Out of sight, out of mind. As you settle into working from home, even if temporarily, it can be scary to think that if you’re not in front of your boss each day it will be harder to grow in your position and career. The good news is if you’re still dedicated to developing your career, and you openly communicate about the work you’re putting in when chatting on virtual communication channels or during reviews and meetings, you can still grow in your position.
Here are a few simple ways to make the most of your opportunities, regardless of location.
Ask for feedback
If you agree with the 62% of employees who feel their company’s performance review is often incomplete, don’t wait for another boring and structured review session. Instead, ask for feedback. Not only does asking for feedback innately help you grow in your position because you’re learning what’s working and what’s not; it’s also an opportunity to show your manager that you’re being proactive about growing and learning.
When asking for feedback, be clear about what you want to know and what time you have available to speak about it. This avoids back-and-forth emails about timing and allows your boss to prepare for the conversation.
Read more professional development books
Don’t get complacent with personal development now that your couch and Netflix are a few steps away from your office. If you want to grow in your position, continual personal learning is critical. With more time than ever to go through some professional development books thanks to quarantine, you can build your skill set on a budget and grow in your position as a result. Here are a few good book lists to help you find your next read:
- 5 Marketing and Business Books to Read in 2020
- 15 Best Leadership Books Every Leader Must Read
- 20 Management Books to Read in 2020
Once you’ve read the book, don’t forget to share what you’ve learned with your boss and coworkers. You can mention the book in a meeting, refer to something you learned when working on a project, or even post a short review in a group chat.
Improve your writing skills
When working virtually, your digital communication becomes a focal point because it’s one of the only formats for connecting with managers and colleagues. During a stressful time when work is uncertain and you’re adjusting to a new working situation, it’s easy to overlook mistakes. But getting into a habit of consistently sending poorly written messages and emails reflects poorly on you and is harder to overlook when it’s the only way you’re communicating.
In my recent article about improving your writing skills, I shared a few key tips I’ve learned as a longtime writer that can be applied to your chat and email efforts:
- Ask someone to read it first. Send your email to a coworker or your quarantine roomie to proofread.
- Be concise with your words. Fluff and jargon only lead to misunderstandings and miscommunication.
- Make your ask clear. Be specific when asking for something so your boss or coworkers know what you need from them.
Proactively add value
Show your boss and coworkers that you take your work seriously by adding value when you weren’t asked or expected to do so. For example, when working on a team project, you can take your part of the work one step further by collecting extra data or research or sending your talking points for a brainstorm meeting ahead of time.
Take proactive steps to show that you’re willing to give more to the team at the expense of your own time. This is a key trait of great leaders, so if you want to move into a management position, the little extra work will go a long way toward securing that promotion you’ve been hoping for.
You can show your boss and the people you work with that you’re learning and willing to go the extra mile, even when working from home. Use these simple tips to keep growing your position and career, no matter where you’re located.
Jessica Thiefels is the founder and CEO of Jessica Thiefels Consulting, an organic content marketing agency for midsized B2B businesses outsourcing content marketing. She’s been writing for more than 10 years and has been featured in top publications including Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Fast Company. She also regularly contributes to Glassdoor, Score.org, and more. Follow her on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn.