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As more companies push for the physical return of employees in the office, many of us still work remotely, at least part-time. Working in isolation can make it difficult to fit into a company and move up the ranks. It’s more difficult to stay top of mind, and this can result in proximity bias when it comes to career advancement and securing that promotion. This means you must be proactive in order to ensure your professional development is not stalled due to the work-from-home or hybrid arrangement. Here are five strategies for staying visible.
1. Do not ever give up the office entirely
Your company may not require you to come into the office, but that does not mean you should not come in at all. Find reasons for your superiors and colleagues to see your face. Schedule a standing monthly meeting in person with your boss or a lunch date with co-workers. You can also just pick a day once or twice a month to simply go into the office and work there instead of in your home office. This will prevent people from forgetting about you and keep you in the loop on any goings on with your department and company that may not be relayed by way of a formal announcement. It will keep you current with office news.
Post Covid-19, some companies have given up their physical offices altogether. If you don’t have an office, be proactive and set up a meet-up with coworkers who live nearby. The meet-up could be over a meal, or perhaps an activity together such as a morning volunteering with a local organization.
2. Update your superiors
It is crucial that you have regular remote status meetings with your superiors. If this is not something your boss sets up on their own with you as a remote employee, you should take the initiative to set this up on your own. It does not have to be long or involved, but you must have virtual facetime to share your progress on your projects, inquire about any plum assignments or projects that you may want to advocate for and remind your boss of your accomplishments. Additionally, make sure you are documenting your achievements for that end-of-the-year review. Do not assume your boss will remember all your successes regarding raises and promotions.
3. Take advantage of opportunities in virtual meetings
If you are remote, you no longer have those happenstance “water cooler” conversations. Make sure you are signing on to virtual team meetings early so that as people log on, you can have a bit of small talk with your colleagues about non-work-related topics. If possible, ask if anyone can stay on at the end of the meeting to chat with you. Ask for advice or input on a project you are working on at the time. This can help you with innovative ideas and solutions and has the additional benefit of making others feel needed and included by asking for their advice.
4. Create your own connection opportunities
If you are local but still a remote employee, ask one of your colleagues to have lunch or breakfast in person. Think about having a group event at your home to help you stay connected to your co-workers. If you are geographically far from the physical office in another part of the country, schedule a virtual one-on-one once a week with someone in your department or a different department to continue to grow your intracompany network. Additionally, if you are traveling and will be close to a physical office of your company, use it as an opportunity to schedule an in-person meeting.
5. Advocate for in-person professional development
It is crucial to your professional development to stay abreast of innovations in your industry. While there are still opportunities for webinars and conferences online, you should negotiate one or two in-person conferences to attend each year to stay current and stay connected. Negotiating one or two industry-related organizations to join is a great idea as well. Even if you work from home, it is helpful to have a monthly in-person event where you see industry colleagues. These types of professional development gatherings are likely where your next opportunity will stem from a new client, vendor, speaking gig or even a new job altogether.
With the changing professional climate post-pandemic, you will have to be more creative and deliberate about advancing your own career. Make sure you use these strategies to stay top of mind and ask for opportunities to grow and connect, rather than waiting for those opportunities to come to you.