7 Ways to Stand Out While Working From Home
Working from home has many advantages—no commute, fewer distractions and the opportunity for a better work-life balance. But one thing remote working isn’t good for is being visible. You don’t get the chance to share your progress on a big project with your boss’s boss while the kettle’s boiling. Your manager can’t overhear your conversation with your co-worker about how well you’ve solved a problem.
If you’re not physically present then there’s a danger that the work gets done but, unless there’s a problem, no-one really notices. So how do you get the credit you deserve when there’s no-one around to see? Here are seven ways to stand out while working from home.
1. Be available and reliable
This is a very basic thing, but it builds trust with your manager and your team so they know they can rely on you even when you’re not in the office together. Make sure you respond promptly to calls and requests, meet deadlines, keep your word and are on time for meetings. If you have any connectivity issues then try joining video calls a few minutes early so you can solve problems and be ready to go.
Being available doesn’t mean you have to work outside your normal hours though. In fact, demonstrating that you can both achieve your goals and look after your wellbeing by not working excessive amounts could well get you some brownie points.
2. Be seen and heard
No-one wants to be the person you can’t get a word in edgeways with on video calls. But it’s not good to always be silent either. Stand out while working from home by speaking up and voicing your opinions. Mention any new ideas you’ve come up with or areas where you think processes could be streamlined.
If you find this difficult―perhaps you’re naturally a quiet person―try to make it a rule to always say something in video calls. If you don’t feel you have anything to add personally then ask a question or compliment someone on their ideas. And don’t forget to turn on your camera—if you want to be noticed you have to be visible. This also shows you’re engaged with the conversation, even if you’re self-conscious about the laundry drying behind you!
3. Make an effort to build relationships with colleagues
Yes, it can feel a bit cringey when it doesn’t happen naturally, but when you’re not in the office it’s even more important to build relationships with your colleagues. You can’t be noticed if people don’t really know you!
Get involved in any team social activities if you can. And if your charity doesn’t already offer them, you could set up virtual coffee or lunch breaks with your co-workers. It’s likely you interact quite a bit with your immediate team already, so focus especially on colleagues from different departments, or those you don’t know as well. The more they learn about you, the more you’ll come to mind when new projects arise. Connecting with colleagues also builds morale—bonus!
4. Blow your own trumpet
People often find this difficult, but if you’re not in the office for people to see your brilliance shine through naturally then you’ll have to shout about it! Despite what we may have been brought up to believe, it’s completely possible to share your achievements without boasting.
Firstly, if you get some good feedback, exceed a goal or complete a project early, make a note of it. You can then use this list to plan what to share with others and when. You could use it as evidence of your accomplishments for your performance review. Or you could just forward it to your line manager to make sure your work is recognised. If you have a regular team meeting, ask if you can allocate time for each person to talk about their achievements.
However you choose to share your triumphs, be your own advocate and don’t let your hard work go unnoticed while working from home.
5. Help out colleagues (including your boss)
Being visible is about being supportive of others. Show you’re valuable to the team by volunteering to help where it’s needed. This could be by taking the strain from your line manager, starting a new project, or training a newer colleague. Helping out builds goodwill and also allows you to develop your skills.
Another obvious way to get involved is to volunteer your time to fundraise for the charity. Sign up for a sponsored run, swim or cycle. Not really the sporty type? Organise a bake sale, raffle or community event. Helping raise funds for your charity is a great tactic if you’re looking to stand out.
6. Take on more responsibility
Another way to stand out while working from home is to take on more responsibility. Rather than just focusing on your own goals, think about how you can best support your team and the charity overall to achieve its strategy. This could mean volunteering to join a cross-team project or working group or trying to improve a process.
Taking on more responsibility doesn’t mean doing lots of overtime, but taking on new projects that can help develop your skills shows you’re engaged, motivated and care about your charity. A word of warning though—don’t neglect your main job, unless you want to stand out for the wrong reasons!
7. Keep up-to-date with your sector
It is, of course, important to make sure you’re in the loop with developments, projects and news across your own charity, but a great way to get yourself noticed and show engagement with your job is to keep up-to-date with the sector as a whole.
When working from home, you could use your usual commute time to attend webinars or do research that will keep your skills and knowledge sharp and give you something to contribute in meetings and discussions. Or you could sign up to e-newsletters and read blogs from organisations such as Digital Charity Lab, join a community like CharityConnect or listen to sector podcasts like Charity Chat. And don’t forget to keep an eye on social media of course.
If you want to go a step further, you could consider finding a mentor inside your organisation. This will help to keep you connected to other parts of the charity as well as giving you an unofficial cheerleader and source of career advice.
These strategies show that it’s very possible to stay on your manager’s (and colleagues’) radar and stand out even while working from home. With a bit of thought and planning, you’ll have a higher profile in no time.
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This post was originally published in 2021 and has been updated to ensure relevance and to reflect the current jobseeker experience.