One of the dangers of working from home is that it is more difficult to move your career forward. “Out of sight, Out of mind” often applies to telecommuters. What options are available to the upwardly mobile teleworker? How do you set yourself up for promotion when the odds are stacked against you?
I’m glad you asked. It turns out that the steps that are necessary to get promoted when you work from home are the same as those that are necessary to get promoted when you work in an office. Like everything else however, the telecommuter must work smarter.
Here are the 3 steps to getting promoted:
1. Be valuable.
This is obvious. You must do good work, have a good work ethic, and be a real value to your company. Most people stop here assuming that their work speaks for itself. Don’t make that mistake. You must proceed to step two.
2. Be visible.
You must market yourself and your work. You must make your presence felt by making sure you are working on visible projects. And finally, you must network and build relationships across the organization (and beyond). Know what other people are working on and be sure they know what you are doing.
3. Ask for the promotion.
You are doing good work; people know it and you have paid your dues. Don’t stop there. If you want to be promoted, you have to ask for it. This is where most people drop the ball. For some reason people are afraid to ask for what they want.
How do you ask? First of all, remember you are asking, not demanding. Second, think of this as a process and not necessarily an event.
Set up time with your boss to discuss your career plans. Tell them your goals and ask them for concrete steps you can take to reach them. Listen to what your boss says. Write down their suggestions. Create a promotion road-map. Be specific. Revisit this road map with them on a regular basis as you achieve milestones. This strategy works because they become invested in the process and you learn exactly what is expected of you.
The above strategy works if you expect to get a promotion from your boss, but in today’s broad flat organizations that is a lot less likely. Your best opportunities may be elsewhere in the organization which is why it is so important to cultivate your network and relationships. If you can find a mentor you can have a similar conversation as above.
At the end of the day, being in the right place at the right time is often the way that promotions happen. The office in your home can be the right place, but you must work harder and smarter to convince the traditionalists.
This post in conjunction with the “how to” group writing project.