3 Ways to Become a More Visible Employee
It might be a slow march, but millions of workers are heading back to the office. In ten of the country’s top business centers, including Washington, D.C., New York City and Los Angeles, office occupancy has risen from 38% in the spring to above 47% now.
The trend is bringing up a big question for the employees who, for a variety of reasons, are continuing to work outside the office: Will my career stall just because I’m working remotely?
It’s a legitimate question. Not being visible at work, both figuratively and literally, could have a negative impact in several ways. There’s the perception—sometimes justified—that remote workers lose out on promotions and challenging work assignments because they aren’t in the office. Then there are other effects that may not sabotage careers but can make work life more frustrating. More than half of remote workers felt like they weren’t treated equally by their in-office peers, according to a 2017 study by the management consultancy VitalSmarts (which has since changed its name to Crucial Learning). These employees felt that their colleagues wouldn’t fight for their priorities, would make changes to projects without consulting them, and would even bad-mouth them.
The good news, experts say, is that visibility usually doesn’t depend on actually being in the office. “Regardless of your physical presence in an office or other workspace, the steps are the same for gaining visibility at work—but those working entirely remotely have to make an extra effort to gain visibility,” says Korn Ferry Advance coach Valerie Olson. If you’re worried about falling behind your colleagues who are coming into the office, here are three ways to increase your visibility.
Nurture your relationship with your boss.
If your manager hasn’t scheduled a weekly one-on-one check-in with you, be sure to ask for one, says Elise Freedman, a Korn Ferry senior client partner and leader of its Workforce Transformation practice. “Make sure you have at least 15 to 30 minutes a week of one-on-one time to talk about the work you have been doing, successes you have had, and challenges you face,” she says.
During that meeting, ask if there are things you could be doing to support your manager or your colleagues. “Find out if there are standing projects they can use assistance with or if there’s a project in the pipeline that you can take off of their plate,” says Korn Ferry Advance career and leadership coach Sarah E. Williams. Consider mirroring your manager’s working hours to make sure there is enough overlap to get their feedback during the workday.
Make your voice heard.
Take advantage of videoconferencing to be seen and heard, Olson says. Have your camera on and ask questions so you are seen as present during meetings. If you have an idea about how to improve a process, increase efficiency, or make a positive impact on a customer, share those ideas in writing and during a team meeting, Freedman says. Consider asking your boss if you can sit in on other meetings to learn more about a project or to get to know more people in your company.
Plus, look for key opportunities to occasionally come into the office. When you are on-site, focus on interacting with your team as well as others outside it, Freeman says.
Promote your own work.
Your colleagues and manager might not be aware of the work you’re doing, so bring it to their attention in a tactful and factual manner, Olson says. “Let others know the details about what you’ve been working on and the impact it’s having on the company or your client,” she says. Consider sending your manager and your team more frequent progress updates on your various activities and projects.
If you receive an email from a customer or colleague talking about the work you’re doing or a goal you’ve accomplished, Freedman suggests forwarding it to your manager with a note saying, “Just thought you might like to see this great feedback.” Don’t be afraid to market yourself, she says. Make sure your manager understands your skill set, what you’re working on, and the feedback you’re receiving from clients and colleagues.
Originally published by KornFerry.com.