If you work from home, you may have many advantages but also some drawbacks. Even if you are the best at your job, lack of opportunity to interact with managers and colleagues might take away your ability to be considered for promotions or interesting assignments. How do you stay relevant when your boss doesn’t see you every day?
Do you have a job that allows you to work from home? Are you working at a remote location away from your company’s headquarters? Or, is your immediate supervisor located in a different city?
It may be great to work from home, avoid the commute, blend job duties with household chores (put in a load of laundry before joining that conference call) or be away from the grind of a frenzied headquarter site.
Unfortunately, there are some significant downsides to being a remote worker that researchers say can impact morale which then hurts your performance and the kind of assignments your boss provides. If these are not handled right, it can impact your advancement and overall career growth.
There are some key steps for you to take to make sure that your working remotely is a big success for your current role and your overall career success.
- Communicate more often than expected. Of course you are attending team calls each weak but do you speak up on each call? Do you offer a real update or is it your tendency to simply say, “everything is going fine, nothing new here.” That maybe a quick way to get through the call but you’ll want to be more specific. Beyond those expected calls, you will need to find a way to update your supervisor with a weekly summary email and establish a regular monthly (at least) 1 to 1 video call to check in and ask for feedback. Emphasis on “video”–its your best option to an in person meeting.
- Leverage each conference call to showcase your best. Your employer may use Skype for Business, Zoom, BlueJeans, JoinMe, or WebEx. Each of the links in that sentence is pointing to the help sites for these applications. If you are in doubt about how to share screens, turn on or off your camera or mute yourself–read the guides and understand those features! Quick! And, set up your office background so that when you are on camera your environment looks and is all about business. A pile of laundry in the background, cluttered piles of paper, or a TV playing in the background is a distraction from you, your skills set and your message. Don’t detract from your performance by making any of the 11 mistakes for handling video conference calls!
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3. Make sure your executive presence comes through on calls. Research has found that executive presence is about 3 key ingredients: Gravitas, Communication, and Appearance. This must be part of your personal brand is a 24/7 endeavor. It is easy to get caught up in your work routine and accept a call when you probably should not. Many of us are forced to take calls when you are rushing to the airport or picking up kids from school or in the middle of the night for a global team call. Don’t do any of these if you truly cannot manage the impression you will create for your boss. Your dedication to the job can quickly get sidelined if that call makes it seem you lack focus, judgement, or commitment.
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