What makes a great at-home employee? Happily, all the stuff that makes a great in-office employee. Namely, being a good communicator, a supportive colleague, a diligent worker and an expert in your field. It’s just how you demonstrate those skills that may require a little tweaking.
Interrogate yourself about your present long-term goal relating to your job. Think hard about what you are trying to achieve as a next step in your career. Spend some quality time analysing your situation and write down all of its contextual details.
Maybe you're currently enjoying the security of a long-standing job with the same company, or perhaps you’ve heard that a colleague from another department is leaving their role and are wondering whether now would be a good time to step into a new challenge. When working from home it can be easy to lose sight of your current goals – taking some time to think about what you want from your career will help you to refocus.
Now is a time when it is fundamental to strengthen the relationships that you have with one or more key people in your job. You may have less chance to interact with these individuals in person, but you can still do this in a one-to-one way online.
Focus on trying to be helpful and empathetic – your colleagues are in the same boat as you, and this is a particularly challenging time. Try asking them what it is that they're finding more challenging now that they're not in the office, or ask them an open question about how their working from home mode is affecting their daily lives.
You may find that you have the same issues and can bond over exchanging tips on how to better manage the situation – perhaps you can ask if they have rearranged their furniture at home, or if they can recommend where to buy a laptop stand. Discussing anything that is within your personal lives will help you feel a deeper connection.
Although it is possible to bond with a colleague over a common pain point about your workplace, a positive mindset is usually a more effective way to make sure that you shine, even via a digital interface. If you are new, or want to demonstrate that you are worthy of a promotion, aim to display a positive attitude on video calls and in communication. There is nothing more attractive that a colleague who can lift people’s spirits in a company meeting.
When out of the office it can be easy to fall out of the loop. Get well up to speed with your company’s current goals or objectives, making sure that you pay attention to communications to staff. Research the competitors of your company, and keep on top of your industry sector news. Find an opportunity to share these updates with a relevant colleague, perhaps by writing it as a P.S. comment at the end of an email or mentioning it in a Zoom chat. This is an easy way to demonstrate your commitment to the company to everyone.
Adaptability is one of the key soft skills employers appreciate in any sector, and in times of fast-paced change it is even more important to demonstrate that you can communicate across any channel.
Work hard on mastering any single digital tool that your company might ask you to use. If needed, ask a friend of yours to show you how to use all of the features. Make sure that you prep before any virtual meeting, ensure that you extend a warm greeting and introductory message at the start, speak up in group meetings, and conclude with a recap of what you will do to follow up after the call.
I believe that working from home is more than just a temporary solution to the Covid-19 pandemic, and could be here to stay. The more that you practice, the better that you will be at mastering this new working from home revolution.
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