As a remote worker, you risk falling victim to the old adage “out of sight, out of mind” when it comes to getting a WFH promotion. But that doesn’t have to be the case.
There are plenty of opportunities out there for progression as a remote worker, and trends show that internal mobility is a bigger priority now than before COVID-19. What better time to start laying the groundwork for progression within your company?
As passionate promoters of remote work at NoHQ, we’ve put together our top tips on how to get a WFH promotion:
7 Tips For Getting Promoted While Working From Home
Here’s the rundown on how to get promoted as a remote worker:
- Stay connected and maintain regular, effective communication
- Make sure your work is visible
- Share ideas and show your knowledge
- Get networking
- Ask for feedback
- Align with company priorities
- Don’t forget your company has a part to play too!
1. Stay Connected With Regular Communication
A 2021 study by Harvard Business Review showed that remote employees who made an effort to build a relationship with their seniors were 82% more likely to get promoted compared to colleagues who hadn’t stayed in touch.
Make sure you’re “in mind” by checking in with your manager and other senior colleagues regularly. It’s important to find the balance between pestering them with constant messages and making them aware of your achievements, dedication, and availability, which we’ll look into in the following sections of this article.
Always respect your company’s working time guidelines. A huge lesson about WFH that successful remote companies like Coinbase and Basecamp have commented on is that people’s time off and “on” be protected. This applies to your own work: showing your dedication by doing unwarranted overtime risks remote work burnout as well as issues with HR. But it also applies to communication: if your manager has “Do not disturb” on Teams, your message can wait!
Do be mindful of the tone, length, and speed of your emails and instant messages: clear, effective communication is even more essential in remote working relationships than in-person. Learn more in our guide to using communication tools like Slack effectively.
Don’t neglect relationships with coworkers. You shouldn’t just focus on communication with those responsible for your progression. Your relationships with your peers are a real reflection on you and could well be used to make a case for - or against - your WFH promotion, especially if you’re looking for a role in management. Maintain respectful and appropriate connections with your colleagues - you never know who will be asked to recommend you!
2. Make Sure Your Work Is Visible
To progress in any workplace, it’s key for your seniors to be aware of your accomplishments. To make your case for getting a WFH promotion, you need to show the quantity and quality of your work even more clearly.
Ask your manager how and when they’d like to be updated on what you’ve achieved and make sure to follow through. This could mean sending a simple weekly email, updating a shared spreadsheet, or completing your tasks on the project management tool your employer uses.
Keep a record of your responsibilities, achievements, and feedback to support your proposal for a promotion. In HBR’s survey of employees who successfully got a WFH promotion, 88% of the respondents kept evidence of their work. Not only does this make a great case for your promotion, but it also gives you a head start on evidence for future 1-to-1 meetings, and for any external jobs you may apply for! Make notes of your key projects and tasks including:
- What worked well
- What you learned and could do better next time
- Taking responsibility for positive and negative outcomes
Offer to help with extra tasks. This shows management your willingness to get involved and expands your knowledge and experience of a particular area of your work. As a bonus, if you work alongside one of your seniors, it’s also a great opportunity to demonstrate your working style to them.
3. Share Ideas & Show Your Knowledge
Show how valuable you are to your company by demonstrating your wide breadth of knowledge and expertise:
Develop and leverage your existing niche skill set: make yourself “indispensable” to the team by becoming the go-to person for a certain task or project.
Contribute proactively in meetings and put forward ideas that you’d be happy leading. Show you’ve done your research and ensure ideas are feasible and well thought out: e.g. “I was looking over the projections for next quarter, and I have an idea for how to XXX”. Don’t be put off if your suggestions aren’t put into action straight away. This is still an invaluable way to show hiring and promoting managers your confidence, knowledge, and dedication.
Ask for more responsibility: proving to seniors that you are willing and able to take on more responsibility is an essential step in getting a WFH promotion and a great way to demonstrate your expertise in that area.
Just like at an office-based job, networking is key to getting a promotion as a remote worker. In fact, according to HBR, networking was the driving force behind 74% of WFH promotions. This goes for remote networking within and outside of your company.
As well as staying connected with your line manager, build relationships with other seniors and colleagues:
- Join online meetings 5 minutes early and make the most of virtual water cooler moments to make small talk
- Find mutual interests: be active on LinkedIn and message coworkers about their posts
- Attend virtual coffee break and team-building activities or show your leadership skills by setting them up yourself: build a community on Slack or another communication tool to engage your fellow remote workers
- Be curious: ask colleagues and seniors about their job roles and how they got there
- Reach out and thank people for their help and support on projects: sending a genuine message is a good way to strike up a conversation and get your name in people’s heads
- Consider seeking a mentor or pursuing your company’s remote mentorship program if they have one. You could even suggest they implement one!
It’s also important to stay connected with your wider network outside of the company, whether or not you’re looking for external jobs. This is a great way to keep up to date on market news and what your company’s competitors are doing, knowledge you can then contribute to meetings to show your expertise. It also lets you know the different roles your peers are taking on, which can guide your own proposal for a WFH promotion.
5. Ask For Feedback
96% of managers surveyed by HBR said that asking for feedback at least once per quarter demonstrates a willingness to improve. Ask for regular feedback from seniors and colleagues, both in general and regarding your performance on specific projects. More importantly, be able to show that you’ve implemented this feedback.
The best way to gauge whether you’re on track for a promotion is to ask. Make sure your manager and those responsible for promotions are aware that you’re interested in progression and ask what the steps are to get there. Take any development courses your company offers and tick the boxes they ask for to move up the career ladder.
6. Align With Company Priorities
Keep up to date on your company’s priorities and how current events and market trends may have affected the progression strategy. Knowing your industry and the value of your potential future position will help you make your case for a WFH promotion.
According to LinkedIn’s 2021 Workplace Learning Report, resilience was a top-rated skill for employees across the majority of countries surveyed. Make sure your employer can see that you’re flexible and adaptable in terms of changing priorities and taking on urgent work. It’s also important to show management your value by driving real results that reflect your company’s current goals.
7. Don’t Forget Your Company’s Part Too
Finally, keep in mind that your managers and the company as a whole also have a role to play in you getting a WFH promotion. Make sure they’re following HR policy concerning periodic evaluations and reviews. If a promotion was promised, planned, or even suggested to you at any point in your employment, follow up on it. Remember: if you don’t ask, you don’t get!
8. Start Laying The Groundwork For Your WFH Promotion
Just because you don’t see your manager in person every day doesn’t mean you should have any less chance of progression as a remote worker.
The biggest takeaway from this article, and one thing we know very well at NoHQ, is how important communication is in remote workplaces. By staying connected with your colleagues and seniors and demonstrating your value to the company through real results and proactive contributions, you’ll be making a solid case for your WFH promotion.
Check out more of NoHQ’s guides to succeeding in your remote workplace - and good luck with that promotion! 😉