When everyone was working remotely it was a level playing field. Now that companies are starting to bring back employees to the office, there’s going to be big changes. The current trend looks like you’ll be asked to work a hybrid schedule. This entails two or three days at the office and the rest at home. Some people may elect to go into work everyday and a large number of folks are anticipated to push for working remotely all the time.
A recent study showing the results of working from home during the time period between 2011 and 2020 offers some insights, including the unpleasant fact that remote workers faced a number of challenges that their in-office coworkers didn’t have to contend with.
Here are some of the takeaways:
- People who mainly worked from home were less than half as likely to be promoted.
- Around 38% remote workers didn’t receive a bonus.
- Telecommuters put in 6.0 hours of unpaid overtime on average per week in 2020 and homeworkers worked well into the evening.
- The sickness absence rate for at-home was 0.9% on average in 2020.
With these statistics in mind, you need to be thoughtful and strategic with your approach to working. You can’t just log onto the computer and assume the boss and coworkers know what you’re up to. A well thought out game plan is needed to succeed.
The kind-of good news is, most of us had over a year of remote work experience. We’ve become adept at being an IT-tech repair person, internet connectivity trouble-shooter and quasi light, sound and video expert in addition to doing your real job.
Whether you’ll be part time or full time at home, you need to make sure that you’re noticed and recognized for your efforts and contributions. Beat in mind, it’s going to be harder for managers moving forward.
During the pandemic most white-collar professionals worked remotely. Moving forward, supervisors will have to manage people with an array of different schedules. Keeping tabs on who is in the office on any particular day and where everyone is, as it’s likely there will be who decided to work from their beach house during the summer or elected to be digital nomad.
Instead of seeing some staff in the hallway and whisking him into an office for an impromptu meeting, your boss will need to figure out where everyone else is and make sure that they’re included. You can imagine after a while it will start grating on the supervisor. He or she may get a little annoyed or resentful of herding cats all the time.
You can easily envision a dual-class system arising amongst workers. There will be those in the room being first-class and those at home being second-class corporate citizens. Bosses are likely to formulate false assumptions about their work ethic and commitment to the company.
If a remote-worker arrives late or misses a virtual meeting, it could be presumed that the person is slacking off. Some managers will question why some employees are in the office only Tuesdays through Thursday, and operating remotely on Mondays and Fridays. They’ll feel that they are gaming the system by taking extra-long weekends, even if it’s not the employee’s intent.
With fewer people in the office, they’ll build a strong bond. Those who are at home will feel left out of this clique. It’s likely that the managers will focus on the folks in the office as it’s easier. Those who are out of sight will be out of mind. They won’t have those serendipitous conversations that lead to a big break. You may not be called on to work on a cool new project because it went to someone who is in the office and within eyesight.
Here’s what you can do to get noticed:
Have a conversation with your manager to set goals and expectations. Make sure she is fully aware of your schedule and workload. Have a plan in place to check in on certain days and times. Decide if this will be accomplished via phone, video calls, emails, texts or in-person meetings once every couple of weeks.
Focus on building and maintaining relationships with people that you work with. Even though it may be irritating, participate in all the Zoom calls and Microsoft Teams videos to stay in front of colleagues and management. When you are on the video call, look a little extra professional and polished to stand out. Let’s be real, most times you have the camera off and waiting for the call to end and put you out of your misery. Try participating.
Don’t be “that guy” who monopolizes the conversation and weighs in with all their dopey opinions. You should seek out openings to share relevant, smart, insightful comments. Go to the extra yard and compliment others about their ideas. Offer your support for their pet projects. If you feel a connection with someone, send them a note to have a virtual cup of coffee to strengthen the relationship.
Find a way to share your accomplishment with your boss without coming across as bragging or boasting. You want her to know what you’ve been doing everyday. List your accomplishments and successes. Check in from time to time with your manager to see if there is anything you could help her with.
Get involved with all online office activities. Participate in Slack and other similar tools that enable connecting and collaborating. Schedule catch-up calls with colleagues, including those who may not be on your immediate team but important to your career development. If you are full time remote, consider popping into the office every once in a while so people see your face.
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