5 Tips for Staying Visible When You Work Remotely

Out of sight, out of mind? According to Fortune, “Nearly 80% of American workers fear remote workers will be laid off first if a recession leads to layoffs.”

All remote workers are not created equal. Just like their in-office counterparts, remote workers who build relationships, drive results, and continuously add value to their organizations are far less likely to face choppy waters through the ebbs and flow of business.

Yet without proactive action, remote work can quickly erode your professional reputation into an anonymous email address that people reach out to only when they need things. If your organization is not 100% remote, and has in-office colleagues, getting the visibility you need to stay secure (or get promoted!) can be challenging.

Here are five tips to help:

  1. Schedule not action-oriented meetings. Remote work tends to minimize “water-cooler banter.” At first, nothing seems out of whack. Yet over time, it has a chilling effect. That’s because people who spend time getting to know each other personally (outside of action items) forge stronger relationships, which helps you and the present and the future. You can do the same in a virtual environment by scheduling catch-up chats or even using the first 5 minutes of a meeting to talk before jumping into work.
  2. Share content. When you’re working remotely, you’re likely consuming articles (like this), podcasts, and other pieces of content you might pass around a physical office. If you found something valuable, forward it along! The digital ‘thought you’d like to see this!’ increases your presence beyond your deliverables.
  3. Seek mentorship opportunities. Mentorship is a jumpstart to your workplace relationships. Whether you’re the mentor or mentee, learning new contexts and perspectives about your own organization has tremendous value. Too often, in remote work, the tendency is to isolate to your core team of 5-7 people. Mentorship brings you into a new layer of the organization, and with that, comes increasing visibility.
  4. Connect with new colleagues quickly. Pay attention to who is being onboarded, even if they’re not on your immediate team. When there is a new face in the office (or a new email address on the chain) make the proactive effort to reach out and welcome your new colleague before one of you needs something. New employees are paying particular attention to who does what; they’re also keenly aware of who is a welcoming party. Establish yourself as a go-to (and friendly) resource from the start.
  5. Use visuals. It’s ok if you don’t want to have your video ‘on’ for 8 hours of conference calls. We’re all sick of looking at ourselves. However, using visuals does add a layer of personalization to your work product. Ensure your email address, zoom account, and Slack profile have a profile picture (not your initials). You can also share photos from your weekend, a desk-selfie, or even forward funny memes. Anything that adds depth to text-heavy emails makes you more memorable and relatable.

I’ve done some of my best work and built some of my strongest business connections from the iMac in my home office. Working remotely doesn’t sentence you to working on a proverbial island. Forging relationships, creating value, and solidifying your reputation are possible- but it takes work! Be intentional with your conversations, your work, and even your email address profile picture.