How To Get Noticed While WFH

31.08.20

With millions of people now working from home as a result of the pandemic, we’re slowly realising that traditional means of advancing our career or simply making a good impression don’t really work anymore. Logging on from home each day can make you feel near-invisible to your bosses and colleagues, and as the Wall Street Journal put it: “It can be hard to climb the ladder when no one can see you.”

So how can we keep our careers on track and still make the most of opportunities, all from the comfort of our shared WFH set-up in the communal kitchen with our flatmates? 

According to the WSJ article, there are four main points to consider two of which I think are worth noting:

Firstly, “check-in”. This means keeping your boss updated on your accomplishments; something that will be especially challenging for women, because frankly we’re still terrible at tooting our own horn. It will be interesting to look back on this season, ten or twenty years from now, and see the growth and trajectory of men’s careers during this season compared to women’s, because women are still statistically less likely to ask for a raise, project or promotion. So my first piece of advice: If you want to get noticed or promoted while WFH, you are going to have to fight against all your natural instincts to stay quiet and be humble.

The WSJ consulted Cali Yost, founder of workplace consulting company Felix + Strategy Group, who recommended providing frequent updates on your progress to your boss, and always making sure you’re clear on your company’s priorities and expectations – especially since these have likely changed in recent months due to Covid. In essence, Yost said, “We need to get way more specific and intentional in the way we do our job”. 

The second piece of advice that I thought was useful, related to how we “stay in the fold”. Even though you’re not in the same vicinity as your colleagues, remember that you are one piece in a much larger puzzle – and your piece is just as crucial to the firm’s success as anyone else’s. Participate in groups chats on platforms like Slack and schedule informal catch-up calls with colleagues  to foster community and maintain a sense of camaraderie (even when you’d rather stick a vape pen in your eye), including those not in your immediate team. 

And don’t forget to be an advocate for someone other than yourself: Make sure your co-workers are included on calls you think they could benefit from or contribute to. Sing their praises when they’re not there. Loop them in on emails where appropriate, and encourage others to loop the person in if you hear them mentioning something that relates to their job. You know what they say: “If you want to go fast, go alone. But if you want to go far, go together.” 

But I think the caveat to all of this has to be: Don’t forget to give yourself a little grace too – this is a f*cking pandemic after all. Don’t become so obsessed with  your career trajectory that all you achieve is burnout and burnout (something I spoke about with Stacey O’Gorman on last week’s episode of What We Call Love). Remind yourself that working from home isn’t just “working from home” anymore – it’s also homeschooling kids, navigating a recession, and reconciling a public health crisis that has no end in sight.

Perspective, people. Perspective.  


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