Working from home has its perks. You can roll out of bed and hop onto a Zoom call within minutes. You can spend your lunch break catching up on Netflix, or household chores.
But as millions of Americans are suddenly figuring out, remote work also brings complications.
It’s hard to build your influence within your team and organization without a physical meeting space. Collaborating with coworkers, and keeping your manager abreast on what you’re accomplishing day-in and day-out, is much more complicated these days.
For some people, that makes it easier to fly under the radar. For others, dissolving the barrier between work life and home life makes it impossible to switch between the two — they’re never NOT working.
So how do you find the line? How can you get your boss to recognize that you’re a superstar employee when they don’t ever see you face-to-face? How can you prove you’re staying productive, and on top of things from a distance, without sacrificing your sanity?
Here are some tips.
Set some goals
As a career coach, it always astounds me how few people have professional goals that they’re actively working towards. If you can’t tie your personal goals to your company’s, how can you prove your value? Or measure your progress?
Talk to your manager, and get a good understanding of their priorities for you, your team, and your company's overall vision. This will help you get organized and set your own priorities while working remotely.
Tie specific outcomes to those goals, so you’re focused on effectiveness rather than tasks. And don’t let your personal goals take a backseat. Do you want to get promoted? Or lead a team, a new project, or initiative? Let your boss know!
In an office setting, it’s easy to drop by your manager’s desk with an update, or schedule a quick coffee chat. It takes more intentionality to get on your boss’s radar now, and to keep them abreast on your projects (especially if you’re hoping for a promotion or raise).
Perception is really important here, so set up regular check-ins that allow you to have a dedicated time to connect with your managers and get their feedback. Working remotely makes it easy to go about your day without talking to your boss, especially when there’s no immediate or critical deadline you’re working towards. But don’t retreat. Keep the communication flowing.
Maintain relationships with your coworkers
Being a highly performing employee isn’t just about productivity, it’s also about building relationships.
Which team members do you need to communicate with on a regular basis? Identifying those key players, and creating a video chat and email cadence will help alleviate any potential workflow disruptions.
It’s also good to take time out of your day to just check in with coworkers and show that you care. Ask how they’re doing, how they’re adjusting and what they’re struggling with — inside and outside the confines of their job.
Check in with yourself, too
Self care is more important than ever right now — we’re working through a pandemic, after all. So be mindful of your emotional well being.
Create a schedule with regular breaks penciled in, and try to step away from work during lunch. If you can, get outside at least once during the day — fresh air alleviates stress, and can stop you from working yourself into a rut.
If you’re stressed out about keeping your boss convinced of your productivity, create a “brag sheet” detailing your work, progress updates, challenges and solutions. This will come in handy when you have one-on-ones with leadership, and it’s a great reminder to yourself that you’re staying on top of things while working from home.
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