There is no need to wonder anymore how to prove yourself at work. Follow these tips and you’ll stand out as a hard-working remote employee.
A big motivator for many professionals is showing our employers we’re the right person for the job. When we earn that recognition, it means our managers have noticed our efforts and realize that we’re giving our best to the company. But for employees of big businesses and busy startups, standing out can be a challenge, simply as a function of staff numbers and time. That challenge increases exponentially when you’re invisible!
OK, so as citizens of Remote Nation© we’re not wearing magic cloaks à la Harry Potter, but our visibility is lower than that of our co-workers who office onsite, of course. So, how to prove yourself at work if work is your home or a coffee house? When it comes to advantages in this effort, what we lack in profile and proximity, we make up for with a lack of distractions and plenty of opportunities to communicate effectively.
While some cling to the belief that remote workers are lounging around in their pajamas watching talk shows, Gallup’s recent State of the American Workplace report shows that they “log an average of four more hours per week than their on-site counterparts.” In addition, remote workers are “slightly more engaged (32%) than employees who work on-site (28%).”
What does this data mean for you? Two things. First, that in this day and age you have equal standing with your office-based co-workers, and shouldn’t feel inferior. Second, that companies are increasingly relying on you to step up and, yes, stand out. Here’s how you can do just that.
Set Your Terms
Within reason, it’s important that you be assertive and advocate for yourself. You must negotiate boundaries for your day to avoid overworking, but also to give your supervisor a good grasp of what to expect. Believe me, they’ll appreciate it. It’s hard to unplug and power down as a remote professional, but being upfront with your employer about scheduling, availability, and deadlines will have a positive impact on your productivity in the long run. It will also help you build a steady workflow and keep your promises on deliverables.
Establish Your Reputation
Reputation is everything as a remote employee. Build trust by doing what you say you’re going to do and doing more for the people who do more for you. Chart out a plan, get with the program, and stick to it. If telecommuting is new to you – and, more to the point, if it’s new to your company – you might have to go that extra mile to make sure colleagues know you’re producing at the agreed upon pace. If and when you do get the chance to go to the office, use face-to-face moments strategically: Schedule time with people so you can shake hands, grab lunch, talk shop, and maintain that professional camaraderie.
Make Your Presence Known
When you’re a digital worker, people can’t see you in the next cubicle over or downstairs in the cafeteria. Making sure your boss and your onsite co-workers view you as a proven professional – not to mention a real person! – requires you to create a “visible” presence even though you’re physically absent. For instance, on conference calls, use video whenever possible so your image is present in people’s minds. Take advantage of opportunities to use a photo of yourself for messaging services and intra-company correspondence. Be more than a voice on the phone or an email “From:” line.
Get a feel for how your colleagues communicate, and find that happy medium. When it comes to contributing to the company-wide conversation, you want to “upload” as much as you “download.” Establish informal electronic touch-points with important people in your network. Say hi, share a good quote, a positive link, relevant memes, and other content without becoming a spammy pest. Make an effort to keep in touch: Set up regular, scheduled check-ins via video and phone. Develop a format for regular written summary updates. Don’t bombard your boss, but keep them updated so that they never have to guess.
How to Prove Yourself at Work as a Remote Employee: The Bottom Line
As a remote worker, you’re a pioneer in a rapidly growing phenomenon. This is not without its challenges, including the need to prove yourself at work when working at home. But you’ve got this! Just make sure to set your terms, establish your reputation, make your presence known, and stay connected.
What advice do you have for Remote Nation© when it comes to proving yourself at work as a digital professional? Let me know in the comments!