How to get promoted as a remote employee
The world of work has changed on a scale never seen before. Recent estimates suggest that half of all businesses in the UK are now embracing a hybrid working model, while a quarter have ditched their offices altogether in favour of remote working. While these are relatively new ways of working and come as a direct consequence of the pandemic, they are likely to become a permanent way of working life moving forward.
So, what does this mean for those individuals with aspirations to climb the promotional ladder? Will the reduction in ‘office time’ mean that some people are no longer seen and heard as much they once were and could be passed over for promotion? Or will being a hybrid or fully remote worker make no difference at all?
In August, the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak caused a storm when he stated that home working may harm the career prospects of professionals. Naturally, social media channels went wild – some in agreement with his comments, others not. We would caveat this and say that while the Chancellor could be right in his opinion, this will only be the case if people expect the opportunities to come to them. What they should be doing is creating the conditions that make promotion an inevitability.
Indeed, whether working remotely of fully in the office, the principles of promotion remain the same and there are three ways that will help you progress from where you are now, to where you want to be:
- Keep track of your achievements: At the end of each day, jot down a list of the things you have done to help a customer or colleague. For example, you may have deputised for a co-worker who wasn’t able to make that all-important client meeting, or perhaps you played a part in a new business pitch that the business won. Maybe you took responsibility for a project and led the team. Or you played a key role in supporting a colleague who was struggling and need help and support.
- Remind your boss what you’ve done: Your boss is busy managing you and others, too. While they will have a good handle on what people are doing, they won’t always take note of the small victories for each person under their management. That’s why it is important to keep adding to your list of achievements each day or at the end of every week. Then, when you look back on it in a month or more, you will likely surprise yourself how much you have achieved. Each item on this list is a marginal gain that when added together creates a powerful message to your boss that you are someone who has done a lot and achieved even more. So, keep the list updated and when you feel there is a compelling argument for promotion, go to the next step – ask for a meeting.
- Arrange a ‘future plan’ meeting with your boss: Competition for jobs is intense right now, and the same applies to internal promotions too. If the time is right for you and you believe you have a convincing case as to why you should be considered for promotion, ask your boss for a meeting. But remember not to refer it as ‘a chat’ – call it what it is: a meeting to discuss your current role and future progression in the business. Clarity in how you communicate this to your boss is key; if they understand the precise plan for the meeting, they can better prepare for it. When both parties enter an arena and they know what the agenda is and potential objectives, the meeting will always be more productive and this in turn can boost your prospects for that much-desired promotion!
Time-served is no longer a route to career progression, and promotions have never and will never be handed out on a plate. Employers are looking for people who are aware of their capabilities and potential, can demonstrate a continued track record of achievement, and more important recognise what the business itself considers to be a good job done. Get these things right and the only limit to your progression will be your own ambition.