How to Get Noticed as a Remote Worker
Competition for promotions, raises, and other benefits from management is a healthy part of the traditional office. Working remotely takes employees out of supervisors’ physical line of sight and that can cause some confusion. Figuring out how to stay visible and progress your career after a transition to a digital office just requires a little bit of cleverness.
Even though all or part of the team might be working remotely, it’s still very much possible to try too hard to get on the good side of higher-ups. Communication is crucial to team cohesion when remote positions are involved but there’s a fine line between staying in touch and badgering people.
Whether you want to know how to get a promotion in general or you want to update your tactics for a new remote job, you can use this article as a guide to help shape your short- and long-term strategy to progress your career.
Standout Qualities for Promoting Remote Workers
Particular companies and managers will differ in their preferences for various qualities in all their workers, not just remote ones. However, there are a few things that all companies look for in remote workers that it will help to keep in mind if you’re working toward a promotion or a raise and you want to outshine the competition.
Motivation is a huge factor. In the office, there might have been several people who would stay more or less on top of you and keep you on your deadlines. Remote work doesn’t completely erase oversight potential, but it doesn’t work quite the same way as the traditional office setup.
That means remote workers have to be self-starters who can motivate themselves to produce their best work and do so on time. The more the higher-ups see that work is being done well and on time without their having to intervene, the better your potential for a management role where the same behavior will be expected.
But they also don’t want to see people who fall into a groove and stay there, not progressing or taking on any new responsibilities. That kind of behavior probably won’t get you let go, but depending on your current role in the company it could certainly limit your promotion prospects.
Teamwork is essential for creatives who work on a marketing team, in an art department, or alongside many non-creative stakeholders who need to be kept up to date on project developments. But what should remote teamwork look like?
How to Get a Promotion With Superior Communication
The first thing new remote workers in all fields need to know is that communication is much more intentional in digital workspaces. As important as it is to brainstorm, strategize, cowork, and present results to everyone on the team, you have to reach out to explicitly gain and share such information when people are working remotely.
Promoting remote workers probably won’t hinge solely on how good they are at communicating, but you can bet it’s going to be high-priority. A consistent trend amongst managers who are anxious about making the switch to remote work is that they fear productivity is going to plummet when they aren’t physically there to goad their employees on.
The good news is that this has been proven to be untrue. But if you want to convince your stakeholders and bosses that going remote is a good idea, you have to show them that your productivity is still as great as it ever was, if not better. When you’re on a creative team, your productivity is likely tied directly to communication.
Remote Work Tips for Better Communication
For some people, reaching out enough without overdoing can be a tough balancing act. That’s because it taps directly into your personality – people who love to chat with coworkers will naturally do so in the group chat and might risk bothering others while naturally reserved people will reach out less and might be viewed as overly distance, detached, or flat-out not hard-working enough by everyone else.
Here are a few ways you can boost your communication skills when you’re working remotely in a creative field:
- Reach Out More Often
Get in touch with your coworkers and management when you have information for them, especially when they haven’t asked for it yet, and you’ll be saving them a significant effort. Don’t needle people with incomplete updates or fill up the chatbox with irrelevant things, but update them regularly. You’ll be showing that you’re available and open to communication.
- Define Your Work Day
This is one of the most important remote work tips. Be clear about when you’re on the clock and when you’ve logged off for the day. Nobody should have to be on call all the time. This is important for work-life balance, especially on remote teams where different members might be located in different time zones.
Management should have already agreed to the working hours for the various team members, but use status updates and visible schedules to let everyone know when you can be reached. Everyone on the team can do this in a single document to make everything easier.
- Make Room for Leisure
As long as it doesn’t distract from work, creating a #breakroom or #watercooler chat where the team can have conversations about things not related to business is a good way to keep everyone on friendly terms even when they don’t see each other in person very often or at all.
Creatives have a unique opportunity here because they likely all share a dedication to various art forms. A chatroom about craft questions and tips will foster teamwork and build better brainstorming. One great idea is to have space for people to post what they’re working on that week and share critiques.
- Organize Video Calls
Zoom meetings give people a visual that is lacking from other conference calls. People with work-from-home fatigue might be tired of face-to-face meetings, but if they’re done correctly they should help people stay engaged with one another. Plus, they allow people to get a limited glimpse into the personal lives of their coworkers.
The trick here is not to overdo it. Having morning meetings is a great remote work tip to get everyone motivated, especially on Mondays. But if you have too many video meetings people could start to grow tired of them, especially if most of the participants are a passive audience.
- Keep Records
It’s not necessarily to have proof or evidence as much as it’s a way to look back at what has been done or agreed upon, by whom, and when. No one is going to pour back over the whole hour-long meeting you just had, but assign someone to keep minutes and encourage all team members to calendar their new tasks and deadlines.
This is also the best way to show progress, which is something remote teams are always trying to do more of. If you have a note of where you started, you can see where you wind up much more clearly. That’s a great motivator for the whole team.
