Professional Development

How to advance your career . . . remotely

Written by Eric Titner

Today’s work world is undergoing unbelievably rapid shifts at speeds that would have been completely unpredictable just a year ago, but that’s often an aspect of change—we don’t always see it coming. But those who respond accordingly to it are best positioned to adjust effectively and find a successful path forward, even if that path takes on unexpected twists and turns along the way.

We’re all aware that the entire work world, regardless of your field, is currently in a state of unprecedented flux resulting from a massive jolt of disruptive forces—including a global pandemic that’s impacted every facet of life as well as a tidal wave of technological innovation that’s forcing a rapid evolution in how work and business is conducted on a global scale.

As we make our way through this global historical inflection point, no one has been spared the burden of having to figure out a way to persist and move forward. Everyone, from business leaders at the helms of multi-national corporations, to small business owners, to seasoned executives at the tops of their career ladders, to those who are just getting started in their career journeys, have felt the brunt of these forces and are coping with them on a daily basis. It’s inevitable that history will divide the successful and unsuccessful by those who figure out how to rise to the challenges of this moment and those who grow stagnant and fall behind.

A pivotal shift that’s been happening is the transition to remote work. All of a sudden—literally overnight in many instances—employees across industries and job roles have had to quickly adjust and get comfortable with the notion of working from home. All types of businesses, from lean startups to global corporate juggernauts, have quickly shifted to a telecommuting strategy to stay productive—and many employers have discovered that employees who are well-positioned to shift to remote work can be just as effective or even more so while working at home.

For some, this adjustment was relatively uneventful—in fact, many companies were starting to embrace the notion of telecommuting before the pandemic even struck. For others, the switch has been more of a challenge. Regardless of which side of the remote performance equation you’re currently on, many of us are facing an uncertain future regarding when and if we’ll be returning to an actual physical workspace—and you better believe that business leaders are paying careful attention to who thrives and who doesn’t when it comes to working remotely. Your skills in this area may profoundly impact future employment decisions like promotions, so it makes sense to make every effort to remain a valuable, viable, and effective employee even while working remotely.

If you’re currently navigating the world of remote work and want to figure out how best to position yourself for career advancement, consider the following strategies to help you achieve success.

Increase your visibility

A significant challenge when working remotely is maintaining an appropriate level of professional visibility amongst your colleagues. Simply put, the absence of a shared physical workspace can lead to feelings of “out of sight, out of mind,” which could directly or indirectly affect your work performance and impact your perceived or actual value proposition to employers, especially at a time when companies are embracing an increasingly lean and agile mindset and are learning to do more with smaller remote staffs.

Therefore, it’s in your best interest to use the tools at your disposal to enhance your visibility to the powers that be—including video conferences, phone calls, and email and text exchanges—in an effort to stay connected, build remote equity, and reassert your value as an employee. Be vocal and present as much as appropriately possible, offer ideas and suggestions for projects and new initiatives, come up with creative ways to address issues and solve challenges, and take every opportunity to do so—during meetings and discussions, on team email exchanges, and even when having casual conversations. Enhancing your visibility is a great way to stay top of mind when your bosses are thinking about awarding new responsibilities, roles, and promotions, even when working remotely.

Go above and beyond

Good employees do their jobs well, but great employees go above and beyond and demonstrate a willingness to roll up their sleeves and pitch in to help their teammates and colleagues get things done—which is a great way to highlight your value as an employee and set yourself up for advancement. Although being a great team player and pitching in is typically easier to do in an office or shared workspace, it’s still possible to go above and beyond to support the company while working remotely. You just need to keep your senses sharp and look out for opportunities to pitch in—and jump on them whenever feasible. Trust us, if your employer sees that you’re the sort of worker who routinely takes the initiative to help keep things moving forward, you’ll be setting yourself up for success.

Make a change

Although the work world is currently going through a remote technological evolution, some things still remain the same—including knowing when you’ve learned everything you can in your current position and have reached a ceiling at a company. This is often a signal that it might be time to move on. Although it’s a scary and volatile time to be searching for a new job, you may have reached a point in your career journey where it’s time for a change if advancement is important to you.

Changing jobs to leverage career advancement opportunities is a classic career strategy. Despite a great deal of uncertainty in the professional world, there are new job listings getting posted all the time—and only you can determine when it’s the right time for you to consider grabbing onto the next rung of your career ladder.

About the author

Eric Titner

Eric is a NYC-based editor and writer, with years of experience in career-focused content development across a wide range of industries.