COVID-19 has changed everything we know, creating a ‘new normal’. Central to this new normal is working from home. But remote workers often feel left out of the vital connections, networking and opportunities to shine created by working and socialising in a face-to-face office. Working remotely has now become part of everyone’s career progression, so how do you stand out and impress your colleagues when you work from home?
Business owners’ and managers’ greatest fear with a remote team is that they won’t get enough done. Without being able to spend time with their staff, they’re unable to see when someone is struggling with their workload and step in to offer support. Or by contrast, when someone is bored with their work and could learn new skills by taking on different projects.
This is a real opportunity for you to impress your manager by taking the initiative and trying new tasks without being asked. Is there a time-heavy process you’ve noticed could be more efficient? Have you used a tool or technology that could help your team work together better? You’ll show that you’re able to find solutions to problems before someone else has noticed there’s a problem! And even better, that you’re on the ball and engaged even when working from home.
Keep in contact
It is all too easy when you’re not in an office to not check in with your workmates or to forget to update your manager on what has and hasn’t been done. This can lead to bigger problems down the line with people doubling up on work.
Staying in contact doesn’t mean you have to do an hour-long Zoom call every day. There are lots of asynchronous tools like Slack or Teams which can make work communication as easy and responsive as texting, as well as collaborative platforms like Miro and Google Docs where people can work together on projects and see progress in real-time. It might also be worth suggesting your company gets a team managing app like Monday.com or Asana so that everyone understands who is working on what.
Don’t keep people waiting
There’s no worse feeling than knowing you’re holding someone else up, especially if that person is on a deadline. If you need more time to do something, ask! Don’t over-promise - it’s better to underpromise and then overdeliver. By hitting your deadlines and keeping to time, you can gain the trust of your employer and show them that it doesn’t matter where and when you are working because it will get done.
Talking of keeping people waiting… It’s best practice to set up for all remote meetings (both online and by phone) at least 5 minutes before the start time to ensure you’re able to iron out any connectivity issues should they arise.
Have a real passion for what you’re doing
Passion for your job doesn’t have to mean being personally invested in the subject matter – if your industry isn’t the most naturally interesting sector, you can find ways to make it work. Passion just means you care about the end result that helps your company continue to operate and grow. You don’t have to be perfect, you just have to give your best effort to your work and care about making your client happy.
“Several of the IQ Cards team are parents themselves, juggling work with the daily school run,” says Ian Savage, Director at IQ Cards. “That means we appreciate the busy day-to-day life within schools and at home where our products can be most effective. When you really understand the benefits of your products, you can be passionate about them”.
Don’t be tempted to put too many extra hours in
This might seem counterintuitive. Lots of people think that the only way to impress your boss in an office setting is to stay late and get in early. But remote working is different - you will often be working from your home where it’s easy to lose the sense of time and natural breaks.
It’s common for people who work from home to burn out as there’s very little separation between their working life and their home life. While it’s important you do finish your work, don’t spend every minute of every hour working. You must go outside and get some daylight - and in winter, it’s harder and harder to do that! If you really want to impress your boss, show them that you can manage your time to finish important tasks and look after yourself. It’s better for you to work efficiently, rather than excessively.
Working from home is our new normal and will remain this way for the foreseeable future, so you must find a way to work within it. If you want to impress your boss, learn what makes them tick and cross that box using the remote tools at your disposal. And above all, don’t burn yourself out.
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