The latest emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic has required many employees to work from home that otherwise do not. Adjusting to working remotely is a shift overall, but an added challenge while working remotely is keeping the status quo in your influence and reputation. You may feel like if you are not being physically seen, you are not getting recognition. The good news is that working remotely can provide new opportunities to communicate across your organization and build connections.
1. Communicate your schedule with others
Start off with the basics – communicate your schedule. While it may seem like an obvious step, working remotely is an adjustment for everyone and it is important to communicate your day-to-day schedule with your manager and colleagues. When in doubt, over-communicate.
This will set realistic expectations and will allow others to know when you are available (or unavailable).
For example, if you like to take a walk from 3-4pm everyday, share this with others and let them know that you will be off the grid. It also allows others to feel comfortable communicating their schedule and encouraging them to find their own work-life balance. If your company is using a messenger service, consider setting your status to available or away as appropriate.
For those working from home with children or other family obligations, it is crucial to explain your limitations to your manager. Many professionals in this situation are making up time during unconventional working hours such as early mornings or at night. While it can seem like a good plan to make up work when you are not otherwise caregiving, it can be difficult. Be sure to ask for support as needed, and explain where your challenges are. Working from morning to night on a regular basis is probably not sustainable, and coming up with a plan that works for you, your manager and your team is an important consideration.
2. Stay in touch
Check-in with your colleagues regularly – both on a professional and personal level. Ask others about their workload and how they are managing, while also allowing space to ask about their personal lives and how they and their family are adjusting. Communication and community is more important than ever, and it will be appreciated. Many people are feeling isolated due to the stay-at-home orders and a friendly hand reaching out can do wonders. Consider setting up virtual lunch dates or happy hours for colleagues to connect on a casual level.
This is also an opportunity to develop relationships with others that you may not otherwise be close to. Check-in with them, ask them how their families are, and if there is anything you or your team can do to support them. These types of gestures go a long way, especially during a global crisis and times of uncertainty.
For more tips on building community at work, check out Community and Connection in the Workplace – Why it Matters and How to Build It
3. Stay up to date with your company and industry
Companies are making additional efforts to communicate with employees now more than ever. Take advantage of company communications that are being distributed, including live video streams. Consider starting conversations with colleagues regarding company updates, or acknowledging the efforts that leadership is making to communicate across the organization. It will show that you are paying attention and care about your company.
Consider blocking time on your calendar for professional development and researching your industry. Listen to podcasts or read blogs and share what you are learning. Reposting interesting articles on LinkedIn is an easy way to do this – it both builds your LinkedIn profile but also increases your visibility.
Follow key players on LinkedIn and share their posts. To ensure that you also get visibility while sharing helpful information, be sure to also broaden your LinkedIn network by adding connections – look for others who work at your company or within your industry. Send a simple note asking them to connect, while sending well wishes. This will allow more people to see the great pieces of information that you are sharing, and give you additional credibility as a professional.
4. Keep perspective
During the pandemic, many people are balancing family, work, anxiety, parenting, wellness, etc. all during the same hours of the day. It can be overwhelming and work can feel like an obligation pulling you away from other things. Keeping perspective related to work is a helpful way to clear your head and refocus. Otherwise, you run the risk of pushing work away as a stressor that needs to be avoided. While difficult, try to embrace all aspects of your life during these trying times including your work life. To do this, take a step back and remind yourself of the value of your work.
- What do you bring to your workplace, your team, your colleagues?
- What do you get out of your work? Why is it important to you?
- Why did you choose this career?
- Why did you choose your company? What company values do you most resonate with?
When you are feeling out of touch with your work, reminding yourself of why you do the work that you do is a helpful strategy to get back into work mode. There are multiple distractions at play while working from home during a pandemic, and it can be easy to lose perspective. Be gentle with yourself while you try to leave space and room for all your priorities. At the same time, do not forget the importance of acknowledging your professional self and your work as a valued part of your life and identity.
While times are uncertain, your career does not have to feel that way. By prioritizing communication, building connections with others and your own professional development, you will be able to stay relevant in not only your job but also your industry.
For more ideas on how to stay relevant in your job, consider working with a career coach. A coach can help you identify action steps to gain visibility, build connections and advance your career. Check out our executive coaching services and sign up for a free consultation here.