03 Jan Avoid the Negative Impact Remote Work Can Have on Your Career Advancement
Even before 2020 imposed the remote work model on organizations, many viewed the concept as attractive. Work from home appealed to the productive professional who could see the advantages that this methodology could bring to undisturbed concentration in a peaceful environment that contributed to focus. Whether we desired it or not, a worldwide pandemic thrust industries in all fields into adopting remote work measures to sustain business continuity. What have been the results as 2020 ended?
A recent survey of 1,000 workers who have for the first time done remote work since the initial stages of the pandemic shed some interesting light on both the positive and negative impacts of this adjusted work style. Surprisingly, remote work has had a positive impact on culture and work relationships. The great majority of survey respondents revealed that relationships with their managers and coworkers had either improved or stayed the same. What’s more, 50% disclosed that their manager’s trust in them has increased, and only one in five believe that remote work had negatively impacted their company’s culture.
However, not all is positive. A staggering 67% of the employees surveyed had not received a single piece of constructive feedback from their manager in the past 30 days, and nearly half (47%) reported having fewer professional development opportunities while remote working. The productivity of a remote worker is not the issue; what is being negatively impacted is their careers. Before 2021, it was more probable for your manager to take more responsibility for your professional growth. Many thrive from the development path that a good leader can provide. Constructive feedback and professional development opportunities are of prime importance to a professional’s growth, and the cost of inaction is high. It then comes upon each individual to take control of their personal professional development and learn how to make their career thrive while working from home.
In order to achieve this, one needs to know how to manage one’s manager. This will entail clearly and concisely communicating your needs to your oversight and taking an active role in those needs being met. When it comes to your career growth, this type of self-advocacy is essential. A good leader will always want to know if there’s something that would make their staff more effective, even if it requires some of their time or some reasonable company resources. Let’s outline three steps that can impact professional growth, and make sure your manager is there to support you.
Establish a professional growth goal
Look at 2021 and consider what your focus will be on your career path. Is it a promotion or a set of professional experiences? Maybe you hope to master a new skill or improve your understanding of a certain topic. Regardless of what you expect to accomplish, setting a goal will give you an objective to bring to your boss. Charles Duhigg writes in his bestselling productivity manual Smarter Faster Better that setting SMART goals translates vague aspirations into concrete plans. SMART goals are:
Take the time to first look at your goals and run them through this list. Once you have your goal in mind, consider asking your manager for feedback. They may have additional thoughts on where you need to grow to get to where you want to go.
Assemble your plan for attaining the goal
Now that you know where you are headed, create the plan to get there. If you have identified the skills you need to earn a promotion, research resources that will help you achieve your learning objectives. You can search for a book on the topic of manager development that you can read. Maybe you can sit in on a departmental strategic planning session to learn about the process. Once you have detected the resources you’ll work through, create a timeline with a series of deadlines, and narrow in on what you’ll need from your manager to achieve your goal. Maybe it’s a dollar amount, or company time, or both. Prepare an estimate to share with your manager along with your specific plan to achieve your goal.
Take the initiative to set up recurring meetings with your boss
As soon as you are ready to have a conversation with your manager, don’t limit yourself to just one meeting. Establishing regular one-on-one meetings with your boss is vital to your growth. They foster an environment conducive to frequent discussions around priorities, feedback, performance, and professional development. The survey found that 39% of workers meet with their manager just once per month or less.
If you fall in that bracket, it’s invaluable that you take ownership of a weekly or biweekly meeting with your manager. Once you find the time slot that works best for both your routine schedules, take a first pass at drafting the agenda. Use one of these occasions to present your goal and how you plan to achieve it to your manager. Once you’ve had a chance to align with your boss on your plan, you can use the additional meetings to provide progress reports and talk about your other work priorities.
When you make your professional growth a priority, your manager will do so also.