Herald Sun: How to remain seen, land a promotion when not in the office - Michelle Gibbings

Thanks to the Herald Sun and Cara Jenkin for inviting me to share my thoughts about how to land a promotion while working remotely. 


Working from home may be more productive for many workers but it also has made it more difficult for them to be promoted.

HubSpot’s 2020 Remote Work Report reveals 44 per cent of workers globally have not been promoted since starting full-time remote work in March last year, with 31 per cent believing they have not been offered a promotional because of this.

Many say their manager does not see their full scope of work (36 per cent) and it is harder to give feedback remotely than in person (22 per cent).

About 53 per cent believe they need to be online to prove to their manager they are working.

It’s a trend also seen in Australia, with Qualtrics research showing half of Aussies believe their career will be disadvantaged if they don’t return to the office.

Qualtrics head of employee experience growth and strategy Steve Bennetts says although hybrid may be the preferred working model for many jobseekers, simply enabling employees to work wherever they choose is not the answer.

“The challenge for employers is making sure no individual gets left behind or is disadvantaged by the transformations under way,” he says.

But with lockdowns forcing people to work from home – and a survey by financial advisory Findex revealing “nothing” would lure 23 per cent of workers back to the office – workers need to find ways to get the attention of their managers to get ahead.


An international survey conducted by CEMS, the Global Alliance in Management Education, reveals 72 per cent of recent postgraduates, mostly aged in their 20s, believe not being able to physically network with colleagues will negatively affect their long-term careers.

“While graduates recognise that the Covid-19 crisis has accelerated a pre-existing trend toward automation, digitisation and flexible working, they are concerned about the impact decreasing face-to-face interactions and opportunities for ‘in-person’ development will have on their careers,” executive director Roland Siegers says.

“These young professionals recognise that social interaction and collaboration is not only a fundamental human need, but also a valuable source of innovation, productivity and growth during times of crisis.”

Going into the office, when available, will help workers to boost those face-to-face opportunities.

When stuck at home, workers should try to replicate the physical meetings they used to have – for example, have a virtual coffee if they had been in the habit of going out for a coffee with other workers.

Workplace expert Michelle Gibbings says leaders should reach out to staff to help them connect.

“Set regular times to meet with your team members – collectively and individually,” says the author of Step Up: How to Build Your Influence at Work.

“These check-in conversations can be casual and formal, sometimes focusing on deliverables and other times focusing purely on relationships.”


The Unispace WorkReady Survey reveals the greatest remote work challenges workers face are feeling socially disconnected from colleagues (55 per cent) and a lack of team connection (40 per cent), while 30 per cent say there is a lack of accessibility to senior colleagues.

Canva talent acquisition lead Amy Schultz says employers are responsible for having the systems and culture in place to support remote working.

“Our culture and our values are very much aligned so our employees can do their best work and also be their best,” she says.

“That enables us to see continued career progression when everyone is working remote.”

Schultz says communication needs to be frequent and both leaders and workers must speak up.

She advises workers to understand how their manager prefers to communicate. “It might be email, it might be Skype, it might be over text or a phone call,” she says.


Global research by professional training company Roar! Training finds only 4 per cent of employees feel confident at work, with fear of failure, anxiety, self-doubt and lack of recognition holding them back.

This lack of confidence makes it even harder to be heard in video meetings or to get their hard work acknowledged by a manager.

Confidence coach Kirsty Hulse says workers need to set their ambition and write it down so they can commit to it. She advises them to log their wins, and to ask for positive feedback from others.

“Next time those familiar feelings of ‘everybody else is better than me’ arise, try catching them and reminding yourself that what you’re experiencing is commonplace,” she says.

“Boosting confidence isn’t an instant fix, but with the right steps in place, consistency and self-belief, the 96 per cent of people feeling unconfident could experience transformative results.”


Zachyi Lim, who is interning with software company SAP, believes working virtually can affect careers in both positive and negative ways.

For example, he has been more productive and focused while remote as he is able to work in a familiar environment and not “stress about commuting to work”.

“It has, however, become more difficult to work on the soft skills such as networking and communication skills,” he says.

“(But) I see this as an opportunity for growth, not a hurdle.

“It means that I need to be much more proactive in reaching out virtually and initiating conversations.

“As a result of these conversations with people across the business, I have a much better idea of where in the business I would like to go into when my internship concludes.”


Source: SEEK Career Advice

* Document your success in your current role

* Request a meeting with the boss to discuss your work performance, and areas for improvement

* Maintain a good attitude, even in high-stress situations

* Put your hand up for new challenges

* Showcase your interpersonal and people management skills

* Put in some informal face time at Friday night work drinks, in person or on Zoom

* Always complete projects to deadline, even if it means staying late on occasion

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