As many of us grapple with how, when, and if we should return to the office, there is another question you may be considering: Is it possible to get a promotion or even a new job if you continue to work remotely?
To find out if the old adage, “out of sight, out of mind” is true, I talked to Dorie Clark. She’s an author, professor of business at Duke and Columbia, and a contributor for the Harvard Business Review and Fast Company. Clark says if you are in the position to make a decision about if you will return to the office, the first step is understanding what the culture of your company is turning into: If your boss is going to be in the office five days a week, it becomes a little bit harder, though not impossible, if you are fully remote because they’re going to be on a different page and a different schedule than you.
According to Clark, the most important consideration in advancing your career is building and maintaining relationships. That looks a little different in a hybrid or remote work situation.
“The overarching goal, whether you’re fully remote or part-time, is now you have to be really conscious of things that frankly, when you were in the office, you didn’t have to think about that much because they just happened . . . the natural ‘bump into you’ relationship building,” says Clark.
Making connections in a hybrid office
For hybrid workers, Clark says to make your in-office days really count and coordinate them with when other people who are critical to your career, or where you want to be, are also in the office. Still, she says, you can’t expect the kind of casual coffee meetups that happened in 2019 to take place when you return. “Nowadays, things require more planning. It’s not going to just work itself out. You actually want to look at your calendar the week before and say, ‘All right, what days am I going to be in the office? Who else is going to be in the office that day? Let me reach out now and make a plan so that we can grab coffee at 3 p.m. and catch up.'”
Relationship building when you’re fully remote
Clark points out that you have to be a lot more proactive when you’re in a remote scenario. “No one’s going to do this for you. You have to be the one . . . to suggest a Zoom coffee.” She says you should plan regular catch-up sessions because just interacting with your manager or coworkers in regularly scheduled meetings isn’t enough. “That’s not really a high quality interaction, typically. There’s a lot of people. You’re focused on other things. And also, it’s very transactional,” Clark says.
Clark explains how to overcome Zoom fatigue and how to make virtual networking less awkward, gives advice for managers to help level the playing field between remote and in-office employees, and more.