2020 brought a lot of “firsts” to our lives, and a big one of those was the huge number of people who had to transition from working in an office to working from home. And it wasn’t easier said than done. Working from home has so many challenges, despite the comfort of your surroundings. If you’ve been working from home for the past several months like many of us have, you may be feeling a little stagnant. Because when you take a lot of the “office culture” day-to-day interactions out of the equation, you may be feeling like you’re just checking tasks off of a to-do list. If one of your goals for the new year is to grow in your career or potentially get a promotion, don’t let your WFH surroundings cause you to lose heart. If anything, now more than ever is the time to push yourself and find ways to make you stand out from the crowd, even when you’re not in the same room.
Proactively solicit feedback
Your employers and supervisors likely have a lot on their plate, and critiquing your performance might not be at front of mind. Don’t wait for your annual review to request feedback. Proactively seeking out feedback not only shows your manager that you’re earnestly looking to grow in your role, but getting feedback of any nature will only make you a better employee and a better human.
Working from home means implementing a lot of self-discipline if you want to grow in your career. One of my tried-and-true ways to maintain positive career growth is by staying as organized and on track as possible. These new 2021 planners from Talking Out Of Turn are incredible. They have everything you need for your daily tasks, your big projects, your goals and more. It’s a WFH must-have.
Keep your network alive + kickin’
Networking is a necessary part of growing in your chosen career, no matter where you are on the path. Unfortunately, networking is now currently limited to digital interaction for the most part, but don’t let that cause you to disconnect. It’s definitely not as easy to maintain those connections without coffee meetings and happy hours, but if you’re proactive about it, you can make it work. Join Facebook groups in your field where you can network digitally with people outside of your company. You never know what opportunities might pop up or what connections you might make. Want to stay connected internally? Suggest creating some sort of platform where you can give shoutouts or kudos to team members who are crushing it. A little bit of goodwill goes a long way these days.
Learn future-forward skills
Is there a certain skill you want to get better at, or one you could learn that could help you achieve that promotion? It always looks good to those above you when you take the proactive approach and dive into something progressive on your own. Learn some basics about it online. Do a combination of research, reading articles, taking an online class on a platform like Coursera and finding open-source learning opportunities.
Level up your communication
I’ve been working remotely for about five years now and I can tell you the number-one pet peeve of employers of a remote team is lack of communication. There’s a lot that slips through the cracks when you’re not in the same vicinity. Pick several times throughout the day to batch your emails so your coworkers and managers have a certain expectation of communication timelines. Use a direct messaging platform like Slack to stay in constant contact and easily accessible. Depending upon your job, it can be important for your team to feel like they can connect with you during work hours with the same ease they would in the office. I’m not saying you have to make yourself accessible 24/7, but when it’s working hours, act like you’re in the physical office when it comes to your communication. Or, if you know you’ll have certain periods of time where you need to concentrate without distractions, communicate that ahead of time. Again, the name of the game here is all about being proactive. Setting expectations is a lot easier than relishing excuses later on.