Up your value: On-the-job advice if you’re working from home


April 12. People are talking about how hybrid work environments may reduce one’s visibility and reduce the chance for recognition and upward mobility in an organization. Makes sense to me!

We haven’t been using the hybrid work model full throttle for very long, so it’s hard to say what empirical evidence will show us. But we know a lot already about what gets measured and managed in a workplace so let’s extrapolate.

Need to be in the know? Network!

Make the time to network and build relationships to gather information. But you also need to be seen as a credible source of insight for others. Build in time when you purposely seek conversations with colleagues across the company. It may at first feel awkward to set up a quick coffee appointment with one person, or a small group (in person or online) but hybrid flexibility means just that—flexible yet within a structure. Do it, and stick to the schedule—keep it within the 15 minutes you suggested.

Don’t use these sessions for complaining; keep them positively purposeful. Have a framework of open-ended questions like lightning rounds on talk shows such as:

“What’s new in your area?”

“What do you know that I need to know?”

“What do you wish you knew more about?”

“What’s a new tip or skill you recently learned?”

Tip: Generate a conversational structure that is supportive and uplifting; people will look forward to joining you for those short breaks from hyper-productivity, and it can yield solid value for everyone.

Want to be recognized?

Savvy companies showcase high productivity and the example spreads. But this doesn’t work the same when we work independently or on different shifts. And people don’t like to bother a busy person even when they’d like to know how you do something so well.

When you are successful others may still be learning, or struggling. Offer to host a 5-minute session in a team meeting on tips or procedures you use, let the team decide what they would like to learn from each other. Or make an open offer to help someone one-on-one and see if anyone takes you up on it. Goodwill generated this way can be powerful.

Join high profile projects

Take the initiative and take a risk.

Do your assigned job well. Then actively seek additional opportunities:

“Where are the problems in the company that need to be solved?”

“How can I help?”

Don’t be afraid to be told “no” because you will be remembered for having offered. Have an idea of exactly what you could do to be of help even if it is at first only to assist on the sidelines.

Being in project meetings and on-call gets you closer to where decisions get made and insight is learned—and you can learn from other people’s mistakes. You will be a stronger member of every future team when you build a higher-level perspective of how your company works.

You will be recognized as a can-do collaborator ready to try new things.

Key takeaway

Don’t let your guard down by assuming that if you do your work well people will notice.

Cheryl Kane, MBA, PHR, GPHR, SHRM-SCP, is a strategic business consultant, sales trainer, & professional speaker specializing in problem solving and service quality. Email her at: [email protected]


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