It’s true—one of the proposed notions behind why remote workers see less promotions than traditional office workers is that they...well...don’t want the promotion.
A recent study from Deloitte found that millennials—who made up over half of the worldwide workforce by 2020 and helped inspire the current shift toward remote work—prioritize work-life balance over their own career progression.
Promotions mean more responsibility, so, it’s reasonable to assume that at least some remote workers are turning down those opportunities in order to keep their current work-life balance intact.
But, that’s not the only explanation. Especially right now—many of us desire proper compensation and opportunities for our hard work and abilities. Here are some theories (and facts) that we must surpass or embrace in order to gain a targeted answer for this multifaceted question:
Many believe you need to be on-site to be a good leader.
Even with more companies embracing the transition to remote work, many business leaders have a hard time shaking the idea that a good leader needs to be in the same location as his or her team.
And while managing a remote team can be a unique challenge for leaders, there’s no reason to believe a manager working remotely will be any less effective than their in-office counterparts.
In fact, as remote writing work continues to expand its reach, companies should be planning for the future by training future managers for the skills needed to effectively manage remotely. (And to be fair, plenty of companies are already doing this.)
But, there’s another big problem remote workers face when aiming for a promotion:
Lack of visibility leads to remote workers getting left behind.
Fact: face-to-face interactions help solidify better relationships.
And better relationships—particularly with those more senior to you in your organization—often lead to more opportunities.
But, when working remotely, you may rarely talk to your manager, nevermind get the chance to sit down for an in-person meeting with them. A study from TINYpulse shows 47 percent of remote workers talk with their manager at most once-per-week.
Sadly, that alone may be the reason you’re not getting promoted. It’s the age-old expression: out of sight, out of mind.
And it affects remote workers immensely when vying for an open position.
Luckily, there’s plenty you can do to try and get ahead of the problem.
4 Solid Tips for Remaining Visible as a Remote Writer or Digital Nomad
#1 Share wins in team meetings!
Sharing personal and professional wins offers a chance for each member of your team to share one big win experienced since you last met from both their personal and professional life.
The practice is awesome because it gives you the opportunity to share a big success from your week in a way that doesn’t come across as boastful or arrogant. The more you can expose your manager to your professional accomplishments directly, the more likely he or she will remember you come promotion time.
...and don’t forget to keep a log of your successes!
Here’s a fairly unsavory fact for you: studies have shown that narcissists get promoted more often than us non-naval-gazers. Why?
One possible explanation may be that narcissists do a better job of remembering their successes and being their own biggest cheerleader during review season.
And as a result, they can easily overcome the recency bias - a natural inclination for managers to evaluate you based on recent rather than cumulative performance.
Here’s the good news: you don’t need to be a narcissist to get past the recency bias.
Keeping a log of your successes ensures you have a full history of your wins to present to leadership when the time comes for your review or a promotional opportunity shows itself.
And to be clear: your log doesn’t need to be this long, detailed account of your wins. Take 30 minutes on a Friday afternoon to answer this question:“What’s the most important thing I accomplished this week?”
And then give a brief account of what happened, who was involved, and what impact that accomplishment had on your company.
#2 Find a Mentor!
Latching yourself onto a more senior member of your team helps advance your career through quality coaching and guidance. That alone should be enough an incentive to find yourself a mentor.
But the truth is, there’s another big reason you should find yourself a mentor within your company:
It helps establish more visibility for you with senior leadership.
A mentor can coach you on how to navigate your way toward a promotion, and they can be the little bird chirping in the ears of your leadership team when that big promotional opportunity opens up.
#3 Insist on video chat meetings!
If you can’t be face-to-face, video conferencing is the next best thing.
And considering the impact face-to-face relationships has on your ability to get promoted as a remote worker, you should be adamant about making sure any meeting with your manager takes place over a Google Hangout or other free video conferencing software.
Simple as that.
And finally, here’s my last one for you:
#4 Work on Your Boldness and Confidence!
Don’t be afraid to ask for a promotion.
A 2014 study from Accenture showed that though less than half of workers ever ask for a promotion, 68 percent of those that do actually get promoted. In other words: asking for a promotion may just be the most effective way to get on your manager’s radar for bigger opportunities.
In conclusion...remain visible!
Staying visible should be a top priority for any remote writer or digital nomad and with these 4 tips, you should have no problem getting your name in the hat for future promotions.
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