There’s some truth to the adage: out of sight, out of mind. If you’re a remote worker you may be wondering if this applies to you. Does the adage hold weight on our virtual teams? Are we left to the mercy of cloud-based collaboration tools to remind our employers of our existence? If we’re only “in sight” when we’re on-screen, can we still have an impact on our organizations?
Absolutely you can. Here’s how:
- Deliver value. Your employer doesn’t need a livestream of your home office happenings to know that you’re engaged and productive. Although it’s tempting to confuse office time with productivity, your presence at the water cooler is simply a misleading indicator of value. Let your results speak for themselves. Establish a strong reputation and track record for delivering outcomes that reflect your killer work ethic.
- Get face-to-face when the stakes are high. While remote work offers incredible benefits such as flexibility, work-life balance, and access to otherwise distant talent, there will be times when an in-person meeting pays big dividends for you and your organization. Keep those times in mind and make those meetings happen.
- Implement informal interaction by design. Who says that you can’t hop on a call at the end of the day to simulate the leaving-the-office chatter you might be missing? Or create a Slack channel to share the articles and books that have caught your attention recently? In a remote workspace, informal interaction won’t happen naturally. You have to create it.
- Ask for the feedback that you can’t see. We miss so many nonverbal cues when we’re limited to a shoulders-up, two-dimensional view of our colleagues. You may have to over-compensate on verbal feedback to make up for a lack of body language that we so heavily rely on. Don’t be afraid to ask for the feedback you need. For example, you might say, “I’m not reading your body language. What do you think and how do you feel?”
- Build day-to-day confidence. Your employer needs your feedback as much as you need theirs. Maintaining a day-to-day connection outside of team meetings will give them the feedback and confidence that they need to support you and your colleagues. Take the time to interact meaningfully, and don’t be afraid to reach out yourself. Chances are they need the connection just as much as you do.
Remote work does have its disadvantages just like any other workspace. However, maximizing opportunities for connection, creating psychological safety, and delivering value will help you make a major impact on your organization.