Staying Relevant When Working Remotely
By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor
A lot has changed in our work lives since the start of the pandemic and while some workers have gone back to the office, remote or at least hybrid work environments are likely here to stay. The impact of not working alongside our fellow employees however, can include communication issues and the risk of being “out of sight and “out of mind”. Staying relevant and seen is vital. The following strategies will help you avoid “proximity bias”, protect your job and promote your success when working offsite.
Add value – Your ability to show important contributions to the company is even more important if you’re a remote or hybrid worker. When you achieve success and make a difference you will earn attention. Make sure you are volunteering for new projects or taking on challenges that provide you with visibility.
Highlight your contributions – When you work remotely you need to paint a picture of the efforts that others simply cannot see. Start by having clear goals so you can showcase your progress and commitment. Communicate often to put a spotlight on important topics others should know about and include updates in weekly or monthly meetings with your boss.
Be an active meeting participant – Meetings have even greater significance in today’s business landscape. For most organizations, meetings are the primary channel of team interaction and it’s necessary that remote workers speak up and be heard. Start by carefully preparing for meetings by studying the agenda to determine what you can contribute. Prepare your comments and think about thoughtful questions. Your participation will remind others of your vital role.
Strengthen social connections – Successful remote and hybrid workers personally take on the responsibility of relationship building. Be proactive in scheduling calls and meetings with others, provide project updates, offer your assistance, and be generous with your praise. These actions can strengthen social connections and keep you visible to others.
Hone your technology skills - It is mandatory for anyone who wants to gain respect and value as a remote worker to be proficient with digital tools required for communication and teamwork.
Make sure you have a consistently strong Wi-Fi signal at home and be thoroughly skilled with the program you use to coordinate group exchanges (Slack, Zoom, Microsoft Teams). Poor technology should never be an excuse for virtual employees.
Be available and accessible – Remote workers need to “there” for impromptu meetings, urgent questions, or to address time sensitive issues. During reasonable working hours you need to ensure you are available and accessible so no one is waiting on your response and wondering where you are.
By practicing these core strategies, remote or hybrid workers can combat proximity bias and ensure they are continuing to advance their career.