
Thanks to advances in technology, people can be in far flung corners of the world and still work together. But that same technology can also be harmful because it reduces the need for personal communications. When you work remotely, it’s easy to hide behind the technology to avoid in- person conversations, but that won’t get you promoted. But leveraging technology to build and maintain relationships will. One of the best ways to prevent yourself from being forgotten and to stay front and center in your boss’ mind is to use technology to keep in touch. Email may be the preferred method of communications in your company, but you should also try to get some in-person time via phone or video conferencing. “Pick up the phone every so often to discuss a project, rather than relying on a long email thread,” says Amanda Augustine, a career management expert. “If your colleagues are having a meeting at the office, ask to be dialed in so you can actively participate.” Utilizing things like Skype for video conferencing can go a long way in building and maintaining a good relationship with a remote boss. If you can swing it showing your face in the office every now and then will also help you take a pulse of the environment and make sure your boss doesn’t forget about you.
Remote Workers Have To Give 100% And Then Some
Moving up in an organization when you work remotely is going to require hard work and the ability to go the extra mile. Rightly or wrongly, remote workers are at a disadvantage and as a result can’t take it easy because the boss isn’t around. Companies new to the work-at-home culture are going to be skeptical and almost expect you to slack off. But doing the opposite will get you recognition and keep you in your boss’ mind in a positive way. “Avoid slacking off. Your boss will know,” says Karsh. “Just because you don’t work in the same place as your boss, it’s important to keep up your hard work and dedication. Your teammates will notice, your coworkers will notice, and your boss will definitely notice.”
Sell Yourself Everyday
Remote workers have to be a salesman of sorts when trying to move up in a company they have never physically visited. That means being proactive in how you communicate with your boss, even if your job doesn’t require you talk to your hiring manager that often. That can be achieved by setting up weekly phone calls or instant messaging sessions where you can check in. It’s also important to send weekly updates, include your boss on relevant emails and keep him or her abreast on what you are doing. Getting in front of the communications will not only demonstrate your commitment but prove your mettle as a remote employee. Often being proactive can lead to a relationship based on trust, when your boss knows you can be counted on and that you’re working hard without having to be micro managed. “Demonstrate your commitment and dedication to the job on a daily basis. This means not only delivering above-average and quality work, but showing that you’re connected and available when your boss needs you,” says Augustine. “Be cognizant of how long it takes you to respond to emails and complete your projects during your established working hours.” If you answer your boss’ email quickly and outperform you are going to become an indispensable resource regardless of where you are located.