Six tips to advance your career if you’re a remote worker
Your office is a cozy corner of your living room with a great view of the park next door. Your favorite music is always playing in the background. And you share your office with your loveable five-year-old Labradoodle.
Working from home can be a great way to maintain a good work-life balance. You don’t have to commute. You have more flexibility. And you feel less stressed than you did in the office.
But you’re also worried that this is it—that because your supervisor doesn’t actually see how hard you work every day, you won’t be considered for promotion.
If this sounds familiar, then you’re not alone. According to Globalworkplaceanalytics.com, 20 to 25 percent of U.S. workers are working remotely some or all of the time. And many of them share your concerns in terms of advancing their careers. Fortunately, you can take action to position yourself for career advancement. Keep the following tips in mind:
- Be awesome at your job. This is true whether you’re a remote worker or not. However, when you’re not in the office every day, it’s more important to let your work speak for itself. By consistently performing at a high level, your co-workers and supervisor will start to associate your name with outstanding work.
- Keep office hours. If you work in an office, you can’t just take a break and walk down to your local coffee shop when you’re having trouble concentrating. (Or when it’s gorgeous weather out!) When you work from home, however, there’s nothing stopping you—except common sense. Think about it: if a coworker needs some reference material from you and you don’t respond till after six p.m., that can create friction. Similarly, if your manager wants to discuss something with you, it’s best if you’re available immediately. Keeping office hours, even when it’s not officially required, facilitates communication and teamwork.
- Be visible. In addition to getting your work noticed, it’s important that you get noticed. If you live relatively close to the office, make a point of going onsite once a month or so to connect with your co-workers and supervisor. Try to be there for important planning meetings. Participate in after-work activities such as office dinners, Friday cocktails with the team, or company volunteer endeavors. If you live too far away to go onsite, then look for alternatives, such as participating in meetings via Skype; using chat software to interact during work hours; and joining any online office groups like a Facebook group or a virtual talent community.
- Volunteer for special projects. As Wayne Turmel points out in his CBS News article “Work From Home and Get Ahead? Yes! Here’s How,” it’s a good idea to volunteer for any projects that can be managed remotely. Especially if they’re high profile or cross-functional, this can greatly enhance your visibility in your own department and beyond.
- Build your professional reputation online. One of the best things about not commuting to the office is that you have more time to do other things. If you want to advance your career, then it’s advisable to build your expertise in your industry, not just in your company. Join relevant LinkedIn groups, and participate in online discussions. Start a blog about your professional specialty, and volunteer to contribute to other people’s blogs, as well as trade publications. The more you’re known for subject matter expertise that relates to your job, the more valuable you are to your employer, and the greater your chances of advancement.
- Talk to your supervisor about advancement opportunities. It’s important that your supervisor is aware you want to advance. Discuss your plans, and find out from him or her what else you need to do to be eligible for a promotion.
Advancing your career might be more of a challenge if you’re a remote worker, but it’s absolutely possible. Keep these six tips in mind, and you’ll find you’re becoming a more valuable employee.