By now, most of us have seen Elon Musk’s email to his employees, sent earlier this month, stating that they needed to return to the office or consider themselves unemployed. Some CEO’s agree with him, some have sent similar emails, and some have walked back those requests when met with employee pushback. Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan ,has been critical of remote work, and in May of 2021 told employees to be back in US offices on a rotating basis by July. But by May 2022 in his ,annual shareholder letter, he says just half of employees will be in office full-time and “it’s clear that working from home will become more permanent in American business.”
The way we work is rapidly evolving and so many of us are embracing the change to more remote positions. Yet some, particularly those in decision-making positions, feel the oversight gained with in-person work is far more important than employee satisfaction. Elon Musk is clearly of the latter opinion. Is he right? Do we need to be in the same room for effective collaboration? Does visual oversight improve productivity?
In short, no. We don’t need to be in the same room and we don’t need to be micromanaged in order to be productive. CEO’s of now fully-remote companies have seen an increase in productivity since the beginning of the pandemic when offices were first closed and employees sent home to work remotely.
What if you work for a company offering an either/or scenario- you are welcome to stay remote and work where you please or you can come into the office? Now that we’ve had a taste, many of us would choose the remote option, but is that putting you at a disadvantage? Some of your coworkers are choosing to go into the office everyday. How can you not only stay visible but get ahead when you are just an icon on the screen, while living, breathing humans that interact with your supervisor daily, are competing for your next promotion? You are going to have to be more intentional about sharing your accomplishments and impact on the company. We have some insight on how you can do that and why it works to keep you front of mind with your employers.
Turn on Your Camera and Mic
Do as much of your communication as possible face-to-virtual-face. As the saying goes, out of sight, out of mind. We know how hard it is to turn your camera on when you aren’t feeling or looking your best (see below!), but it really helps your coworkers and bosses to see you. Body language is a big part of communication and when we remove the ability to read that language, overall communication suffers. If presenting virtually is difficult for you, consider making a short video of your project so you don’t have to present “live.” It will be well worth the cringe you feel when toggling that camera on.
Dress to Impress
The saying, “Dress for the position you want, not the one you have” still goes for remote work. Since we are keeping cameras on – dress to impress. Present yourself in all those face-to-virtual-face meetings in a professional manner. You might prefer sweatpants and a T-shirt to work in comfort and if you don’t have any meetings scheduled, that could be just fine. But it is important to look the part when meeting with others. You should be dressed as well as you would if you were conducting this meeting or discussion in-person. This conveys that you take your job seriously and it will be that much easier to turn your camera on when you feel like you look your best.
Contribute and Speak Up
Contribute to meetings and discussions while on those calls. If your camera is off and you are muted for the most of the meeting, your colleagues may forget you are even there. Acknowledge your teammates’ efforts and what your team is accomplishing. You don’t want to sound like you are bragging, but highlighting you and your team’s successes will show your capabilities and keep you in your manager’s or boss’s mind. If you don’t have constructive comments to share, consider asking questions or summarize your understanding of the topic for clarity. Any way that you can speak up without dragging the meeting on longer or sounding arrogant will be beneficial.
Ask how you can support your coworkers or supervisors. If a new initiative is discussed in a meeting, offer your assistance and skills for a specific task that you feel would help implement their idea. Let your boss know that you have a goal of raising visibility and why. Plan meetings to include other departments that you collaborate with even if just to touch base. Obviously, the more you go above and beyond, the more memorable you will be to your company.
Socializing, even virtually, with your colleagues is recommended. Reach out to your coworkers to share useful information, check in, or schedule a virtual lunch. Get to know your colleagues and foster relationships in and outside of work. Be careful to keep your socializing positive about the company, misery may love company but you never know who your negative comments will be shared with.
Send your manager a weekly email detailing your accomplishments for the week and what you intend to continue working on the next week. This helps your manager to schedule your projects and time as well as easily keep tabs on project timelines. You’ll be viewed as reliable and communicative and may find yourself in the manager’s position before you know it!
Share Achievements on Social Media
If your company has a social media presence, share or highlight the positive work being done. Linkedin is the social media app most used by professionals. If you don’t have a profile, you may want to consider it if your company and coworkers are active there. Tag your employer and colleagues that worked on the project with you when sharing so your post gets noticed and the work gets associated with your name.
Gain New Skills or Certifications
Your company may offer professional development stipends. If they do, take advantage of these benefits! Be sure to share your new skills with your team, and inform your managers that you have gained this certification and how it benefits the company. Most employers are thrilled to have employees who want to continue learning and honing their skills.
Any time you are communicating, interacting, engaging, or taking initiative- you are increasing your visibility. Be sure your communication is intentional and making yourself visible in the best light, as opposed to communicating only negatives or concerns. It may feel like extra work or awkward to reach out to others or boast about your accomplishments but over-communicating is really helpful when you and your colleagues are not in the same space. Give these tips a try and see if it improves your opportunities at work.
And don’t forget that working remotely doesn’t have to mean working alone or from your home. If you find your productivity waning but still not interested in commuting to the office, consider using a shared workspace. Hub:868 has several flexible options to meet the needs of all remote employees including single day passes and meeting rooms. Explore our memberships and drop in passes below.