Professional Development

How to show your boss your value when working remotely

Written by Kate Lopaze

Now that so many of us are working remotely, it’s become a whole new professional landscape. The “normal” things we used to take for granted—like getting to touch base regularly with your boss or colleagues—are much more difficult than they once were. Yet we still have work to do, and we’re all still expected to show our value as employees. Especially if you’re thinking ahead toward raise requests or employee evaluations, it’s important to show that you’re still a valuable employee even when the world has changed. So what can you do to show that you’ve still got it, and you’re making progress?

Always be in touch

Ideally, your boss will be reaching out to you as necessary. Still, if you want to be proactive about the process and show that you’re way on top of things, make sure you’re vocal about what you’re working on, what kind of progress you’re making, and how you’re spending your time. Working remotely can give some of us the space to be a little more lax about our workplace discipline and habits. Being in close touch with your manager lets them know that things may be different, and even though they can’t see you working, you’re working as hard as ever.

Lean into your communication skills…

Everyone has a different style, but no matter how you communicate at work, now is a good time to take a close look and see if your style works as well in a WFH world. If you think about it and realize that a lot of your best communication is in person, make sure you’re maximizing the next best thing: frequent calls or video meetings. If you’re a good emailer, take a close look at what you write and how you convey information. Can you be even clearer and more prescriptive in the emails or documents you write? This is an area where you can ask your boss for feedback—it shows you’re engaged and interested in developing.

…or revamp them

Now is a good time to improve skills that might not have been so strong before. Did you shy away from in-person meetings or presentations? Go out of your comfort zone and do more with active calls and video meetings. If your emails are short or unclear, find colleagues whose emails you think are helpful and informative and try to use that style in your own communication.

This opportunity to change things up (especially when everyone is learning and adapting to new ways of doing things) can be a low-stakes way of improving yourself and how you communicate in the workplace.

Keep trackers of everything you do

While you probably don’t need a minute-by-minute account of what you do with your day (unless you have a super-micromanage-y manager—yikes!), create trackers for the projects you work on, or of your weekly/daily/monthly tasks. It doesn’t have to be highly sophisticated. Google Sheets or regular spreadsheets can be a good way to create grids, set milestones, or make notes on what you’re working on and what you’ve already done. Productivity apps like Asana can also show how you’re meeting milestones in real-time, and you can give access to your boss or any team members who would find the information relevant.

If you’re not working side by side with your boss or your colleagues, having this information comes in handy when it comes time for an annual performance/salary review or if you need to communicate detailed information to your manager.

We’re moving into an era where over-communication and being super-specific is going to be the norm. It’s better to start approaching things that way now, when doing so will make you seem very proactive. After all, if it’s your boss’s idea, it can seem like you’re playing catchup or getting caught out, even if that’s not even close to the case. Take action, be clear, and be open to change, and you can show your boss how much of a rockstar you are, even in a challenging work environment.

About the author

Kate Lopaze

Kate Lopaze is a writer, editor, and digital publishing professional based in New York City. A graduate of the University of Connecticut and Emerson College with degrees in English and publishing, she is passionate about books, baseball, and pop culture (though not necessarily in that order), and lives in Brooklyn with her dog.