how to stay visible and get promoted as a remote worker

If you’ve read any of my previous posts on this blog, you probably already know that working remotely comes with its fair share of perksNot only are remote workers happier, more productive and less stressed

...They also eat healthier, are more engaged with their work, and are more likely to stick around with their employer

And with more companies catching on to the benefits of remote work for employers, the future of remote work looks pretty bright. Check out these stats on how the non-traditional workforce will look in the next eight years (courtesy of Randstad’s Workforce 2025 report):

But, remote work also comes with its own set of unique challenges, too. Take the results of this study for example:

Nicholas Bloom found that working remotely resulted in a 13 percent performance increase versus traditional workplace employees.

Sounds good so far, right? But, here’s the problem Bloom found:

despite better performance, remote workers are 50 percent less likely to receive performance-based promotions than traditional workplace employees.

Why? Bloom offers up a few possible answers, including:

1. remote workers are turning down promotions.

It’s true - one of the proposed theories behind why remote workers see less promotions than traditional office workers is that they...well...don’t want the promotion.

A 2016 study from Deloitte found that millennials - who will make up over half of the global workforce by 2020 and helped inspire the current shift toward remote work - prioritize work-life balance over their own career progression.

 

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Promotions mean more responsibility, so, it’s reasonable to assume that at least some remote workers are turning down those opportunities in order to keep their current work-life balance intact.

But, that’s not the only explanation:

2. many believe you need to be on-site to be a good leader

Even with more companies embracing the transition to remote workmany business leaders have a hard time shaking the idea that a good leader needs to be in the same location as his or her team.

And while managing a remote team can be a unique challenge for leaders, there’s no reason to believe a manager working remotely will be any less effective than their in-office counterparts.

In fact, as remote work continues to expand its reach, companies should be planning for the future by training future managers for the skills needed to effectively manage remotely(And to be fair, plenty of companies are already doing this.) 

But, there’s another big problem remote workers face when aiming for a promotion:

3. lack of visibility leads to remote workers getting left behind

Fact: face-to-face interactions help solidify better relationships.

And better relationships - particularly with those more senior to you in your organization - often lead to more opportunities.

But, when working remotely, you may rarely talk to your manager, nevermind get the chance to sit down for an in-person meeting with them. A study from TINYpulse shows 47 percent of remote workers talk with their manager at most once-per-week.

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And sadly enough, that alone may be the reason you’re not getting promoted. It’s the age-old expression:

out of sight, out of mind.

And it affects remote workers immensely when vying for an open position.

Luckily, there’s plenty you can do to try and get ahead of the problem.

5 tips for staying visible when working remotely

1. start sharing wins in team meetings

Sharing personal and professional wins offers a chance for each member of your team to share one big win experienced since you last met from both their personal and professional life.

The practice is awesome because it gives you the opportunity to share a big success from your week in a way that doesn’t come across as boastful or arrogant. The more you can expose your manager to your professional accomplishments directly, the more likely he or she will remember you come promotion time.

2. keep a log of your successes

Here’s a fairly unsavoury fact for you: studies have shown that narcissists get promoted more often than us non-naval-gazers. Why?

One possible explanation may be that narcissists do a better job of remembering their successes and being their own biggest cheerleader during review season. And as a result, they can easily overcome the recency bias - a natural inclination for managers to evaluate you based on recent rather than cumulative performance.

Here’s the good news: you don’t need to be a narcissist to get past the recency bias.

Keeping a log of your successes ensures you have a full history of your wins to present to leadership when the time comes for your review or a promotional opportunity shows itself.

And to be clear: your log doesn’t need to be this long, detailed account of your wins. Take 30 minutes on a Friday afternoon to answer this question:“What’s the most important thing I accomplished this week?”

And then give a brief account of what happened, who was involved, and what impact that accomplishment had on your company.

3. find a mentor

Latching yourself onto a more senior member of your team helps advance your career through quality coaching and guidance. That alone should be enough an incentive to find yourself a mentor.

But the truth is, there’s another big reason you should find yourself a mentor within your company:

It helps establish more visibility for you with senior leadership.

A mentor can coach you on how to navigate your way toward a promotion, and they can be the little bird chirping in the ears of your leadership team when that big promotional opportunity opens up.

4. insist on video chat meetings

If you can’t be face-to-face, video conferencing is the next best thing.

And considering the impact face-to-face relationships has on your ability to get promoted as a remote worker, you should be adamant about making sure any meeting with your manager takes place over a Google Hangout or other free video conferencing software.

Simple as that.

And finally, here’s my last one for you:

5. don’t be afraid to ask for a promotion

A 2014 study from Accenture showed that though less than half of workers ever ask for a promotion, 68 percent of those that do actually get promoted. In other words: asking for a promotion may just be the most effective way to get on your manager’s radar for bigger opportunities.

wrapping up

Staying visible should be a top priority for any remote worker and with these 5 tips, you should have no problem getting your name in the hat for future promotions.

What else do you do to stay visible while working remotely?

about the author

Zack Andersen - Freelance Content Writer

After three years in recruiting and two with LinkedIn, I recently embarked on a new adventure with my wife and one-year-old son to travel the world while building my content creation business, ZackWrites.com. I'm excited to share my journey and the insights I learn along the way with the Randstad community.

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