"Leveling up in a remote world is soooo hard!"
I've been getting this feedback a lot recently.
Less office time means fewer opportunities to soak up random knowledge, stand out, or serendipitously discover opportunities for growth.
It's still not clear whether the future of work is remote, hybrid, or neither, but that doesn't mean you should be holding your breath.
If you are planning on a promotion, you need to start building your professional and social capital right now.
Here Are 4 Tactics To Help You Shine In a Remote World:
One of the biggest challenges organizations are facing right now is designing new channels of communication.
What worked when people were in the office, doesn't always translate well in a remote world.
Your goal as an employee is to make sure your manager knows exactly what you are doing and where you stand.
Your goal as a manager is to make sure there are open lines of communication, your team is informed, and they feel heard.
The best way I know to accomplish both is to over-communicate and establish clear communication guidelines.
Here's what I mean:
Ask your manager what is the best way for you to share updates. Do they want a detailed email? A link to a report or task management tool? Should you share it during your 1:1 or send it in advance? Maybe they want you to use slack? The easiest way to help your manager is to ask them what they want.
Want to go the extra mile? Outline three methods and suggest a cadence, and just ask them to choose. You'll know what to do, and they'll know what to expect.
Err on the side of over-communicating. Working alone from home means you spend a lot of time in your own head. It may start to feel like everyone else knows what you know, and can see what you do, but unfortunately, most people don't read minds. If you don't share, it is like your work never existed (You know, if a tree falls in the forests...).
If you are worried it may tick someone off, frame your communications as status updates, or as helpful resources for others.
Set up communications norms. Whether you are a manager or an employee, you can tell people how you prefer to communicate or define norms for the whole team to align on. Here's an example from my "manager read me" file: 👇
2. Transition From Working In a Silo to Working Collaboratively.
When you work with other people, they have exposure to your work. They get to know you, they learn from you, and they are committed to a shared success. That's great news! The more people know who you are and what you do, the less you'll need to advocate for yourself. Collaboration means built-in exposure with zero bragging. Your goal is to make your success, their success.
A few ways to add collaboration to your work:
Start a listening tour. If your work impacts other teams, initiate a process to meet with your stakeholders and *listen* to what they have to say. You want to look for: challenges they are facing, unmet needs, ideas, and suggestions. By listening before you make decisions you'll gain more respect, you'll increase the chances for success, and.... you'll gain visibility.
Enlist important stakeholders as mentors. Find SMEs at your company who can share valuable knowledge and advice. Consult with them as you are starting a project and get their feedback and suggestions. They may not be directly impacted by your project, but you can never have enough allies internally.
Help others. Working from home can get lonely. If a team member talks about a new project, offer your help. Even if it's just 30 minutes of brainstorming you'll get points for trying and an opportunity to showcase your expertise.
Teach others. If you have a unique skill or valuable knowledge that can benefit other team members, offer to teach them. When I started my last VP role I hosted a LinkedIn workshop for anyone who was interested in learning how to use the platform. One of my team members designed a workflow process that made her more productive and shared it with the whole team. Win-Win.
3. Focus On Outcomes, Not Outputs.
I probably sound like a broken record, but this is the best way to maximize your impact.
I even have a video about this in my LinkedIn Learning course:
Spend most of your time on work that moves the needle and drives impact.
It's easy to spend long hours in front of your laptop when you work from home, but more hours don't always mean more impact.
The number of hours you work doesn't matter as much as the results you get. Most employers already assume employees work less when they are remote, so they look for outcomes as an indication of "hard work".
How do you work smarter?
Realize that 20% of your work will contribute 80% of the results, so your goal should be to ruthlessly eliminate "nice to have" work and focus on doing things that move the needle and drive massive impact.
Use this matrix to help you prioritize your tasks:
4. Spend More Time With The People Who Matter
Working remotely can make us crave more social interactions. That may lead to jumping on multiple zoom calls just to feel seen and have some face time.
A better way to manage your time and still enjoy some social interactions is to spend more time with the people who matter.
Your manager, mentors, and strategic allies.
If you spend more time with fewer (but more relevant) people you'll:
Build stronger and more meaningful relationships
Make a bigger impact on people
Learn more (better use of your time)
Nurture your promotion squad. These are the people who will speak up for you when you need their support.
Here's what you need to do:
1. Map out 3-5 relevant stakeholders
2. Outline what you want to get from your relationship, and what you can offer them
3. Schedule an introduction or kick-off meeting
4. Learn what these stakeholders need and want, and how you can help them
5. Write a summary with action items, and follow through (add some value)
6. Follow up every couple of weeks and initiate more meetings
You can use a simple spreadsheet to keep track:
Leveling up may be a bit more challenging when you are working remotely, but you can easily adapt and make the most out of your time.
To help you do this I'm hosting a free masterclass on July 20th. I'll share the 3-step formula I've been using throughout my career and give you the tools to take your career to the next level.
Save your seat here.
I hope I get to see you there! (And I actually mean see you. It's time we met!)