What do you think? Do you deserve a mug that says, “Boss’s Favorite (Remote) Employee?”
Even though your boss won’t admit it, there’s likely a favorite employee or two on the team. How do you spot them? They’re frequently huddling together with the boss (in person or via Zoom), seemingly connected at the hip about office topics, or laughing uproariously at some inside joke. If you secretly wish that were you, here are 3 ways you can get on your boss’s good side.
Now, more than ever, standing out as a model employee while squirreled away in our home offices (or kitchens that double as offices for that matter) is no small feat. Not only are we expected to be rock stars on the home front 24/7, now we need to make sure we’re standing out as key employees from whatever work location we’re in.
know how to communicate
According to Forbes, the top 3 ways to impress your boss while working remotely have to do with communication and effort; namely by sending periodic updates, doing more than what’s been asked, and by proactively proposing ideas.
Let’s break down and explore these key areas of communication and effort:
If the golden rule of real estate is “location, location, location,” than the golden rule of being an effective remote employee is “communicate, communicate, communicate.”
Consider your boss’s favorite mode of communication: is it email? Text? Voice Mail? Whatever it is, that needs to be your new favorite now, too. (As far as communicating with your boss, that is.) Understanding and accepting the easiest and most effective way to communicate with your boss not only aids in efficiency of dialogue but shows you care enough to recognize that it’s the preferred method by adopting it as your own.
Keep this in mind: Ellie Eckhoff, a vice president at ClearRock, a leadership development and executive coaching firm, is quoted in Money.com as saying,
“…if your boss doesn’t see you every day, you may be missing out on opportunities to advance. When you’re out of sight, you’re not going to be top of top of mind when it comes to landing important assignments or even promotions. If you can’t stop by your manager’s office for an impromptu chat, you have to work harder to connect on a personal level and build up trust, and it’s up to you to find ways to foster that connection.”
We’re all bombarded with information while working remotely, so why not help filter out the noise by sending a concise snapshot to your boss, regularly? A simple “No need to respond to this but here’s some good news for you to share” or “I just heard this about the client and thought you should be aware given our upcoming pitch” type of a heads-up helps organize your boss’s thoughts and prioritize action items.
Sometimes delivering the message is all that’s needed, not a dialogue. Be clear as to what necessitates action vs. simply providing helpful information. And, of course, be judicious with the frequency of these communications.
Keeping an open line of communication helps manage expectations, especially in a remote environment. Be sure to ask clearly and openly for what you need, whether that’s flexibility in your work hours, a renegotiated deadline, support or insight on a particular project, or anything that’s critical to you delivering when you say you’re going to deliver. When expectations are managed, they are more often met. That’s a win-win for all.
‘A’ FOR EFFORT:
Help triage what’s the most important issue for your boss right now and either a) free them up to do it by taking other things off their plate, or b) contribute to it with whatever data, process or support you can provide. Be thoughtfully helpful.
When it comes to reporting, it matters more now than ever. Whether it’s quantitative for quota-driven industries, or qualitative for keeping clients happy and on board, it’s crucial to keep all team members – especially the boss – informed. Be realistic in your forecasting, especially in a challenging climate, so you’re not overpromising and underdelivering. In short – help your boss feel like you’re reaching for the stars, but make sure those stars are not in another stratosphere. Your boss will appreciate the honesty, and it helps manage expectations all around.
While your boss hopefully understands that you have a lot on your plate, you risk being seen as taking your foot off the gas or falling a bit behind while hidden behind closed doors at home.
Ideally, you want to position yourself as someone who is up for the task and ready to take on the challenge of big things as new opportunities begin to open up. If you don’t, you risk being on the layoff list if one comes. If you do, you may be in line for promotional opportunities, as well as a larger percentage of what’s likely to be a meager pay raise pool this year.
Bottom line? There’s never been a better time to get creative, be proactive, and get in the driver’s seat on that communication train. You’ll be drinking out of that “Boss’s Favorite” mug in no time.
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