By Yvonne Milosevic
You know the saying, “Out of sight, out of mind”? If you’re currently working remotely, do not let that happen to you. These are scary economic times, with unemployment in the U.S. approaching Great Depression-era levels. In this uncertain landscape, make sure your supervisor knows that you are still just as productive and dedicated to your job as you were pre-quarantine.
The key, explains author and time management coach Elizabeth Grace Saunders, is making yourself and your accomplishments more visible to your organization. Saunders recently shared these five tips in Harvard Business Review.
Tip #1 Do Your Work
We’re several months into this whole working from home thing. That means we no longer have many valid excuses for slacking on the job. If your organization needs to make some tough decisions about who to keep around, your performance suddenly matters—a lot.
So, time to ramp up your productivity. Accept new assignments with enthusiasm. Aim to deliver ahead of the deadline, if possible. At this point, managers now expect higher standards of output, Saunders says.
“If you haven’t done so already, put a system in place for keeping track of your tasks and ticking them off, even if your schedule is modified because you have other responsibilities at home,” she suggests.
Tip #2 Toot Your Own Horn
One way to ensure your manager remembers your value is by regularly updating her or him with your latest accomplishments. Many workplace cultures value results-based models to gauge employee accountability. To that end, share a weekly recap with your boss that focuses on progress made and quantifies performance whenever possible.
You don’t want to come off as a braggart, of course. Be judicious about what you share, and always highlight the efforts of the team. The goal, explains Saunders, is making sure your boss knows you’re doing great things, even though they can’t observe your efforts in person.
Tip #3 Help Your Boss
Now more than ever, your boss may need a helping hand but feel reluctant to ask. Due to the pandemic, they may have to juggle homeschooling their children or caring for elderly parents. While you shouldn’t take on extra tasks if it means burnout for you, know that stepping up in ways that make your boss’s life easier can make you an even greater asset to the organization.
Offer to help with extra assignments or take work entirely off of your manager’s plate, Saunders suggests. “This shows that you’re not only someone who gets their work done but also someone who takes initiative.”
Tip #4 Be a Team Player
Strong communication and interpersonal skills are as vital as ever in a remote working environment. If problems arise, find a solution on your own. Or, at the very least, see how you can help before bringing it up with your supervisor. When the issue is with another colleague, take steps to work things out together if possible, and avoid escalating the problem to involve management.
“During this time, you not only want to be seen as a valuable individual contributor, but also as someone who elevates the entire team,” Saunders says. “Taking this approach to conflict shows that you have the capability to communicate and collaborate.”
Otherwise, your boss may hesitate to put you on a team for fear you won’t play well with others.
Tip #5 Spread Positivity
Between anxiety over COVID-19, the threat of economic collapse, and fights at Starbucks over mask-wearing, there’s a lot of negativity in the air lately. One unexpected casualty of social distancing has been a lack of laughter in our day. That’s why Saunders urges employees to inject more humor and positive energy to their virtual communications.
Kick off meetings by chatting about something funny you saw or a book you’re reading. Adding a social element goes a long way toward replicating the comradery of face-to-face encounters. “Laughter and positive energy draw teams together and make people feel good about being around you,” Saunders says.
In the end, all your efforts to stay busy and positive while working remotely may not save you from a layoff. But, she adds, “it does increase your odds because you’re demonstrating your value to the organization and the people around you.”