As much of a fan I am of employers providing hybrid and remote work options to their employees, we have already seen proof that these new work arrangements have widened pervasive gender and racial gaps in leadership, pay, and promotions.  I know…annoying.

According to a survey from Qualtrics, remote working dads are 3x more likely than moms to get promoted and get a higher raise (26% of men vs. 13% of women).

What is contributing to this gap? Proximity bias.

Proximity bias is the belief that in-office workers are higher performers than remote workers and 64% of managers believe this.

Researchers have also found that men are more likely to return to the office sooner and for more days than women. And many people of color, women, and people with disabilities are reluctant to return to the office because it gets tiring to codeswitch and to deal with microaggressions.

 

In U.S. work culture, the employees who get the promotions are  the people most visible to their managers, who strategically share their accomplishments, and are connected to high status networks.

 

Below I’m giving you 6 steps you can take as a remote worker to keep and increase your visiblity as well as your chances of that next promotion.

 

But first…

Are you a manager?

🎖It’s time to get curious about how proximity bias could be skewing your perception of employee performance. Just because you see John in-person doesn’t mean he is more effective than Jen who is working from home. Your brain will always like a shortcut because it’s easier than digging into real metrics by which you measure employee performance. (BTW – those metrics may need tweaking, too.)

🖥 Also your tech set-up can make or break your remote employees ability to fully participate in meetings and discussions. This means sharing documents well in advance and testing things out so you’re ready to connect. A good tech set-up includes a large screen, clear volume, and solid internet. Best practice is to assign an in-office colleague to tend to tech during the meeting. Rotate this role so it’s not always the same person.

 

Are you a remote employee?

Here are 6 steps you can take to avoid becoming invisible at work.

1. Talk to your manager / leadership about:

    • creating guardrails for in-person work time. By enforcing specific time limits in the office for everyone, it will ensure that no single person gets more face time. It also takes the added pressure off of individual employees to figure out how much time to spend in the office!
      • From Anne Helen Petersen, author of Culture Study: “In our current framework, boundaries are the individual’s responsibility, and when they’re broken, it’s because the individual failed to protect them. But guardrails? They’re there to protect everyone, and they’re maintained by the state, aka your company. There are a lot of ways to actually build guardrails around employee’s lives, and we discuss them at length in the book. But the larger shift has to be away from all of this worthless “personally-maintained boundaries” bullshit.”
    • ensuring there is someone dedicated at every meeting to support tech connections for remote workers (if your manager isn’t open to this – ask an in-office colleague to take on this role).
    • your performance metrics. If you’re not clear on how your performance is being evaluated and why – now is the time.
    • your interest in a promotion (if this is the case). Your manager is not a mind reader. You need to tell them if you want to advance and ask them to partner with you to make it happen.

 

2. Turn your video on during meetings and make it a point to contribute at least one time, even if it is to amplify (compliment) a point a colleague has made. Need an extra push? Ask a colleague you’re friendly with to prompt you. “Hey Denise, you were just telling me about your idea…”

 

3. Schedule a consistent video-on check-in time with your manager. Send an agenda at least 24 hours beforehand with the one/two things you want to cover. Begin the meeting with wins – and encourage your manager to share theirs.

 

4. Make a list of 5 colleagues who are important to your career future and create a schedule where you share something they would value. It could be a relevant article, a congratulations, an invite to have a coffee date, or an offer to make a connection with someone you know they’d love to meet. Add their first name to the subject line. “Hey Lindsey – this made me think of you!” They’ll be more likely to open it. 

 

5. If it’s safe for you to do so, make it a point to get some in-person face time. While we may be way more accustomed to showing up in boxes on a screen, nothing will ever replace being in the same room. Decide on a schedule and stick to it even when the voice of “I could just do this online” creeps in.

 

6. Network outside your company. The more visible you are in your industry, the more valuable you’ll be in your company. This is how you increase your chances of poachability. Find an industry conference and attend, set a goal to meet with 2 new people. Or better yet, pitch yourself to speak at the event! Start writing articles or doing book reviews on relevant career topics and build your LinkedIn engagement. Pitch yourself to industry related podcasts. And then share the links!

 

When all else fails, get a giant cardboard cutout of yourself and plant it next to the coffee maker. ☕️ I’m only half joking.

 

 

 

Promote Yourself Professionally logo with text "Building your confidence with visibility and the support and strategy to build career amplifying content."

Want some structure and accountability around the great ideas you just read about?

You can join my course – Promote Yourself Professionally – at anytime.

It includes weekly live Q&A Support sessions,and the tools and ready-to-go examples on how to get started with professional self-promotion. Things like…

  • your resume
  • your LinkedIn profile
  • your professional bio
  • LinkedIn articles
  • a professional website
  • and more.

Want to talk it over? Set up a time!