Will Work From Home Keep You Behind?

Working from home may cause your career to shift
Working from home may cause your career to shift Image Credit: Lengyel Márk

So where do you want to work? This used to be a fairly easy question to answer: everyone went into the office when they went to work. However, that darn pandemic changed everything for everyone. We all spend a year working from home. A lot of us discovered that we liked working from home. There was no commute to the office required. We didn’t have to dress up. However, now that the pandemic is pretty much over, a lot of companies are telling their workers to come back into the office. However, what if a manager doesn’t want to go back to the office? What will the impact on their career be?

Get Ready For The Playing Field At Work To Shift

When the pandemic was with us remote employees at many firms were in good company: Then everyone was at home. Things have now changed. Some colleagues have returned to the office five days a week. Others are testing out a hybrid schedule, or opting not to go back at all. If you’re opting for flexibility, how can you use your manager skills to make sure that you’re not unintentionally leaning out of your career? By the way, what happens if certain subsets of the workforce, like mothers, are less likely to return to the office?

During the pandemic it was, “We’re forced to work from home” Now you’re choosing to work from home. You’re choosing not to be in the office. Many of us have been dutifully working at home, trading time in transit for longer work hours, giving up office coffee breaks for boosted productivity. Managers need some manager training in order to understand that their boss might not see it that way. In-office workers are identified as higher performers and given bigger raises and promotions. This is even though data shows there’s really no difference between the two groups. If anything, it turns out that remote workers perform slightly better and are more engaged.

A survey of employees found that 43% of remote workers and 49% of hybrid workers were highly engaged, compared with 35% of on-site workers. Still, many companies assume off-site employees are doing less. There’s still this belief that a lot of senior leaders have which is “I want workers in person”. This belief is not founded in science or data. Instead it’s all founded in personal belief and personal experience. Nearly 60% of professionals surveyed said that it would hurt their career advancement if they admitted to their manager they’d rather keep working remotely. However given the choice, many employees still want to – especially those who are parents. A survey found that employees without children under 18 were nearly three times as likely to prefer on-site work. Another survey found some differences by gender, too: 26% of female caretakers preferred to be fully remote, compared with 18% of male caretakers.

How Companies Are Revamping Their Remote-Work Experience

Companies are embracing remote work amid an exodus of skilled labor. Workers understand that without some intervention, what’s likely to happen is gender wage gaps are likely to get worse, not better. It’s clear that a missed promotion and raise now can snowball in a few years. Managers should start analyzing compensation of home workers and office workers the same way many now examine pay by gender to ensure disparities don’t emerge or even widen. Remote workers have to be more direct about their career goals and accomplishments, since managers aren’t just going to pick up on those things by osmosis from the next desk over. Workers need to be careful: don’t gloat, but don’t be shy about mentioning the obstacles you overcame to persevere with a project.

Managers need to consider how remote employees can make sure they’re not forgotten – and how managers can keep things equal. One thing that a manager can do is to use team building to establish an in-office ally on your team, someone who will remind the group to dial you in when impromptu decisions start being made. You also have to stay in the flow. Catch up with your colleagues and keep management abreast of your agenda and accomplishments. If you’re interviewing for a new job at the company and want to work remotely, ask which senior leaders work from home. Knowing this will give you a sense of whether the company really values flexible work, and what career paths are possible without coming into the office.

What All Of This Means For You

The pandemic changed everything for workers. Once upon a time everyone used to come into the office and do their work there. However, when the pandemic hit all of a sudden everyone become a remote worker. Now that the pandemic has faded, team members and managers are struggling to try to determine if they want to continue to work remotely or if they want to come into the office. This decision can have a significant impact on their careers.

When we consider where we want to work in the future, we need to consider the impact that this decision can have on our career. During the pandemic when we were all working at home, even if we worked harder, there was a good chance that nobody noticed. Studies have been done that show remote workers actually work harder than workers in the office. Certain types of workers, such as parents, would prefer to keep working from home. Managers need to take a careful look at what people are being paid to make sure that there is not a gap between remote workers and workers who are in the office. Managers also have to take steps to make sure that remote workers are not forgotten.

The future that we are moving into is going to consist of workers, both team members and managers, who are both in the office and working remotely. The remote workers need to understand that working remotely can have a negative impact on their careers. However, if they realize this then they can take steps to make sure that they are not left out of what is going on at the company. With the proper techniques, remote workers can have the same career success as workers in the office.

– Dr. Jim Anderson Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: What is the best way to make sure that you don’t get passed over for opportunities when you are working remotely?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Let’s face it: we’ve all been through a lot. Life may have been quite busy before, but then that pandemic thing happened and things just sorta went out of control no matter how good your manager skills are. Now that life is getting back to normal, it’s perfectly ok for you to be thinking about perhaps quitting your job and looking for a new one. Although this is an acceptable thought to be having, before you pull the trigger and submit your resignation there are a few things that you might want to consider. You want to make sure that any major change that you make like this is the right thing for you to be doing at this point in time.