Working From Home? Here’s How To Improve Your Visibility At Work

Working From Home? Here’s How To Improve Your Visibility At Work
Jobstreet content teamupdated on 29 August, 2022
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Wasn’t it just a couple of years ago that people perceived remote work as a ludicrous, challenging, and impractical setup? Fast forward to today, many offices have fully adapted the work-from-home or hybrid arrangement. In Singapore, the work-from-anywhere scheme is here to stay even as the country recovers from the effects of recent years.

Not surprisingly, most Asian employees now want more flexibility regarding their work, with only 7% preferring full, onsite work arrangements. It’s necessary, however, to understand how this “freedom” can impact your career advancement, starting with your visibility at work.

What is Visibility in the Workplace?

Professionally speaking, visibility at work means being seen and recognised for your performance and efforts. It also encompasses your inclusion in crucial company conversations. When you’re “visible,” you’re not just some warm body taking up space in the office or the company payroll. You’re actively contributing to the company – and it shows.

In the traditional in-office setup, the concept of visibility is a no-brainer and usually requires no additional effort. You show up, clock in, and engage in a little chit-chat, before settling down in your cubicle to get work done—within visual range of your superior. You’re there, accounted for.

Meanwhile, visibility can look different for those who work at home or remotely, more so if you work in hybrid teams with some members on site, or have flexible schedules that are not necessarily the same as everyone else. There may be days when your boss or colleagues don’t get to “see” you (maybe because you work odd hours or never turn on your Zoom camera?). Thus, visibility problems can arise.

Why Visibility is Important at Work

Suffice it to say, many reasons explain the need to strive for work visibility – and it's not just to win the best attendance award.

It is crucial in getting ahead.

When people see you, know who you are, and are aware of what you can do, you’re more likely to be considered for promotions or fascinating assignments. It may seem like playing politics, but it’s a reality you have to face: If you keep your head down too much, you’re likely to miss out on opportunities to get ahead.

It shows your value to the team and the company.

So you’re good at your job? Show it. Let people know. Aside from showcasing your commitment to your role, being visible highlights the value you bring to the table, making you more indispensable to the company.

It helps you build stronger relationships.

Even if you’re 100% virtual, being visible helps you maintain good working relationships with your superiors and co-workers, keeping you in the loop about the company, allowing you to stay in sync with deliverables, and boosting personal bonds.

The Visibility Challenges of Working Remote

Aside from the most talked about problems, like feelings of isolation, mental stress, and increased burnout, working remotely can potentially hinder your professional advancement primarily due to decreased visibility. Here’s proof: a U.S. study found that employees who worked from home were 50% less likely to be promoted than their co-workers who reported onsite. Simply put, out of sight, out of mind.

Remote communication challenges also impact visibility for remote workers – more so when communication channels are ineffective or inefficient. Fewer opportunities for face-to-face interactions can also cause a lot of remote employees to feel invisible, left out, or even talked about (in a negative way) by co-workers, according to a study.

Moreover, because remote employees have limited access to company resources and information, workers are more likely to feel uninvolved or unincluded in vital company discussions and events.

How to Boost Your Visibility

The good news? While you should consider the impact of remote working on your career, opting for a WFH or even hybrid setup doesn’t automatically equate to a professional dead end. You can take several measures to improve your visibility at work and stay at the top of the game—even if you’re slaying those presentations from your bedroom and not the boardroom.

Here are some strategies to get you in the “seen zone” at work:

Show your face.

It may be convenient to log on to a meeting with your unshowered morning face – because you're switching your camera off anyway – but you may want to rethink this habit. According to research, regular face time positively impacts your career growth and professional relationships as it signals your strong commitment to your job, team, and the organisation.

That said, try turning on your camera now and then, or consider dropping by the office occasionally. You may also want to update your profile photo in your messaging apps so it shows your face and not your cat’s. This way, you casually remind everyone of who you are and that you are an integral part of the team.

Make your voice heard.

Speaking up during meetings is also an ideal way to increase your visibility, especially when you have colleagues from different parts of the world. Ask questions, participate in discussions, express your opinion—and don’t forget to use a strong, confident voice. It helps you establish your presence albeit virtually, and make you someone worth remembering.

Utilise messaging apps and platforms.

Aside from being crucial in team communications, chat apps and other messaging platforms allow you to easily stay in touch with co-workers while also being an avenue for socialisation. (Check out 5 Best Ways to Use Technology for Working Remotely )

Make sure you’re visible and active on your company’s preferred platform and be quick to respond or engage with topics concerning you.

Unless prohibited by your office, you can also use these apps for watercooler chats a.k.a. informal conversations about anything and everything—from the weather and Netflix to your recent vacation. While these online ‘socials’ may not directly get you a promotion, you can use them to connect with your peers and establish a sense of belonging.

Give regular updates.

Even if your boss doesn’t require you to update on your tasks, be proactive and send regular emails on what you’ve accomplished weekly so you’re aligned with project status and deliverables. The same is true for your teammates: Keep them up to speed with what you’ve been doing to avoid miscommunication.

Aside from proving your efficiency, it can also contribute to your sense of usefulness wherever you are. However, avoid being dubbed a show-off by highlighting the team’s progress instead of just flaunting your accomplishments.

Sync your schedule with your colleagues.

Have the flexibility to choose when you work? Good for you. But it may not be beneficial for your visibility if you choose hours when no one else is working. Strive to have much of your communications happen in real time. It means when your co-workers and managers are online, too. Aside from being faster, this gives you valuable face time with them, too. If you have co-workers across different time zones, you can just opt for bi-weekly catch-ups that work with everyone’s schedules.

Be more involved.

Is there a company fun run? Sign up and join in. Does HR need help with the Christmas party? Volunteer as a production assistant. Although your work performance is the most crucial element of your office visibility, your off-work efforts count, too. Plus, getting involved in extracurricular activities can also extend your popularity outside your team, making you noticeable to other departments (which can benefit you should you decide to switch positions). The new friends you’ll gain are bonuses. (Also read: 10 Tips on How to Make Networking Events Benefit Your Career )

Simply be available.

The easiest way to increase your visibility is also the simplest. Just be available to your bosses and workers. Be online at the right hours, stay accessible via phone or messaging apps, answer emails or work messages promptly, and return work calls responsibly. Remember, being hard to find or impossible to reach—especially if you’re remote—can easily paint you as someone uncommitted or unreliable. Nobody wants that.

The Consequences of Being Invisible

For introverts, being invisible at work can sound like pure bliss: You’re free to focus quietly on your tasks without the pressure to socialise. There’s no need to be overly conscious of being watched by your superiors. But while it may feel like a superpower, it’s not—especially if you’re serious about your career goals.

When you’re invisible, people may misconstrue you as lazy, unreliable, or useless. Your colleagues or superiors may have no interest in listening to you when you talk. They may easily dismiss you or fail to recognise your work. In short, your value to the company becomes unclear, which puts you in a dangerous position.

The Bottomline

Even if you love the convenience and flexibility of working remotely, it’s important that you constantly strive to make your presence known to show your true value to the company, foster good working relationships, and thrive professionally.

By consciously improving your visibility at work, you’re actively bolstering your career to new heights—even if you’re doing so from home. So go ahead, turn on that camera, and let yourself be seen.

For more tips on how to navigate your career, check out our Career Resources page or download JobStreet’s app available on the App Store and Google Play. #LetsGetToWork and create or update your JobStreet profile to search for new jobs and find opportunities.

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