It is still not clear exactly what our workplaces will look like after COVID-19. Recent polls show that the majority of executives believe it is important for corporate culture to have staff in the workplace at least part of the time. Employees seem a little less eager to return to their offices. In a PwC study from January this year, more than 50% of teleworkers surveyed said they would like to work remotely three or more days a week. A smaller number, around 20%, would like to work remotely full time.
While there are obvious advantages to working remotely, such as savings in travel time, office expenses, and convenience, there are potential drawbacks. A major concern is that remote workers will not be able to develop the same connection with their coworkers and management team that they might have in a traditional office. Without the possibility of discussing and seeing each other in the corridors, will teleworkers feel isolated from their colleagues and their organization?
Then there is the question of advancement and promotion. How do teleworkers compete for opportunities with employees able to interact regularly with their managers and colleagues? The good news is that there are strategies emotionally intelligent telecommuters can use to not blend in and make sure they aren’t overlooked when it comes to promotion.
Frequent communication is important in any organization and crucial for remote workers. Make sure your managers and colleagues hear from you often. If you are wondering whether a document or instructions should be sent or not, give preference to sending. Not having the opportunity to physically interact with your colleagues and managers will put you at a disadvantage if you allow yourself to be silent. Ask questions if you are not sure what to do or if you are looking for help. Make sure everyone knows you are engaged. Failure to do so can raise questions about how you spend your time.
Proactively update leaders
When it comes to progress reports, get proactive. Don’t wait for management to ask you about your progress. Even if it’s just a line or two, let those you work with know what you’ve accomplished at the end of the day; outline what you plan to tackle tomorrow. Keeping everyone in the know makes you feel like you are involved and motivated. Don’t feel like a plague or a burden. It’s up to management to let you know that they don’t need to hear from you as much.
Show that you are listening
One of the difficulties with video meetings is not being able to use body language to determine how others are feeling. Making a special effort to hear what the speaker is saying and relaying the message you have heard is one way of letting them know they have been heard. Avoid looking down or away from the screen, as this makes it seem like you are not paying attention to what is being said. Avoid multitasking and give your full attention to the issue at hand.
Keep looking professional
It can be easy to stay in your pajamas or put on sweatpants when working from home, but wearing business-quality clothes to video meetings will pay off in the long run. Also keep your professional background. Family photos and awards for volunteering or other accomplishments look great in the background; leftovers from yesterday’s party don’t. Participants will notice your clothes and background, and make judgments about them. You want these judgments to be positive.
Check in and have an informal chat
While there are different expectations from your organization on how to conduct meetings, take advantage of opportunities to share how you are doing and make time for an informal conversation, if possible. This allows people to relax and make a connection before they get into the heart of the meeting. It can also help make up for lost little conversations in office elevators or the kitchen.
Get back to people quickly
When you receive emails, Slacks, or phone calls during your working hours, resend them ASAP. If you’re busy and a response requires more time than you have right now, send the person a quick response that says you’re in the middle of something and you will get back to them as soon as you have it. finished ; if not before a certain time, indicate an approximate time frame. Working remotely makes it difficult for managers or co-workers to know how busy you are right now, and long delays in your response can be interpreted as too many non-work-related distractions.
Find connection opportunities
Find smart ways to add value or brighten up a coworker’s workday. You can share a relevant article you read recently, or check out a colleague in your office who might be struggling. Finding reasons to stay in touch and up to date can help you be a priority, even when you’re physically away.