Working from home can be pretty great, but it also comes with drawbacks. In particular, your time away from the office may be a barrier to advancing your career, building relationships or landing your next promotion.
Many companies are striving for presence equity—seeking to value employees and provide opportunities regardless of where they work or how often they come into the office. But even if your organization is taking these steps, it can still be tough to stay on the radar screen and ensure visibility.
You’ll need to be intentional about how you demonstrate your commitment, engagement, presence and importance—and there are strategies that work best to do just this.
Visibility Is Valuable
Plenty of research has demonstrated people’s behavior is significantly impacted by cognitive biases and mistakes in judgment—ways of interpreting the world and each other that are largely out of our awareness or conscious control. For example, with confirmation bias people tend to seek out and more readily see data which agrees with their current opinions. And with “recency error”, people tend to remember better and weight more heavily the experiences they’ve had most recently.
The implication: When you demonstrate your engagement, others will see future behaviors which reinforce their perceptions of your commitment. Or when you’re present more often (virtually or face-to-face), people will be more likely to keep you top-of-mind.
In addition, sociologically speaking, proximity is one of the primary determinants of relationships. People tend to build stronger relationships with those they see and interact with most frequently. This is largely because they get to know others—what makes them tick, details of their lives and motivations for their behavior.
This is also related to a bias of familiarity in which people tend to prefer and accept people and things that are more familiar, and avoid or shy away from those which are unknown or ambiguous. The implication: Staying in touch will help you build relationships which will matter to your happiness and your career.
A study published in Organizational Science reported that people who had more face time with colleagues—more time observed by others present and working—tended to benefit from getting assignments for better projects and greater career advancement. Researchers found this was the case because their presence was a signal of their commitment to the job, the team and the organization.
The average employee also sees the value of presence for getting ahead. According to a study by ASA and the Harris Poll, 56% of respondents believed those who work in the office 100% of the time have an advantage in getting raises, bonuses and promotions compared with those who work remote 100% of the time. In addition, 95.5% of employers believed remaining visible was important to career advancement, according to a study by Joblist,
The bottom line is that being present, interacting more frequently and getting to know others are important for all kinds of relationships, but also for career growth.
And the good news is you can create visibility in many ways no matter where you work.
Getting On the Radar Screen
Large proportions of employees are taking intentional effort to stay visible. In fact, according to the Joblist data, 38% of employees have gone out of their way to get noticed while working from home and 36% of remote employees had a “visibility strategy” to stay top-of-mind.
Of course staying visible takes extra effort, according to 76% or respondents, but it seems to pay off. The great majority (93%) of managers had a positive impression of employees who were making an effort and staying in touch. In addition, managers said when employees went the extra mile to stay connected, they saw them as more motivated (68%), more engaged (56%) and more productive (56%).
But just as important, the employees had better experiences as well. They reported more satisfaction with their levels of productivity, engagement and job security. In addition, they were less likely to suffer from burnout, imposter syndrome or loneliness.
You can enhance visibility in multiple ways, whether you’re working remote, hybrid or in the office.
#1 – Be Accountable
One of the primary ways to enhance your visibility is through great performance. The Joblist survey found 41% ensured their projects stayed on track and moving forward as a way to enhance their visibility. And 37% focused on details to ensure their work was up to par.
You can also take initiative to identify problems and improve processes. In the survey, 21% of people said they did things outside of their job description, and 21% volunteered for a task for opportunity. Managers reported that when people offered new ideas, it was the number one way they could stay visible, and quantifying their results was also in managers’ top ten ways people could stay connected.
When you promise something, deliver. When you do complete your work, do it well. When someone is counting on you, be sure you come through. You’ll build credibility and people will come to rely on you. Following up, following through and finishing tasks effectively will get you noticed, and it will be the basis for terrific career growth.
#2 – Be Present and Accessible
Another significant way to manage your visibility is to be present, literally and figuratively. Show up in the office when you can, and align your schedule with teammates’ calendars so you’re in the office at the same times as much as possible. When you’re remote, turn on your camera.
Whether you’re interacting from a distance or in person, be focused on the interaction and resist the distraction of devices. Tune in, ask questions and stay engaged with the people around you.
You don’t have to work 24/7 and it’s important to have healthy boundaries, but when you’re working, be accessible and responsive to others. Respond quickly and thoroughly to colleagues’ questions or requests. When you’re out of the office, be sure to communicate it to others so they can plan accordingly.
#3 – Be Connected
Seek out relationships with plenty of people in your organization—those within your team or department, but also those outside of your area. Also initiate interactions with those who are at all levels of the organization.
Increase your visibility by being intentional about working with others, taking the initiative to join a new project team or helping a colleague. In the Joblist survey, 37.4% of people enhanced visibility by helping colleagues with tasks. In addition, 36% checked in with colleagues regularly, and 36% expressed gratitude to others.
Also be sure you’re staying in touch with your leader through regular one-on-one meetings and by reaching out appropriately for problems or to make your boss aware of issues. Track your work and your outcomes in a meaningful way so details about your value and your great results are always available for your boss.
Presence Pays Off
Visibility is related to authenticity. When people sense your real commitment, engagement and dedication, they’ll want to work with you and support your efforts. If you work at a distance, you might need to be more intentional, but ultimately your work will shine through and pay off in career advancement.
I am a Ph.D. sociologist and the author of The Secrets to Happiness at Work exploring happiness, fulfillment and work-life.
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