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CTDO Magazine

Virtual, But Visible

Stand out even if you aren’t in the office.

Since 2015, I have been working remotely for the Association for Talent Development. During those 15 years, I’ve learned how to sustain my productivity and discover efficiencies, manage tech in new ways, and balance my home and work life.

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More importantly, I have found ways to stay informed about the organization’s business needs and strategic plans, be attuned to cultural nuances, and collaborate with others to ensure my ideas were heard.

Working virtual doesn’t mean you are out of sight and out of mind. Here are some hacks for maintaining visibility while working remotely.

Give regular updates

If you’re only communicating with team members on an ad hoc or sporadic basis, chances are you may start to disappear into the background. Becki Hall, marketing and communications specialist for UK-based Inzpire, notes in a Medium article  that for workers who are remote, “overall visibility will be synonymous with regularity.”

This can be particularly important during periods of crisis or change, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Simply put, your boss and co-workers need to hear from you on a continual basis so they can build a connection to you.

Melody Wilding, an executive coach and Forbes contributor, adds that you may even want to put together a report each Friday that details your or your team’s progress and send it to managers and seniors leaders. “This shouldn’t just be a laundry list of tasks,” she writes in a Forbes article. “Rather, frame it in terms of accomplishments and results.”

Be confident during online meetings

Speaking up during remote meetings helps you make your presence felt in the workplace. It sounds simple, right? But being heard during these online meetings is easier said than done.

Flexjobs—a job search site specializing in remote, part-time, and freelance opportunities—indicates that it can be hard to know whether someone has finished speaking or is simply pausing to take a breath during online meetings. There may seem to be more talking over others in this mode of communication.

The company advises individuals to make sure their voices sound strong and confident, particularly if their team only uses phone or video calls to connect. Doing so will help you “create a more positive impression rather than if you meekly try to make your point or express an opinion.”

Share what you know

Pamela Bump, audience growth marketing manager for HubSpot, recommends finding ways to publish and discuss online what you know. For instance, if your company has a blog or wiki for individuals to post content and updates, use it to write about your ongoing projects and achievements.

Another option is to consider writing a blog post on your own site, an industry site, or LinkedIn. But be sure to share those posts with your colleagues.

Writing about what you've learned in your work will enable colleagues to learn more about you, your role, and what you’ve accomplished. Fellow employees may also be interested in reaching out to you for questions about your insights or to work with you on a project.

Go above and beyond

One of the biggest potential downsides of working outside of the office is being overlooked for sought-after roles or projects. But it can happen. Staffing firm Robert Half advises remote workers to volunteer for new initiatives or special assignments. Then to ensure your name comes to mind when a leader is needed for the next new project, use these opportunities to liaise with colleagues and senior management.

Bump adds that while helping with a project or joining a group that doesn't directly affect your job may seem like a lot to take on right now with so many things in flux, it can actually be fun and help you bond with colleagues you wouldn’t know otherwise.

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No doubt, you’re going to need to do extra to stay visible at your company when you work remotely. According to freelancer Cheryl Locke, one good way to do that is by becoming the “yes” person—within reason, of course.

That means not only going above and beyond in your assigned work and role but “being the person to take on problems that no one else wants,” Locke says. She tells Remote.co, an online community for companies that see remote work as an opportunity, that by becoming a resource on whom leaders and co-workers can depend, you ensure they’ll never forget you, even when you aren’t physically in front of them every day.

Toot your own horn

Everyone wants to be acknowledged for good work. In a remote work environment, there may be fewer opportunities for managers to offer praise. Karen Lachtanski is a public relations and marketing professional who is a remote worker for Y Soft. She explains in an Entrepreneur article that it’s up to remote workers to ensure they share their accomplishments broadly to the stakeholders with whom they interact.

She recommends submitting stories about your efforts to your company’s internal newsletter or other formal team communications. She says that initially, she was hesitant to do this, but she found that others welcome her occasionally sharing an accomplishment without overly bragging. Even better, people are generally interested to hear the news.

Be eager to learn

As a remote employee, willingness to learn is critical and can make a difference in meeting deadlines. For example, you can either halt work in the middle of a project and wait for training on a new software you need to use or take the initiative and check out some YouTube videos, partake of online tutorials, or find a user community that can answer some general questions.

Caileen Kehayas Holden, content director for Career Contessa, recommends that remote workers take advantage of any learning incentives your company offers. For instance, if you’re in a project management role, ask to learn about different project management systems.

Think about the skills you need to succeed in this new world of work, such as digital literacy or modern communication tools, and find opportunities to learn them. In short, because everyone is uncertain about the future, now more than ever, you should always be learning.

Read more from CTDO magazine: Essential talent development content for C-suite leaders.

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About the Author

Ryann K. Ellis is an editor for the Association of Talent Development (ATD). She has been covering workplace learning and performance for ATD (formerly the American Society for Training & Development) since 1995. She currently sources and authors content for TD Magazine and CTDO, as well as manages ATD's Community of Practice blogs. Contact her at [email protected] 

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