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Nathan Freestone, Nathan-Freestone, Advice...

How to progress when working from home

Worryingly, over half of professionals feel that the move to remote working has negatively impacted their careers. From the inability to network to increased mental ill-health, poor internal connections and less opportunities to showcase evidence of progression, concerns around whether climbing the career ladder at the same rate as pre-pandemic is possible are rife.

However, despite these findings, a surprising number of employees have expressed an interest in the continuation of remote working on either a full-time or part-time basis. A study by HBS found that 81 per cent would like to continue working remotely. As we move into an era where working from home is seemingly going to become the norm, it’s crucial that employees use the technology available, as well as their new-found soft skills, to hit their professional goals and avoid stagnating.

 

Stay visible in the virtual workplace

Speaking up in meetings can be daunting for many, but in a virtual environment where social cues are near-impossible to follow and internet lag can cause delays, it can be even harder. In fact, a recent study found that one in five women felt that they’ve been ignored in online meetings.

If you’re struggling to be heard online, ensure to send a round-up of your thoughts after the meeting to get your points across. More importantly, raise the concerns you are having with your employer and work together to find a way to ensure all voices are heard equally in a virtual environment. Potential ways to implement this can be through ‘round-robin’ style meetings or implementing a policy where talking points are submitted to a designated spokesperson prior to the meeting.

 

Don’t be afraid to network online

It can feel inauthentic building relationships online, but they’re just as valuable as those created offline. Attending online industry events can be a great way to get to know professionals who could be brilliant to add to your network; use LinkedIn to its full potential post-event by connecting with fellow attendees and strike up conversation. You never know who might hold the key to helping you take the next step in your career.

Also, don’t forget that because of the pandemic, several platforms have diversified and now have brilliant networking offerings. Instagram Live Stories, Tweet chats and Clubhouse are all options to explore alongside your more traditional webinars and Zoom meets.

 

Look to upskill where possible

According to a report by McKinsey, back in 2017 a large number (87 per cent) of business owners reported skills gaps within their companies. As we know, this problem has only been exacerbated by COVID-19. Employers are desperately looking for talent which can plug those gaps, and finding candidates from within their own organisations saves on hiring costs in a continually turbulent time.

Where possible, grab opportunities to upskill with both hands. Whether it’s free online learning courses which broaden the depth and breadth of your current knowledge or taking on diplomas or educational degrees in your spare time to learn a brand-new talent, taking the initiative to learn will undoubtedly help yourself and your business grow.

Working from home can offer endless benefits, from eradicating the commute to allowing more time to take on hobbies. Giving employees more freedom to achieve a good work/life balance is welcomed, however, areas such as progression may be a little harder in a virtual setting. By taking proactive steps to get yourself seen and heard by the right people and at the right time, you may dodge the risk of standing still for too long and you can ensure your job satisfaction will improve dramatically.