Remote Work Tips: How to Get a Promotion With Ace Videoconferencing
Facilitating any of the remote work tips we just discussed is sure to get you noticed as a proactive member of the team. But if you’re participating in regular videoconferences, there are a few other things you can do to leave a consistently good impression.
1- Don’t Talk Over People
Even when you’re on great wifi, the number of people on the platform can cause some delays or skips in the sound. Don’t jump into speaking too quickly and make sure everyone has had time to finish their thoughts before you weigh in with yours. This will not only make you look better to your superiors but it will also make your coworkers like you more.
2- Help Keep Things In Order
Offer to run a continuing list of speakers so everyone can go one-by-one and finish their thoughts. Ask questions for clarification and make sure to explicitly cover all the actionable conclusions from the meeting at its conclusion. Just remember that unless you’ve been given authority to run the meeting, you’re not in charge and so you shouldn’t get too bossy.
3- Volunteer for Projects and Help
Every team member should have a contribution to the team effort. If you have spare time, volunteer to spearhead new tasks or projects as they come. Make sure people know you can also be a supporting player by offering to help when someone else is spearheading things. This is another great way to leave a good impression on both the bosses and your coworkers.
4- Offer Consistent Deliverables
Stakeholders are probably only going to know what you’re working on by the deliverables you send them. UX designers might have new research findings to present or some prototype wireframes, for example. Whatever your position, you can streamline the communication between stakeholders and creatives by always having the same type of deliverable ready for them to see.
5- Humanize Your Coworkers
When all you see of people is a rectangle with their photo in it, it can be difficult to remember that they’re real folks with unique interests and hobbies. Make an effort to note the quarks your coworkers have and not only will they like you better but you’ll also be more comfortable with them. The whole remote office environment can change for the better that way.
Embrace Technology for Great Creative Remote Work
Managers looking at promoting remote workers always look for innovative people. After all, most businesses have growth as one of their central goals, and innovation is how you get there.
If you’re a remote creative worker, learn all there is to know about all the software you need to do the job. If you have extra time, figure out what some competitors are using to make their products and learn a bit about that as well.
New tech can also help people stay more connected. Videoconferencing platforms are put to great use in presentations by people who know how to use them. Other software that’s used to hold remote conferences and seminars can provide continuing education to creatives that understand the host platform.
Always Be Networking
Remember that you have a personal brand just like the company has its employment brand. Staying in touch with other professionals will help you build new skills and make you a more versatile problem-solver, which any company will love. Just make sure that your supervisors don’t mistake you for someone on the hunt for a better position somewhere else because that will probably not have a pleasant effect.
Sites like LinkedIn are a great way to build a web of professional contacts. You can also build out your profile on that website to give a clear picture of what kind of creative you are. In case you do need to look for work, having a LinkedIn already set up will streamline the whole process.
Want a Promotion? Ask for One
Just like when you want to ask for a raise, badgering people isn’t going to help you get a promotion. However, if you take a different approach you’re likely to be more successful.
Don’t ask for “a promotion” and see what gets thrown at you. Prepare and wait until you see a clear opening. If you identify a pain point before management has seen it, they’ll know you’re a serious contender.
When there isn’t a specific role that you can step into, you can always look for new responsibilities to take over. In smaller offices, you might even be able to request additional tasks from higher-ups. Just make sure you’re finishing all your other work well, otherwise, you could embarrass yourself by getting in over your head.
Your achievements should be self-evident so that you don’t have to go around bragging or trying too hard to highlight what you’ve done. Furthermore, it’s never a good look to pretend you’re the only one on the team having a positive impact. Give credit where it’s due and don’t make yourself the center of attention.
Promoting remote workers is a much easier decision when management knows who the team looks up to. For that kind of respect, you need to point out when your coworkers do something well and compliment them on it. Don’t just leave it at that – take the time to suggest some ideas about how that success can be emulated in the future.
If you want to know how to get a promotion, it comes down to being personable most of the time. It’s not only that people notice you more when they like you. Personable people are also more effective in creative roles because they foster better communication on the team.
Keep Track of Your Achievements & Examples of Great Work
If it’s not a good look to put the spotlight on yourself in a group meeting, you can still do so in one-on-one meetings when you’re specifically going out to ask for a raise or a promotion. When management hears you want a raise, their first question is going to be why you deserve it.
A concise answer with samples of your work as evidence is just about the best answer you can have to such a question. It’s even better if it’s so evident that you deserve the raise or promotion that management already knows it and agrees, even if budget constraints make the reward unfeasible for the time being.
Pretend you’re building up your portfolio. You should be keeping it refreshed with updated case studies anyway just to be prepared for the worst. Those same case studies can be used to provide evidence that you’ve been an effective creative worker and added value to the company and its products.
People in all lines of work are curious about how to get a promotion after the transition to remote work. The criteria for promoting remote workers varies from company to company, but the pointers discussed here should be widely applicable for creatives in a variety of remote workplaces.
Hopefully, some of the remote work tips in this guide have illustrated how creatives can demonstrate their value to stakeholders and the company even when they’re no longer working out of a traditional office.