How to Advance Your Career When Working Remotely 

Remote work is here to stay. Here are tips to advance your career when working remotely.  

By Jennifer Brummet, PhD, CAE

career woman

Hybrid and remote work are here to stay. Many associations are choosing to stay hybrid or full time remote, citing continued productivity, increased flexibility for employees, and increased employee satisfaction. Employees are even willing to take a pay cut to stay remote

While remote work offers many benefits, one common concern is how remote work could hinder career advancement due to a lack of in-person face time, communication challenges, and more limited networking opportunities. In particular, some past studies demonstrate that remote workers might be at a disadvantage when it comes to getting a promotion, especially in a hybrid environment where some employees are in-person.   

As remote and hybrid work shifts from a temporary to permanent arrangement for many workers, it’s important to visit strategies that can help remote employees advance their career and professional development.  

Here are some tips to help you continue to build your career and network while working from home. 

Establish Clear Lines of Communication 

Regular communication with your team and supervisor is critical for all employees, and is especially important for remote workers. Regular touch base meetings are key to a productive working relationship with your team and supervisor. Make sure that your colleagues can reach you through agreed upon communication methods no matter where you or they are located. Be sure to respond in a timely manner. Clear communication and visibility for all employees is key to staying engaged and productive.  

Connect with your colleagues 

Finding ways to connect with colleagues and network with your team is helpful to boost your presence and visibility within your organization. Increasing “face-to-face” time can be challenging in a virtual work environment. If you are a remote worker, be proactive and reach out to other colleagues to connect, and potentially to identify new projects or professional development opportunities. This can help colleagues get to know each other and identify opportunities for collaboration. Additionally, ask your manager or other colleagues to keep an eye out for opportunities that might be a fit for your professional goals.  

Offices can consider virtual “watercooler” meetings or venues for colleagues to connect outside of formal meetings. The type of networking support needed may vary based on career stage and tenure at the company. New employees may need additional support to learn company culture or meet new individuals. In particular, employees that are new to the workforce may need additional support. One study showed that interns who had Zoom time with senior managers were about five to seven percent more likely to be offered a job than other groups that didn’t have regular online contact with supervisors.  

Track Your Progress and Discuss Expectations 

Clear communication and expectations are essential to ensuring all employees, whether in office or remote, are making the appropriate progress and can allow for check-in conversations. It also allows an opportunity to visit the team’s progress and acknowledge individual and team accomplishments.

Be sure to have regular performance check-ins with your supervisor. Track your progress, accomplishments, and tasks, and have an open discussion about career development and how your supervisor can best support you. Ask for the support you need to be successful in your role and reach your goals.  

Work with your colleagues to set clear expectations and understand your role on projects. Clear communication and expectations are essential to ensuring all employees, whether in office or remote, are making the appropriate progress and can allow for check-in conversations. It also allows an opportunity to visit the team’s progress and acknowledge individual and team accomplishments.  

Having a clear tracking of your accomplishments and job responsibilities will help you be successful in your current role and will help you prepare for your next career move, whether internal or external.  

Learn a New Skill 

Online learning opportunities are readily available, making it easier than ever for employees to attend a course or learn a new skill.  Keep an eye out for virtual conferences, synchronous online courses, asynchronous online learning opportunities, and microlearning opportunities that might allow you to learn a new skill. This new skill could help you excel at your current role, or, help you bolster your resume for your next opportunity.  

Network Beyond Your Current Employer 

With more virtual networking opportunities than ever before, it’s important to remember that not all networking needs to be in your office. Take advantage of professional associations, conferences, LinkedIn, and other venues to expand your professional network. Fostering a strong network and identifying a mentor from outside your current job can help you gather insight and guidance as you navigate the next steps in your career. Additionally, be willing to serve as a mentor and a connection for others. These types of relationships are often mutually beneficial.  

If you perhaps find yourself spending more time in your local community due to a lack of commute, explore volunteer opportunities close to home to gain more experience and expand your local network.  Volunteer roles can bolster your leadership skills, expand your network, and open new doors.  

Do you have other tips for how to advance your career as a remote worker? Share your own tips on MyForum.  


About the Author

Jennifer Brummet, PhD, CAE, is the Research Manager at the American Epilepsy Society, where she oversees professional development programs and grant programs for early career clinicians and scientists. She is also a member of Association Forum's Content Working Group. Learn more about Jennifer here.

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