Posted by Robert Half on 25 January 2016
Managed correctly, working remotely can offer the best of both worlds – opportunities to enjoy a better work-life balance while still forging ahead with your career.
One of the strongest workplace trends we have seen in recent years. Both here in Asia and internationally, is the increasing opportunity for employees to work remotely.
Not surprisingly, many people embrace these opportunities to work remotely. It can provide valuable savings in terms of transport to and from work; increased flexibility to schedule work demands around family and personal needs; in addition to sidestepping the office politics that can plague many office cultures.
A big factor in this development has been employers realising that working remotely doesn’t necessarily mean taking a hit on productivity. But it’s certainly not all smooth sailing by any means.
The downside of working remotely is that you, and the contribution you make to the business, may not always be visible. So you need to manage the situation carefully to actively promote your personal achievements.
That’s why one of the most valuable tips we can offer is to look at ways of achieving a balance between the personal benefits of working remotely, and maintaining your career progression.
Here are five tips to help you make the most of your work remotely:
1. Make your presence felt digitally
Making phone calls or emails can seem like the easy way to stay in touch. However if you are working remotely consider arranging regular video calls with colleagues.
Not only is a video call a powerful visual reminder that you are part of the office team, you also have the ability to pick up on important physical cues from colleagues that are lost with other forms of communication.
2. Maintain a physical presence
Working remotely should never be a case of ‘out of sight, out of mind’.
It can take some effort on your behalf to regularly catch up with co-workers and your direct manager for face to face meetings. But it’s a sensible investment of your time.
Attending departmental meetings can improve the flow of communication between you and your co-workers. It also keeps the entire team in touch with shared goals and provides openings for you to highlight your successes.
3. Keep your team in the loop
Uncertainty about when you are in the office can be a source of frustration for colleagues, so one of the key remote working tips to bear in mind is to keep co-workers up to speed with your schedule. It comes down to good communication on your behalf because it’s unreasonable to expect colleagues to stay up to date with your schedule or availability.
Get into the routine of reminding people when you will be in the office – and conversely, when you are best accessed via email or video calls. Timing is everything, so provide a gentle reminder of your availability at the beginning of each week, and be sure your voicemail and email signature informs callers of the days when you are working remotely.
4. Be an active participant in firm-wide initiatives
One of the biggest potential downsides of working outside of the office is being overlooked for sought-after roles or projects. But it can happen.
Be prepared to raise your hand high to be considered for new initiatives or special projects. Take the opportunity to liaise with colleagues and senior management on a regular basis to ensure your name comes to mind when leading talent is needed for a new project.
5. Message colleagues
When you are not in the office everyday, it can be challenging to maintain a rapport with colleagues. This is where instant messenger programs can be handy, providing a timely way to stay in the loop with your co-workers. Remember, conversations don’t always have to be about work to build rapport.
By making the effort to maintain your visibility in the workplace it’s possible to forge ahead in your career without compromising the flexibility or benefits of working remotely.