Is working from home the fast track toward the door?

Is working from home the fast track toward the door?

What remote workers need to know about staying in the spotlight?

While working from home sounds wonderful, there are some negatives to that flexible lifestyle.

  1. People with home offices tend to work more hours – often evening and weekends
  2. People with home offices tend to lose face-to-face time with their managers, co-workers and other 2nd line managers
  3. People with home offices tend to miss high-profile opportunities that are discussed after a teleconference meeting,  around the water-coolers or in the hallways.

The dampening effect also affects the manager that supervises remote employees.

How does a manager effectively determine:

  1. How many hours are they actually working?  If I don’t know how many hours they are actually putting in, how do I know how productive they are being?
  2. And there is the “out of sight, out of mind phenomenon” as well.  Managers have many issues that cross their path in a day.  How do they ensure that the employees that do not cross their paths are getting the right amount of attention, feedback and guidance?
  3. How do 2nd line managers effectively compare performances across their departments?

Some tips from the employee:

Networking is critical in any career minded individual.  But it’s even more so in a remote and global environment.  Now that you are a remote employee, you need to take your networking skills to the next level.  Gone are the days when you can easily bump into a conversation regarding a high-profile upcoming project.  Because you are not in the office and halls, your name and face is less likely to cross the minds of 2nd line managers that don’t ordinarily work with you.  You are not as recognizable as you would be if you were seen in the cafeteria.  It really is the case of “Out of sight, out of mind”.

So what can a person to do?  Consider these recommendations:

  1. Network with your manager’s cohorts (managers of the same level as your boss).  Majority of companies use performance evaluations to award their employees salary promotions, increases, etc.  During this process, we are often rated and ranked against people of our same level or band.  It is during this process that all the managers of the same level meet to discuss and evaluate their employees of the same level.   It stands to reason that the more managers you know in that room, the better your chances are for a favorable review.
  2. Consider requesting a manager and 2-line manager to mentor you.  Many corporations have mentoring programs.  These programs are designed for executive and upper level managers to mentor and tutor up-and-coming employees.  One of the best ways to stay ahead and continue to evolve is to solicit coaching advice from one that has already traversed the paths that you are interested in.  One suggestion is not to limit you to just one mentor.  Instead, select a few growth area and piece together the appropriate team to cover those various areas.  The more management people that get to know you, the better.
  3. Present yourself as an expert in your field.  Consider writing papers, co-publishing articles, presenting at trade conferences, holding lunch’n learn session, conduct executive demos, facilitate client focus group meeting, etc to illustrate and expose your knowledge in your field of choice.  Attend and present at local professional organizations that are involved in your field of choice.  The more people that know of your background and expertise, the better.
  4. Keep your resume updated and forward focused.  Consider using a “forward focused” resume.  Don’t just look upon a resume as a map of where you have been, but where you are going.  Include professional development goals with milestones and deadlines.  Include your career objects and what you are looking forward in your next position.   Continue to add education, certificates of accomplishments, and training completion.  This illustrates your continued desire to stay sharp and valuable.    Keep a folder or log of all your accomplishments throughout the year.  Managers juggle and manager different people, situations, and sites throughout the year.  Your manager may not remember or even be aware of all that you do for the organization.  It’s a good idea for you to keep an Accomplishment Folder and keep it updated throughout the year.  Do not wait until the end of the performance evaluation year to remember what you have accomplished.  Keep track as you go along.  Include any letters of recommendations, thank yous, client notes, cohorts positive and negative correspondence, etc.  If you get a  verbal “thank you”, as them if they would put it in writing and copy your manager.
  5. Get others to toot your horn.  Clients and co-workers are happy to “toot your horn”.  It’s just that it doesn’t often occur to them.  Many find it easy to gush and thank you for all your hard work.  But it may not occur to them to tell your manager about your outstanding service.  So, the best cure for this is to “ask them to put it in writing”.    If someone is happy with your work, they will be happy to write a testimonial or a mention of your great work.  But they may not have the time.   The best cure for this is to write it for them.  Then ask them if this is something they would feel comfortable modifying and sending on your behalf.

Next time:  Tips for managers of remote or global employees.


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