Contentiousness over remote employees has been a frustrating issue between companies and their works for years. And it is only growing as the 2016 Gallup State of the American Workforce reports 43 percent of a company’s employees are now working remotely.
Businesses run the gamut in this matter. Some organizations tacitly accept remote employees. Still, others have an employee population made up almost entirely of a virtual workforce. On the other hand, there are structured organizations committed to a hierarchical culture that often judges remote employees as a less crucial facet of their population.
One coaching client shared management’s response to promoting a virtual staffer: Remote employees aren’t qualified to be on-track for future advancement. My client’s exasperated response was: These are high performers who choose not to work onsite yet still want to grow their career. I don’t imagine they’ll stay once they find a company who has a more contemporary viewpoint.
Research verifies the concern as, 51 percent of employees say they would switch to a job that allows them flextime, and 37 percent would switch to a job that allows them to work offsite at least part of the time. These statistics are particularly troubling as retention is a top priority for organizations with the latest Mercer’s Global Talent Study revealing 9 out of 10 organizations anticipate that the competition for skilled labor will increase.
What’s a remote employee to do?
- Know Your Worth: Human capital is an organization’s most valued asset and leverage for sustained profitability. Appreciate your value and stand powerfully on that identity.
- Make It Your Business To Be Known: If your company’s views are archaic, you can change their mind. Expand your relationship building to include a much more expansive network.
- Connect with executives in the organization, so they know you—your gifts, talents, expertise and hopes. Chose not to remain a shadow employee in the boondocks. Make it your mission that your name comes to mind when opportunities arise.
- Understand the dynamics of your business then use your expertise to add ongoing value to the organization.
- Every time you resolve a knotty project that creates a win for your company record it, file it and share it with others. Strategically water-drop these profit-makers throughout your network with confidence.
- Communicate—Communicate—Communicate: In the absence of the “everyday walkabout” or “visiting workstation” relationship building, proactive communication is even more critical for your career future. Don’t allow yourself to wither in the wilderness. You’ve chosen to work offsite. Broaden your mental muscle as you up-the-ante on your communication presence with the leaders of your company, managers, customers, and peers.
- Help Others Embrace Your Ambition: As an offsite employee, name your “future big-picture.” Ideally, your manager is already pitching your value to the company’s movers-and-shakers (because you requested the public relations effort), but in our chaotic world, the ideal is often not the reality. So, be prepared to ask for assignments that are broader in scope, enhance your career arsenal, and help take you to the finish line of your career dreams.
You do a disservice not only to your career, but to your company by not stepping out of the wilderness into the spotlight of your future.