It’s a familiar question that has come up for anyone who has ever held a job on a long-term basis: what are my end goals within this company? Typically, these goals include moving into senior positions where there’s flexibility to take on more leadership opportunities. And, with a lot of hard work and dedication, in-house employees can bump up the career ladder with ease.
But what about remote employees? Just as in-house workers have aspirations to grow within a company, so do those working remotely. There are plenty of ways they can develop their leadership potential and become invaluable at the workplace — here are six pointers to get started.
The old adage of “out of sight, out of mind” is one that still rings true in many ways, so staying visible and communicating regularly with your team is a must. It’s not enough to simply wait and rely on your manager to reach out to you. The ball is now in your court to overcommunicate.
Take initiative in reaching out and staying connected. If you can’t make an in-person visit, schedule one-on-one video meetings or group discussions. Join a group chat to take the conversation with your coworkers off of an email chain. And when in doubt, pick up the phone and give your manager or team members a call if you have questions.
Additionally, make sure everyone knows your availability. Never disappear for long stretches of time without being responsive! If you need to suddenly leave for an undetermined amount of time, let the team know where you’re heading and how they can contact you until you return.
2. Sharpen your writing skills.
As a remote worker, a big chunk of your daily correspondence centers on email. If you write a hasty email in an office and nobody understands it, you can easily meet up with everyone to explain the message. The same can’t be said for working outside of the office where vague emails may confuse or irritate your fellow teammates, especially if they’re sent frequently.
Sharpen your writing skills to create emails that are thoroughly clear in tone. Keep the message simple. Since so much of your day-to-day is documented, having succinct messages to refer back to is helpful in understanding your duties and priorities.
3. Get in a goal-oriented state of mind.
One of the best things anyone can do to highlight their leadership potential is to go above and beyond with their workload. Rather than settle for working on deadlines that you have been assigned right now and leaving it at that, consider how you can contribute to the future of the business.
Ask for more and challenge yourself to do more. Speak with your boss or manager about how you can get involved in weekly, monthly, and quarterly goals. Brainstorm ideas, create a new project that you can take the lead on, and set goals for said project to reach along the way. By balancing your existing workload with one that is self-initiated, you build a better understanding for prioritizing work with looking at the bigger picture.
4. Keep your space, and overall day, organized.
A technique I have always found to be effective when getting organized is to identify the top three items you want to accomplish that day. Write them down. This allows you to focus on what’s beyond the to-do list, and gives you a bit of perspective on what the day will look like and the best places to put your energy.
Remote workers know better than anyone else that the work they do needs to be visible to everyone. They also know just how visible their workspace is to anyone watching them via Skype or FaceTime. Be just as professional working remotely as you would be in the office. Create a schedule that allows you enough time to set aside for in-depth tasks and an environment to work in that fosters that kind of productive thinking. Work out of a space that is distraction-free, dress business casual, and keep your surrounding area tidied up.
5. Energize yourself.
Working remotely presents the challenge of being constantly alert and hyper-attentive to delivering excellent work… Forever, right? Make it a point to balance your hard work with focusing on your well-being each day. Go for a walk during your morning break; brew a fresh cup of tea for the afternoon, practice mindfulness with deep breathing exercises, and even journal briefly to energize and nourish your sense of self to avoid burnout.
6. Become a remote representative of your company.
If you live and work in an area where your company does not have a presence, discuss with your employer the possibility of being a remote brand ambassador. Whether that means joining a local speaker panel event or attending a trade show on behalf of the business, you’ll be able to expose countless others to your company and educate them on what it does, establishing valuable connections. You’ll also be able to show the business your continuing active role in it — if not for you working remotely these connections (and potential customers) might never have known about your business!