Working from home, remote working, staying at home while trying to work… whatever you call it, some version of the home office is probably here to stay.
When you were at the office, you were physically present and could be seen at your desk, in meetings, and doing all the work things.
Now your presence has flipped: you can be heard, but not seen.
How does a remote worker stay top of mind? Presence is important in the workplace, for managers and employees alike. Shifting to a remote presence is an opportunity: to learn a new way to highlight all the ways you contribute.
Your colleagues don’t get to see how early you arrive at the office, or how short your lunch break is, or how late you stay in the evening. And it’s just as well since none of these are indicators of good work.
Show your presence by showing your progress.
Use your project management, CRM, and communication tools to track the progress you make on your day to day work, and show your presence through progress and accomplishment.
An intelligent question has more value than a good answer.
Make your voice heard by asking questions.
Ask a manager how they want you to communicate on various work issues. Ask a colleague how they would handle a given client situation. Poll your team for their views on how to manage a product question.
Asking questions shows that you are thinking about the best way to do things, and it is a way to interact with your fellow workers.
But intelligent answers and support also have value.
Be present to support others.
Answer their questions, help them work through a project, point them to the right resources. If you see a colleague struggling with a workload, offer to assist with their work or ask what they might need.
Be present by knowing what needs some extra input and who will benefit from an extra hand.
And don’t forget to chat.
In the office you had automatic social banter: “Good morning, how was your weekend?” or “What are you having for lunch?” or “Bring your puppy to work sometime”.
Recreate that as a remote worker.
Check-in with people about their life outside of work. Let everybody know when you are at your desk. Share a picture of the view from the walk you took this morning.
It may take a while to get used to having banter through virtual channels but stick with it until it feels normal. This side of team connection is essential to being present as a remote worker, and to building team culture if you are a manager.
Make yourself heard, when you can not be seen.