In-person, hybrid, or virtual? This is a question starting to go through people's minds as companies share their vision and plans for post-pandemic work environments. According to a recent report from McKinsey, more than 50% of employees would prefer a more flexible working model (hybrid or virtual). However, this raises a concern about managing your career at a distance and staying visible when you may be the only person ‘zooming’ into a meeting while everyone else is in the room.

 

If you are a part of the 50% that would prefer to have a flexible work environment, here are some habits and practices that will help you successfully navigate your career in a remote setting. 

 

Be fully present during meetings

Despite working from home, being present during meetings (even virtually) is critically important to build your visibility and stay top of mind with your team, manager, and other functions. To boost your presence during meetings:   

  • Keep your camera on all the time and remain visibly engaged. 

  • Enhance your participation by asking questions and sharing your thoughts or using the chat function and emoji reactions to interact with others. 

  • Join early to engage in casual conversations with others who might have also joined early and use the private chat to make small talk to build relationships with your colleagues. 

 

Collaborate and strengthen relationships

Collaboration is a great way to share ideas, skills, and best practices to achieve a common goal and a great way to build and strengthen relationships. 

  • Create spaces for virtual collaboration with your team members vs. doing things on your own and sending them to each other separately. 

  • Look for ways to collaborate in projects or activities outside of your regular area of influence. It will help you build relationships with people you wouldn’t otherwise connect with. 

  • Suggest holding virtual open office hours where people can drop in to brainstorm a project, ask for help, or support each other. 

 

Build your strategic network

Strategic relationships are mutually beneficial relationships that help you open new doors and opportunities and offer critical insight to aid in your career growth. 

  • Schedule 20min virtual coffee chats with key people in your organization to learn more about what they are doing, what their challenges are, and find synergies where you can help each other out. 

  • Reach out to mentors who can guide and help you reach your career goals despite the virtual environment. 

  • Identify advocates and allies who can advocate for you when you are not present during important career growth conversations. 

 

Keep learning and take on stretch assignments 

Stretch assignments provide opportunities to expand your knowledge and strengthen your skills and competencies. 

  • Seek out opportunities to work with other teams and functions for a short period of time. It will help build your skillset and expertise and expand your network, building more robust relationships.

  • Identify skills and competencies you want to improve or learn and ask your manager for projects that can help you build these. 

 

Have a clear career plan and align it with your manager

One of the most significant barriers to career growth is not having a formal career plan to express your career goals, identifying your strengths, and establishing specific actions to strengthen your current performance.  

  • Establish a formal career plan for the next two to three years.

  • Schedule regular and open conversations with your manager about what you would need to achieve your career goals. Discuss any potential barriers that being in a virtual environment can bring. 

  • Share your career objectives with your mentors, sponsors, and advocates so they can provide insight and support to accomplish your future goals.

 

Employees who successfully navigate their career either in person or virtually, are those who are always looking for ways to bring value, create positive impact and develop and sustain meaningful professional relationships.

 

This article was written in partnership with getWise - a technology platform that provides on-demand expert advice for small businesses and women to accelerate their business or career.  

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