In the past several years, the working environment has changed massively. The traditional model of office based employment has shifted, with remote employees tuning in from all over the world and many working on remote and hybrid schedules.
This level of flexibility has been welcomed by many employees, saying they have gained more opportunities for travel, and a better work life balance. However, as with any development, there are downsides too.
Gone are the days of the casual conversation around the water cooler that led to an upgrade in skills or a new job opportunity. Those who work remotely miss out on the face to face interaction which can, for some, be the secret to career success.
Remote employees must remember that being away from the workplace could be negatively impacting their learning and development opportunities. Their chances of career development could be limited because they will not necessarily come across the same opportunities in the remote work environment.
At CareerWise, we are experts in all things employment. From professional development to career progression, new skills to new companies, we are here to help your career goals and guide you on the career path. Here’s our guide for how to maintain your career development in the hybrid and remote workplace.
If you are working remotely, it might not have occurred to you that your career development may be suffering. But it’s worth putting some thought into how you can adopt career development strategies away from the office.
In person work automatically leads to opportunities for progression. Perhaps your colleague sees your latest work by chance whilst near your desk, and subsequently invites you to collaborate on new projects. Or perhaps your boss, having noticed your competency through working alongside you, asks you to complete a certain task, rather than asking an outside consultant.
By contrast, it’s easy to feel disconnected when you work remotely.
While there are many benefits to a more flexible working model, there can be some significant disadvantages too. Some remote workers will feel that they are no longer competing on a level playing field, since those employees who are able to be in the office are often in the best position to grasp any career opportunities that arise.
Unequal opportunities are a particular problem for those who needed to work remotely due to caring or childcare responsibilities. However, companies are keen to support their workforces, and so it’s worth being a little proactive.
You will need to take charge of your own career development in order to get ahead.
Here are some strategy ideas.
When you begin your remote work, make it clear to your employer that this doesn’t mean you are uninvolved or unambitious. Request a meeting in order to discuss career development strategies, and how best to continue with these when working in the remote environment. Your employer should have an interest in shaping career development and encouraging your enthusiasm.
Ideas to explore in your personal development plan could include:
Your individual development plan should set a clear direction, giving you targets to attain and a timescale to work to.
It’s important to prioritize remote visibility. Rather than endlessly dodge the Zoom meetings, resist the urge to turn off your camera, and make sure you take an active part. Schedule regular conversations with your boss, to track how you are doing and ensure they think of you when the next opportunity arises.
Many employers provide a learning and development fund for interested employees. They want their employees to have all the skills necessary to perform at their very best.
If you find yourself in the remote workforce, don’t assume your employers is no longer interested in your career development. Make an honest assessment of your own skillset, and then ask your employer if there are courses you could attend to fill any gaps in your C.V.
Your role may be fully remote, or you might do hybrid work, where you sometimes work from home, and sometimes from the office. Either way, there will still be opportunities to connect with your colleagues. You just need to ensure you maximise these chances.
So, don’t skip the Christmas party. See it as a networking opportunity. Go for after work drinks, or arrange them, even if none of you were actually in the office that day.
And consider your personal network – the jobs of your friends, your past colleagues, parents of your children’s schoolfriends. Do any of those people present an opportunity for career development – could they pass on your phone number to a colleague, mention your interest in a certain field of work to their influential friend, or invite you to dinner alongside their C.E.O. husband?
It’s certainly true that career development does differ for remote employees. Remote work has many benefits, but remote workers will need to take much more responsibility for their own career development than in person employees.
However, hybrid and remote employees can still develop fantastic careers. Through individual development plans, good organization, and putting in the extra hours, remote workers can create just as successful careers as their in person colleagues.
If you’re interested in developing your remote career, call CareerWise today. As Ireland’s leading specialist recruitment firm, we have wide experience helping the hybrid workforce find fulfilling and opportunity-filled roles in the Engineering, Supply Chain, Science/Pharma, IT and Accounting industries. Contact us online now or call us on +353 (0)21 206 1900 to arrange a consultation.
Joe Robbins is co-founder of CareerWise Recruitment. A graduate of the University of Limerick (Degree in Business Studies, 1985), Joe worked in the UK for five years where he specialised in materials management, production management and plant management for a number of companies.
He returned to Ireland in 1992 to become Operations Manager for a Cork-based start-up, FMC Automotive Division which was subsequently taken over by Snap-on Equipment. Joe managed the business re-location of this company to Shannon in 1997 before setting up CareerWise Recruitment in 1999.
He is a committee member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) Mid-West region, and a former Director and Vice President of the Shannon Chamber of Commerce. Joe is former Chairperson of the Sixmilebridge Camogie Club and current Chairperson of the Clare County Camogie Board.
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Phone: +353 (0) 21 206 1900