Virtual Teams

Staying visible when working remotely

One of the key concerns we hear from people working away from the office is “how can I stay visible when I’m working remotely” Whilst people usually enjoy the flexibility and autonomy of working remotely, they are concerned about the impact of “out of sight out of mind “on their effectiveness and their career prospects.

They are right to be concerned, the research shows that individuals who are more visible to decision makers are more likely to be promoted.

Unfortunately, it is not enough just to do a good job. Research shows that performance is only a small part of being perceived as effective. Image, and particularly exposure, are just as important and more difficult to achieve when working remotely.

In our virtual teams training programmes we show people how to manage their visibility more actively. This is not to “blow their own trumpet”  and annoy people, but to make it clear where others should be collaborating with them and attracting the attention and resources needed to get things done.

As many first impressions are made virtually, we also show people how to manage their digital footprint to give the impression they want.

But as well as individuals taking these opportunities, the current massive increase in remote working means that organisations will also have to think more carefully about the ways they create visibility for their people. Visibility is an opportunity for recognition and to identify talent and new ideas.

Some opportunities to be visible can be translated easily into the virtual world, for example getting people to present at online meetings or to lead or join discussions. Other opportunities such as networking and the serendipity of chance meetings are more difficult and we need to be creative.

The idea of “virtual coffees” has proven popular during the lockdown.  Some organisations have introduced a random process for pairing people with other individuals they might not normally meet for a virtual coffee to help them build their network.

Early in my career, my employer used to organise regular lunches with senior leaders who were visiting our site. High potentials were invited to join the lunch and conversation so they could learn and be seen. Why not organise some small virtual lunches or discussion groups around specific topics to achieve the same goal?

As managers we certainly need to make more effort to market the achievements of our people to those who need to know. It helps them and it also reflects well on you as a manager that your people are succeeding.

How is your organisation helping people to stay visible when working remotely?

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