Is remote work and a lack of face-to-face time with the boss derailing career goals and advancement for ambitious employees?
Possibly, but even when working from home, savvy individuals can find ways to demonstrate they possess what it takes to move up in the organization, says Kimberly Roush, founder of All-Star Executive Coaching and co-author of Who Are You… When You Are Big?
“We’re living in a world in which fear and doubt are on the rise, and while staying positive can be a challenge these days, it’s still the route to success,” Roush says. “When we are in a state of positive emotions, we are more creative and resourceful. Even when you are working remotely, there are ways to bring your creativity and resourcefulness into play.”
She offers a few tips on how to put your best foot forward despite the fact you, your colleagues, and your bosses are working miles apart:
• Make the most of virtual meetings. Even when working remotely, employees will have interactions with their supervisors and co-workers through Zoom, email, phone calls or text messages. “Your attitude during those interactions can make a big difference in how your boss views you,” Roush says. “Do you come off as an upbeat problem solver? Are you someone who always comes up with the ideas, or are you someone who squelches them?”
• Don’t let the stress show. The pandemic has taken its toll on nearly everyone, but be careful about letting others know how much the stress is getting to you, Roush says. “You want to be seen as someone who handles stress well, not someone who freaks out when times get tough,” she says. “COVID-19 isn’t going to be the last crisis your company faces, and career advancement is more likely to happen for those who can show they handle difficulties well.” Meanwhile, she says, one way to reduce your stress is to do things that make you happy, such as listening to a favorite song, playing with your dogs, or taking a walk around the neighborhood.
• Be a leader even when you aren’t a leader. Anyone who wants to be promoted into a leadership position would do well to take time during this remote-working period to study how good leaders perform, Roush says. “People want to be around the best leaders because they release a positive energy that spreads to others,” she says. “They establish a company culture in which that energy thrives and where employees certainly feel comfortable to be themselves. People want to feel that they make things happen of their own volition, and powerful leaders have the gift of encouragement. They are servant leaders who are clear about what they stand for—they have led themselves first—and now they are interested in fostering the greatness in those whom they lead.”
• Be aware of who influences you.  As you keep in touch with friends and co-workers while you stay home, be careful about who you let into your remote inner circle, Roush says. “If you have naysayers around you telling you, ‘No, you can’t,’ then they can hamper that spirit of boldness, the voice of the champion who says, ‘Yes, you can,’ ” she says. “If you aspire to move into a leadership position, or move further up the leadership chain, you must pay attention to who influences you.”
“Even in today’s remote world,” Roush says, “the way you think about things greatly affects what you can accomplish and the opportunities you will encounter.”