Lately, there’s been a lot of talk about large corporations like Yahoo, IBM, and Bank of America cutting back or eliminating telecommuting work arrangements. While I don't agree with these company's logic, I do believe that remote workers need to be cognizant of the adage, “out of sight, out of mind.”
So how do you show your colleagues and your boss, that your remote working status is not negatively impacting your work? And even more importantly, how do you work from home, but still get ahead at work?
Here's How to Work From and Get Ahead at Work:
1. The Right Mindset
If you want to get ahead as a remote worker, you need to get into the right mindset. This includes creating regular office hours, being ruthless with your time, and treating your home-based business or telecommuting job as a professional. Act as if you were working outside the home, stay focused and be on task, so no doing laundry or household chores during office hours.
2. Clear, Concise Communication
You will need to clearly communicate to others when your office hours are, and let family and friends know that you're unavailable during these times. Having a separate office with a door can help to filter out distractions and noise while leaving you free to work uninterrupted.
If you don't treat your job professionally, your family and friends will have a difficult time taking your work-at-home status seriously. Learn to say no, and get dressed in the morning, the more professional you are, the easier it will be for others to respect your remote working status.
3. Take Initiative
Be proactive about phoning and e-mailing your manager to stay in the loop. A phone call, email, or Skype can be a good way to keep in touch, but it’s no substitute for good ole face-to-face interaction, so make regular arrangements to meet with your boss and team.
Along with this, you'll need to be very responsive to incoming communications, try and answer phone calls as they come in, and emails in a timely manner. There is such a thing as email perception, so the faster you can respond, the better the impression you make.
Also, sit down with your boss and create a set of ground rules and performance-related goals for working from home. Having a detailed system in place will help to monitor your progress, and will let your co-workers and boss see exactly what you’re working on, taking the guesswork out of what you do all day.
4. Go the Extra Mile
Volunteer to take on challenging projects. By taking on projects that may be outside of your normal realm of expertise, you show individuals that you’re able to take initiative and be diverse, which lends itself to new opportunities down the road. Make sure to show your boss what you bring to the table, by being creative, thinking outside the box, and over-delivering. Remember don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask for help. By asking questions you can clear up misunderstandings, gain clarity, and make better decisions – not to mention divert potential disasters that could cost you your job or remote working status.
5. Cultivate Team Spirit
Get to know your work colleagues on a more personal level. By initiating team building and other face-to-face activities, this helps to strengthen interpersonal bonds between employees. It is more difficult to let go of someone, or pass them up for a promotion when you genuinely like who they are as a person.
6. Don’t Abuse the Privilege
Don’t sabotage your reputation by missing deadlines and delivering sloppy work. This includes communicating to others when you’ll be out of the office due to appointments and other obligations. Remember not to take advantage of your telecommuting status by abusing the trust that your employer has placed in you.
7. Keep Growing
Education is power, and a college degree or certification can be the key that unlocks many doors. But also remember that informal education is just as important, always be learning and studying the people who are doing it right. Consider joining various professional groups geared towards women, attend conferences and read books, blogs, and industry publications.
Start nurturing relationships; continuously cultivate old and new relationships. Get involved with some social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn where you can manage your professional and personal contacts with ease. When the time comes to ask a question or get support, you will be able to quickly approach your contacts – and remember it’s usually not who you know, but who your contacts know that really helps!
9. Speak Up
I have heard this over and over again; it’s women’s fault that they don’t earn as much as men. It’s blamed on the fact that women don’t ask for raises and promotions or that they’re shy. Well, it’s time to shout out and let everyone know what you're worth! Ask for the promotion, the increase in pay, or the opportunity; what is the worse thing that could happen? They could say no, but more importantly, they could say yes and see you as a confident leader!
10. Find a Mentor
Feeling scared and uncertain? Need help finding your confidence? Then find a mentor. They can help protect you from discrimination and guide you past obstacles to career success. It can also be just the boost you need to get inspired and motivated!
While research shows, working from home can boost your productivity, you still need to prove it to your coworkers and boss. By following these simple tips, you can not only reap the benefits of working from home, but you can also get ahead at work.
What tips do you have for working remotely and getting ahead at work?