As the flexible working revolution gather pace, more and more professionals are seeing the value of working remotely in different work locations, such as your own home. Technology advancements mean you can function more independently, extricate yourself from office politics and be more productive thanks to the lack of distractions. Add to that the fact that you don't have to suffer the hassle or expense of commuting, it becomes overwhelmingly clear why so many people are favouring this option.
But working remotely is sometimes seen to have one great drawback - you aren’t as visible to your colleagues and managers. And to effectively work from home you should consider how you can maintain your visibility and connection with your team and manager.
We have prepared some ideas on how you can effectively work from home without losing your connection with your team, wider department and the organization as a whole:
Make yourself seen (digitally)
If you ever need to interact with office-based colleagues, try a video call instead of communicating over the phone or via email. This will help people gain visibility of you (literally) while working remotely. With the rise of video conferencing systems, such as Skype, you are now able to remain present and engaged with your colleagues and it will allow you to pick up on non-verbal cues that may otherwise have been missed.
Take part in company-wide initiatives
Put yourself forward to be involved in projects that require interaction with your colleagues. If you are leading a new project, it will allow you to engage and liaise with colleagues. Find a project or initiative to interact with people you might not normally get to speak to, this allows you to remind everybody that you are working (whilst doing so remotely). And, it also means you'll be foremost in your managers mind next time they need to get a willing and helpful person on board with a particular project or initiative.
Many conversations that take place in a working environment aren’t actually about work, but the day-to-day discussions that go on are valuable as it helps build a rapport between colleagues. In a collaborative work environment, many conversations take place over instant messenger and email programs. So if you are working remotely don’t be afraid to use messenger programs to help maintain your relationships with colleagues. This will help ensure you're an active participant in what goes on within your team and organization as much as anyone else.
Set clear expectations
When it comes to the quality of your work and expected deliverables, there should be no difference between the work you perform remotely or when you're present in at the office. Set clear expectations with colleagues and stakeholders in areas such as client service, deadlines, office hours, and response times for emails and phone calls when you are working from home.
Have regular meetings
If you’re working remotely, make sure you have regular catch-ups with your direct manager and colleagues. This will help you effectively work with your team while you are working from home. Having regular meetings about what’s happening within your team will help improve workflow and communication. It also gives you a chance to talk about your successes or issues that impact everyone. With employees increasingly working remotely, it is important to keep in touch and ensure everyone is on the same page.
Communicate when and where you are working
It’s important to communicate with your team and the business when you are working remotely. It gives them an idea of when you will be physically visible in the office and when they will have to prioritize emailing and calling you. Start getting into the habit of letting your team know which days you will work remotely at the beginning of the week. Additionally, make sure your voicemail informs callers when you’re working remotely as this will help reduce frustrations if they are unable to reach you. If you work flexible hours, create a reoccurring 'out of office' message with your working hours, this will ensure that people know the best time to reach you.
There is plenty you can do to maintain visibility while working remotely. By making a few changes to your working day, you can be more visible to your colleagues every day.