How to Be a Successful Remote Employee

I’m often asked what employees need to learn about working remotely.  The majority of success for a remote team is dependent on management – how the team is managed and the systems in place to support them.  However there is one key area that remote employees can focus on: their visibility.

When an employee is not physically in a company office every day, it can be easy to lose sight of what they are doing, and how they are contributing to the company, for those that do not work directly with that employee.  As well, remote workers have a concern that they will be “out of sight and out of mind” when it comes to company opportunities, promotions, etc. . . Here are some key ways that remote employees can ensure their work and efforts are highly visible to the company:

  • Tele-presence – Your tele-presence is your phone presence. Since you can’t talk to people face to face when you are working remotely, the phone needs to do that for you.  We are often hesitant to pick up the phone unless we feel we have significant information to share, but we will more likely walk down the hall to chat with someone in a more minor thing.  When we work off-site, we often resort to email for the more minor items.  This is ok to do occasionally, but if you drastically reduce your verbal communication when teleworking, you need a different strategy.  Jot down and collect ideas and notes on items you want to discuss with people, on a daily or weekly basis.   Then, rather than sending emails, pick up the phone to cover the multiple topics.  This gives the call more substance, will save you time, from writing multiple emails, and will ensure better quality communication.
  • Remote Access – You want to ensure you can access all network tools remotely when you are not in the office. Can you handle e-mails, access shared files, and any other company information that you would gather when in the office?  If not, figure out how you can leverage technology to do so.  If you find yourself saying “That can wait until I’m back in the office”, because you don’t have your needed files or access, then you are not leveraging your remote access effectively.
  • SharePoint – Use your corporation’s Intranet such as SharePoint, to keep you visible. Post responses to discussion boards, post pictures and documents, or share blog articles.  Have a sub-site created to collaborate with your team on a project.
  • Team Engagement – are you a team player? Do you support team members when they are struggling?  You involvement with your team will not only increase your visibility with your team, but also with your company.  The more successful your team is as a whole, the more you will be noticed.  Also, find opportunities to build stronger relationships with those on your team.  If you feel you don’t know someone well, call them to share ideas, work on a project together, or just talk to get to know each other better.
  • Solution Driven – Are you driven to find answers, or do you get hung up on the problem or why it can’t be done? Rather than presenting issues to others, always have some possible solutions and options to present with the issue. Don’t present issues for others to solve, but instead use them as a way to orchestrate your own creative results.
  • SelfDriven – Those that take action rather than waiting to be led by the hand, get the most visibility. Take initiative – don’t wait for others to motivate you, create projects and tasks for you, or give you ideas.  Leaders drive positive change and results rather than just being involved in them.  As long as you work within your company and team’s guidelines, create opportunities to increase their success, and ultimately yours.

By focusing on these key items, remote employees can increase their visibility and ultimate success when working remotely.

by Jenny Douras

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