How to Get Promoted if You’re Working From Home

The past year and a half has changed the work environment for many Americans who were used to working in an office setting.  Moving from a cube to the unused room in your house that you changed into an “office” has definitely been a big change.  Going from seeing coworkers at the water cooler and taking a coffee break to emptying your dishwasher as you make yourself a cup of coffee has affected many working relationships and how work gets done.

As many companies begin to transition into hybrid work environments where some employees are going back into the office and others are working remotely brings up a lot of questions. 

smiling woman typing on laptop at home

               –Do I have to go back into the office?

               -Where will I work in the office now that I don’t have a designated work space?

               -Am I still allowed to heat up fish in the microwave?

Okay that last question probably hasn’t been a question on anyone’s mind hopefully.  I’m sure there’s a group of people who definitely don’t miss the smell of yucky microwaved food or burnt popcorn (and why people make and burn popcorn in the microwave at work is still a mystery to me.  If you’ve been hired for a job you should be competent enough to make popcorn in a microwave.)  The other two are very valid questions and for a lot of companies, there may not be valid answers.

One of the biggest questions employees are asking though, is how will I be promoted if I’m working remotely, especially if others on my team are in the office?  This is a very interesting question and an even trickier answer because many companies and employers haven’t had to navigate these waters.  Of course working remotely didn’t get invented in 2020, even permanent remote work isn’t anything new, but team dynamics have certainly changed in the past year.

smiling woman working on laptop at home

So how do you get promoted if you’re working from home and other members of your team are in the office?  Well get your popcorn ready and I’ll tell you how.

  1. Be Available as Much as Possible
  2. Go Above and Beyond Your Responsibilities
  3. Develop Strong Relationships With Your Team

Be Available as Much As Possible

Now, I’m not saying you have to handcuff yourself to your laptop and desk.  What I am saying is that you have to find ways to get the edge over your team members who are in the office.  One way of doing that is by being available.  Unless you live in a mansion and it takes you 10 minutes to walk from one side of your house to your office area, you shouldn’t have much of a commute.  This already gives you an advantage over your friends in the office.  You can be online early in the morning and late into the evening ready to hop on a call or answer a question while everyone else is in their car listening to 89.5fm WSOU (Shout out to Seton Hall radio and destressing with some heavy metal. Again, not saying you have to be a slave to your laptop, but if you want to get promoted, putting in extra hours will definitely help.

Go Above and Beyond Your Responsibilities

   When you tell people you work from home, they immediately think you are sitting at home all day with your feet up watching TV and taking good solid naps.  Unfortunately that’s not the case and a lot of times, you are actually working harder than you would be if you’re in the office.  To show your boss and your coworkers in the office that you aren’t just relaxing at home, it might be a good idea to try and take on extra responsibilities if possible.  Now, I’m not saying to burn yourself out, but if you want to get that promotion, you need to show your value to the team.

yard with birdhouse near shrubs and plants near cottage

Develop Strong Relationships With Your Team

It’s very easy to work from home and not talk to anyone…ever.  You may have your meetings, etc, but outside of that it’s pretty easy to just keep to yourself.  You don’t have to say “Good Morning” to anyone, talk about if Tom Brady is going to retire this year with the guy in the cube next to you or ask people what they’re getting for lunch.  To make up for that, it’s important to try and make personal relationships with the people on your team and your boss (especially your boss).  You need to be an actual person to them, and not a robot typing on the other side of the screen.  Try and relate to them, make small talk before or after meetings, reach out and ask questions and spark other conversations.  You need to go above and beyond to be a person to them.  It’s extremely important.

While following these steps may seem intimidating, if you’re looking to get a promotion, you need to get outside of the box.  If all three seem hard, then just focus on one.  I promise, if you put your mind to it, you can do it.

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