by Chuck Chapman, Content Strategy Coordinator
An MITSloan study showed that teleworkers were passed over for promotions at a far higher rate than their co-located counterparts. The reasons for that are fairly obvious and have been discussed at length on this site.
- Remote workers are often isolated from colleagues and organizational leadership.
- Remote workers don’t get the same level of informal interaction with their colleagues and organizational leadership.
- With hybrid teams, remote workers are often left “out of the loop” with company news, including professional
So, with all those circumstances working against remote workers, is there anything they can do to enhance their opportunities for professional growth? Absolutely. The biggest factor remote workers have to be aware of is their need to take the initiative.
In the “good ole days” in an office setting, you would overhear conversations about upcoming job openings in the break room or even see jobs posted on a bulletin board. That’s not a reality for the remote worker. Further, many senior leaders and HR people think if you’ve chosen to work from home you have taken yourself off the career track because you favor lifestyle over your job.
It might seem that hearing about new opportunities, then, is a matter of luck. But “luck favors the bold.” That’s especially true when it comes to advancing your career as a remote or contract worker. Here are some ways you can “make your own luck”:
Connect with your colleagues
It’s a big temptation for remote workers just to put their heads down and plough through their work. In fact, many seek out remote work for just that kind of atmosphere. And while you might stay out of office gossip and politics that way, the downside is you also become “out of sight, out of mind.” And that may mean being ignored when it comes time for advancement.
It’s a good idea for remote workers to actively engage their colleagues and management. Make a point to contribute to discussions on Slack or make comments during conference calls. Remind the team that you’re there and contributing. And when you take the initiative, you also set the conversation on your terms, meaning you don’t have to do gossip or politics if you don’t want to.
Initiate discussions about professional growth
If you’re waiting to hear about that growth opportunity, as a remote worker, you might be waiting awhile…probably too long. Initiate discussions with your manager about career development. Managers rarely get upset about team members who have a “go get ’em” attitude. Make a point of finding where jobs are posted and plan to check the board or website on a regular basis.
If budget allows, volunteer yourself for trainings and seminars. Even if it doesn’t, there are countless free webinars and other professional development sessions you can take advantage of. Again, initiating that commitment toward growth and improvement will get you noticed in a positive way.
Network inside and outside your organization
We talk a lot here about developing good relationships. That’s a key component of any professional growth plan, especially for remote workers. By developing internal relationships that go beyond being mere work transactions, you become a more attractive candidate for promotion.
Many remote workers don’t have the benefit of being a part of a mature, high-functioning team, however. For some, the organizational culture is stunted to only being about the business transaction. In those cases, make use of LinkedIn and other professional circles where you can meet and form collegial relationships with others. Chances are, if you’re in an organization like the one described, you’ll eventually be looking for a new position anyway. This is a great way to expand your contacts and keep your resume fresh and up to date.
Working remotely has many perks, one of them being more autonomy. The flip side of that, however, is that it can become solitary and you may not be the first person your manager thinks of to assign important tasks or consider for promotions…unless you take steps to prevent that. Take control of your own professional growth.
If you want to be more successful working at home, this e-course can help you on your way.