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Choosing to work from home can offer tremendous benefits, including higher levels of productivity, the opportunity for work/life balance, less time commuting, and the ability to engage in life-enriching activities like travel, exercise, and volunteerism. One of the risks, however, is falling into anonymity and becoming invisible to your boss, colleagues, and teammates.
You may risk missing out on important news, assignments, and opportunity for growth, not to mention spontaneous conversation and exchange of ideas. It can be tempting to slide into a comfortable routine while working remotely, particularly when you're sitting on the couch with your laptop, working in sweats and slippers.
It takes some discipline but it will be well worth it to create good working habits to keep up with your colleagues and advocate for personal growth. If you tend to fly under the radar, consider these tips for maintaining your visibility while working remotely.
Whether you are on a conference call, or in a meeting at the office, make sure you speak up and let yourself be heard. Make it a point to go into the office, if there is one, at a set time each week. Maintaining a visible presence can only help as you try to build relationships.
If you are at home, try not to miss an opportunity to tune in to the team's video conference call meetings and participate in conversations on Slack and Skype. Or maybe even initiate video meetings with coworkers and other members of your team. Ask relevant questions and contribute intelligent ideas to the conversation. Whether virtually or in person, be present and accessible.
This is especially relevant if working with teammates in different time zones. You may be raring to go at 9:00 AM, but your colleagues in London are winding down for the day.
Set a specific time to connect that works for all of you. Make sure to keep your status on your messenger app and email vacation statuses up-to-date so teammates know when to expect your reply.
Volunteer to organize a company-wide toy collection around the holidays. Join the company softball team. Or be part of a task force to clean up your team's shared drives.
Being visible by participating in extracurricular activities reminds people of your presence, and keeps your name "out there" for your colleagues and your superiors.
Slack and other instant messaging software provide effective tools in connecting with hybrid and remote teams. Used by almost half of remote workers, Slack offers apps like Giphy, Zoom, and Simple Poll which provide useful conversation starters like:
A Slack channel that's well organized by team or goal can be a useful tool for keeping remote workers connected via messaging, video conferencing, and daily stand-up meetings, which can give every team member visibility. When remote workers post frequently to their team's Slack channel, it shows that they are being productive and remaining connected.
For larger organizations, make sure you know where and how to showcase your accomplishments. Check in with your manager for advice on tooting your own horn when you complete a project or hit a goal.
Working remotely offers tremendous benefits and is an increasingly popular, cost-effective, efficient way to get the job done. It may just take a little extra effort to keep yourself visible, particularly if you're in your sweats and slippers on the couch.
Remote work doesn't mean less access to growth, management, or any opportunities offered to in-office employees. The ways that managers evaluate progress, check in with direct reports, and manage team dynamics have changed. Follow these suggestions to be a visible remote teammate and build relationships with remote coworkers no matter the place or time of day.
Looking for more? Check out the best remote-friendly companies to work for next.