The novelty of working from home, with 8:53 a.m. alarm calls and midday MasterClass breaks, has long worn off. Now you miss the sub-zero temps of your cubicle and the days of not having to supervise your kid’s virtual theater class.
Plus, “the anonymity of working from home is really taking a toll on people and many are feeling a bit forgotten,” said Dr. Marianna Strongin, a psychologist in a private practice on the Upper East Side.
It can feel difficult to get the attention you deserve, with employees finding it increasingly hard to get their work noticed.
“In the office, it’s easy to drop by a colleague’s desk or pop into your boss’s office to give them an update or share a win,” said Julia McKenna, CEO of Managerine. “At home, there’s a much bigger risk of finding yourself in a silo where your work is getting done, but no one takes notice.”
The good news is that since most managers aren’t used to this dynamic either, you can shift and enhance your work style to prove your value, and even get ahead. Below, career experts weigh in on how to wow the head honchos and really make an impression from afar.
Find new ways to celebrate your achievements
The key here is developing new outlets to promote yourself without going overboard.
“Keep your manager aware of accomplishments with a concise, yet informative, weekly recap. You’ll win brownie points for keeping them informed of progress, decisions and risks while highlighting [your successes],” said Nicole Hudson, a strategic transformation consultant. “If you have a regular team meeting, allocate time for a round-robin of each person’s biggest accomplishment.”
More than ever, you’ll also want to quantify things such as cost and time savings, percentage increase in revenue and number of support desk tickets managed as much as possible. Include as many measurements like these as you can when updating your boss, said Hudson.
As you find new ways to share your triumphs in place of your former channels, you might want to refine and tweak accordingly. That weekly performance recap could become twice weekly, or that sales spreadsheet you used to keep for your own files may get tidied up into something more formal that you share on Google Docs so your boss can see your progress in real time.
Don’t be camera shy
We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but that tiny picture of the Dude from “The Big Lebowski” serving as your Zoom avatar isn’t making a convincing case for your promotion. It’s tempting to leave your camera off, but the gesture of turning it on shows your commitment to your team and that you’re fully present.
Strongin said many of her clients are keeping their cameras off during work meetings for a slew of reasons, which is not advisable. “Remember, out of sight, out of mind,” she said.
Raise your virtual hand to volunteer for special projects
If your company isn’t big on Zoom meetings or forgoes them completely, this is an especially great way to show that you are performing without being annoying.
Likely, most of your co-workers won’t bother to take on extra work.
“For them, working off-site may feel like they can avoid having to work harder,” said career coach Roy Cohen, author of “The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide” (Pearson Education).
After taking on additional responsibility, tell your boss you’d like to schedule a brief, weekly phone call to touch base on the undertaking.
“This is time that you can use to bond with your boss and build a stronger relationship. When bosses feel like we will go above and beyond for them, they are more likely to do the same for us,” said Cohen.
Forward any glowing reviews to your superiors
This is another best practice McKenna recommends. Pre-coronavirus, whenever a positive review or praise from your colleague trickled into your inbox, you might have neglected to forward it to your boss. Now, it’s a great reminder of what an indispensable team member you are.
“This practice ensures your manager is in the loop about the great work you’re doing without you needing a phone call or long e-mail to convey the news,” said McKenna. By making this process as convenient as possible for your boss, you’re positioning yourself smartly for a salary bump or promotion. It can also help your case when annual appraisals come around.
“As a manager, this makes it easy for me to document my employee’s great work,” said McKenna. “I just print the e-mail and throw it in their file for when I need to write their review at the end of the year.
Network within your organization
Every month, challenge yourself to schedule two or three virtual coffee dates with people you haven’t connected with before.
Don’t be shy about sending blind e-mails to execs and peers on different teams. It may be a cold call now, but you could very well be forging a long-term strategic ally for down the line.
“Focus on building the relationship, staying present and finding ways to help so you’re top of mind for recognition and promotion,” said Hudson. “Differentiate from other Zoom meetings by creating a different atmosphere.”
Hudson suggests you move away from your desk to another area in your home or even outside — doing so will underscore the personal connection you’re hoping to foster and make the other party feel more relaxed.
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