It can seem challenging to focus on career development while working remotely. Especially during COVID-19, when you might have the kids, pets and even extended family at home vying for your attention. Fortunately, working from home doesn’t need to hinder your professional growth. Rhiannon Staples, CMO of Hibob, the people management platform, shares five ways that employees can enhance their professional development during these challenging times.
Advocate for yourself
During this time, you may be thinking, out of sight, out of mind. Without in-person meetings, your achievements may not be as visible. Make sure the people that matter are aware of your current projects and accomplishments. In group meetings, share your team’s activities and how you have set and exceeded goals. You can also ask your manager for a performance review or an informal check-in. This approach allows you to get feedback in a structured setting and summarize what you have been working on.
Keep your network alive
While it can be difficult to maintain connections without happy hours and coffee catch-ups, it is crucial to continue building strong professional relationships. As the nature of work shifts, you may find yourself working with some colleagues more than others. But that doesn’t mean you can’t keep an open dialogue with everyone. Set aside time to brainstorm ideas with other teams. Seek opportunities to give recognition to employees or co-workers who are doing great work. This can be a massive boost to your team morale and culture. Staples describes one real-life example, “On our platform, bob, we’ve built-in features called Kudos and Shoutouts to provide a forum for co-workers to celebrate one another. We’ve seen that these are huge drivers of engagement and connection amongst colleagues, and celebrating your team members in different ways shows that you are a strong and supportive manager or collaborator.”
Invest in learning
One significant benefit that employees gain through working from home is that they no longer have to commute to work. A recent survey showed that, on average, remote employees said they had an extra 17 days’ worth of free time as a result. If you find yourself with spare time, don’t waste it by staying in bed or answering more emails. Instead, dedicate yourself to personal and professional development. Enroll in an online course or find a podcast to help you grow and learn. Read more career development books. And once you’ve read them, share those learnings with your boss and co-workers.
Become a time management guru
Look at any successful business leader or entrepreneur, and you will find that the one thing they have in common is excellent time management skills. Strong time management abilities allow you to minimize distractions, improve your work-life balance and meet project deadlines. When assigned a new task, plan to get it done early rather than procrastinating. This will help ensure that you deliver a high-quality product and gives you more time to think critically and strategically about your work.
Step up and seize opportunity
Every company is struggling right now to do more with fewer resources. Find areas where you can make a more significant impact or contribution. Look for opportunities to grow professionally while offering added value to the company. Take proactive steps to show that you’re willing to give more to the team at the expense of your own time. This mindset will not only position you as a team player but will also allow you to stretch yourself in new areas. You can demonstrate to your boss and co-workers that you’re willing to go the extra mile, even when working from home.
Working from home doesn’t need to impede your professional development. By adopting and embracing a growth mindset, you’ll be able to uncover opportunities that you never thought were possible.
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