Laura Iñiguez, Content Manager at Hirebook
Laura is a content and social media strategist with deep experience in Employee Engagement, People Management, and Culture. She works with Hirebook to bring their innovative best practices to life through content, videos, and webinars seen by thousands around the globe.
Pub: November 13 2020
. Upd: October 17 2021
Despite the comfort of working from home and having flexible schedules, many remote workers are starting to worry about their career development when not working in an actual office.
It’s no secret that nowadays employers are opting to implement a hybrid model of working, which means spending more time working remotely than at the office. For some people it means working remotely permanently, and while a lot of employees prefer to do so, it’s normal to wonder if this is going to affect our career growth and if there’ll be a lack of career advancement opportunities.
As the world evolves, career advancement evolves with it. Employers and managers cannot measure their employees the same way, and even though they know that, sometimes they need a little help changing their management style and their measuring system to give a fair opportunity to everyone. A challenge like working remotely shouldn’t be a big problem if we have clear expectations on where we want to go career-wise.
Have a Vision
Only wondering “how to further my career”?” won’t do. Take action and determine a career path, your desired position. You need to be able to describe your ambitions and goals. Where do you want to go? Where do you need to be next year to get closer to that main goal? Once you envision your career goals, set a direction, how will you get there?
Our career usually is a mix of our interests, knowledge and skills. Interests are based in our hobbies and personal experiences. Knowledge is that theoretical and practical understanding of certain topics and interests; knowledge is acquired through formal and informal education. Your skills are those hard and soft abilities you bring to the table, hard skills like finances or computer programming, and soft skills like public speaking, leadership management and communication.
Are you a visual person? If so, creating a Vision Board is not a bad idea. Having it somewhere near you and looking at it constantly will motivate you everyday. Be as specific as possible and move the pieces around when needed.
Are you more of an auditory person? Find a motivating podcast! And play it when you wake up and while you’re getting ready or having your morning coffee. Set yourself up for success.
When working remotely you need to demonstrate your value in a virtual environment, it could be a bit more challenging to be noticeable. Whatever you can bring to the table should be recognized, making it easier to have access to internal promotions and advancement opportunities within the company. But how?
Even though you’re focused on your career doesn’t mean you should focus on yourself only. Work collaboratively among other teams, show your colleagues you’re a team player and that you value their contributions. By working together you can also gain new skills and knowledge from colleagues in different positions; and acquiring more knowledge never hurt anybody!
Find areas where you can make a sincere contribution, you’ll not only make yourself noticeable but you’ll also have another opportunity to learn more about your company’s needs. Don’t be afraid to talk to a higher rank, if you’ve got an idea for another department, ping the right person and let them know! Being proactive is very important and valued by managers.
Make sure that your managers and the people that matter within the company are seeing your current projects and accomplishments. We don’t mean necessarily “brag about it”, but find a way to let them know what you’re working on.
Stack on Resources
A wise professor once told me “You never stop learning and preparing”, and that couldn’t be more true. Especially nowadays where technology changes so quickly, we need to have a lot more knowledge and skills to be competitive among other candidates and colleagues. Check the job boards to see what employers are looking for regarding your area of expertise and see if there’s something you’re missing or something you could improve.
Find experiences to train on the skills you’re lacking. Since you’re working remotely you’re not spending time commuting, so take advantage of that extra time to keep your skills on point and learn some new ones. There are a lot of online courses, skills assessments, books and podcasts you could benefit from. Find someone to mentor you, it could be a manager, HR representative, development practitioner, or someone else you admire.
Even when it’s difficult to bond with colleagues without shared lunches or happy hours, it is extremely important to continue fostering strong professional relationships.
There are three ways you can socialize:
- Bonding - socialization within a group.
- Bridging - socialization between groups.
- Linking - socialization among people with different power levels or ranks.
Depending on how social you are, networking can affect your ability to ask and receive help. It can also affect the opportunities you get to have access to promotions or a raise. Being a remote worker you’re more prone to isolation and therefore we can feel we won’t have that many opportunities to socialize and get career advancement opportunities, so it’s very important to develop interpersonal connections with your managers and colleagues outside of the work ambiance.
Set calls to brainstorm ideas with other teams or departments. Look for opportunities to give recognition to your colleagues when they’re nailing it (take a look at your “Positive Feedback Examples” article for this). Ask them how they’re doing and even set a call to share lunch. When having one-on-ones with your manager, try to ask them questions too. With these little actions you don’t only build trust, but you can also help with your team and company’s morale.
Every Experience Counts
Every past job counts, even if one or more were not related to your field of interest or your current position. Your past experiences got you here, and now that you’re on your career path, focus on getting experience that is relevant to achieve your desired role.
Always try to gain new experience. Take on additional responsibilities in your current position, seek for volunteer or professional development opportunities.
When preparing for a team project, do some extra research or send your ideas and pointers before a meeting to discuss the project. Show your team and managers that you’re proactive and willing to give more than what’s expected of you. Let them know that you will go the extra mile when needed and that you’re someone who’ll do what it takes to achieve your goals, someone who will prepare continuously to give your best.
Ask for Feedback
You don’t have to wait until your next one-on-one or performance review to see how you’re doing. Let your leaders know you’re open to extra communication, ask them what they think you should improve and also where they think you’re doing a good job. Ask them what they thought about your last paper or project so you can keep track of those skills that need polishing.
Working from home doesn’t mean you’ll hinder your career, it just means that we have to make adjustments in our way of working. After all, we’ve already made so many adjustments this year, what’s a little more to achieve our goals, right?
Photo credit - freepik