Being in the right place at the right time can lead to some unexpected career advancing moments. You might be making a coffee at the same time as your boss in the office kitchen, which leads to being asked to take on a new project. Or, if you work alongside your manager and they take note of your hard work, it can really help when it comes to promotions and pay rises.
When you’re working from home, however, it can be easy to miss out on these opportunities. Although remote working can come with a huge number of benefits, working from home can feel like working in a void. So how can you get yourself noticed, without being physically in the office?
“Without a traditional work environment, employees are missing regular interactions with colleagues which can stifle the chance to highlight their work, work-ethic and importance within an organisation,” says Emma-Louise O’Brien, a career coach for .
“Even water-cooler moments, which may seem trivial, actually present the opportunity for employees to demonstrate their value and strengthen relationships – without them, they may feel unnoticed for their contributions.”
That being said, out of sight doesn’t necessarily mean out of mind. Although it might be more challenging to boost your visibility while working from home, being proactive can help increase your chances of gaining recognition – leading to more opportunities for professional development.
According to a survey of remote workers and managers by , only 38% of employees have gone out of their way to be noticed while working from home and women were twice as likely to feel invisible. However, the research suggests that having a “visibility strategy” pays off, with 93% of managers had a “favourable impression” of employees who made an effort to stand out while working remotely.
Increase your interactions with people
Being more visible relies on you pushing yourself to increase interactions with those outside of your direct team. “The more people and tasks you support, the more likely you are to open up opportunities for yourself,” O’Brien says.
“On top of this, share your career plans with your line manager, volunteer for projects, request additional responsibilities and actively highlight your desire to progress within the company.”
Opportunities are often attached to people, so it’s important not to let them slip because of reduced face-to-face interaction. “Ensuring you take extra steps to communicate will help to raise your profile and build relationships among the right stakeholders,” she adds. “Accordingly, make time to speak with others virtually – even if it’s not a scheduled call, a five-minute chat at the end of a meeting will show that you’re making a conscious effort to get involved.”
It’s also key to remember that though preferences for video calls have increased during lockdown, nobody wants endless Zoom calls. Therefore, it’s important to interact with others in a way that’s agreeable to them, through zoom, phone or email, to build relationships.
Organise your day
Demonstrating that you’re capable of working productively is essential to increase your scope for recognition. As many of us know, though, working from home can lead to distractions so managing your time effectively is imperative to your success.
“Adjusting simple routines, for example, taking solid lunch breaks, going on a ‘fake commute’ to organise thoughts before work or even planning intervals between screen time, help you to develop organised habits that structure your day and increase productivity,” says O’Brien. “They also demonstrate that you’re accountable for your own wellbeing and efficiency whilst out of the traditional work environment.”
Make time to socialise
Without the chance for regular social catchups when working from home, it can be easy to focus solely on work. However, social interactions are essential for strengthening connections and opening up new opportunities. More often than not, it is those coffee runs and after-work pub drinks where personal friendships are formed that can lead to progression at work.
“To get around this, it’s important to plan communications with colleagues that aren’t based around work. Organising a virtual lunch, for example, or engaging in extracurricular activities planned by your company help you to establish yourself as part of the team on a human level,” O’Brien says.
“Understanding your value in the workplace is about recognising the role you play, the skills you have and how this fits into the broader objectives of the business,” she adds. “Appreciating this also highlights any gaps in your capabilities that can be improved. It’s key to recognise your worth but also to show understanding that you are keen to grow.”