First, Get Out of Your Comfort Zone and Join a Group or Project That Interests You
Participating in an activity that doesn’t directly affect your job may seem stressful at firstut it can actually be fun and help you connect with colleagues you wouldn’t otherwise know.
According to a senior customer support specialist, getting to know people and participating in events has helped rise in the ranks at Relevate.
Working with our technical writers to improve our knowledge base articles and volunteering to serve as an editor and contributor for the User blog, Aita says, “has given me the opportunity to build relationships with people in other departments as well as with those in other roles, such as product experts and managers.”
Arrange for One-on-one Video Conferences With Coworkers
It’s difficult to get to know your coworkers when you’re working from home. There are several reasons why employees who work from home prefer one-on-one video calls or virtual meals over other methods of building relationships with their coworkers. A senior customer success manager from New Orleans, Kate Woodford, recalls her first few weeks at Relevate as a new remote employee. “I invited most team members to virtual lunch,” she says.
Reed says, “I took an hour to have a one-on-one lunch with each colleague and chat about nearly anything but work.” “Some of us have established regular chats with those people because they are the ones with whom we feel most at ease. For established employees, regular meetings like these are still important in order to keep up with or build stronger working relationships.” Meghan Castillo, a Virginia-based learning experience designer, says, “I schedule at least three video calls with different teammates each week that I used as times for informal relationship building.”
With this method, I am able to learn more about my coworkers’ lives and the workplace, as well as strengthen my relationships with them to gain information more quickly. Relevate Blog Managing Editor Meg Prater also uses the strategy of scheduling regular check-ins. Additionally, Prater says she schedules monthly one-on-ones with colleagues she doesn’t get to see as often as she’d like. “It’s not uncommon for me to meet up with colleagues virtually for coffee or lunch.”
There are times when Prater finds it difficult to get involved in groups and cross-team projects because he’s an introvert by nature, but he also tries to do so whenever possible. “It’s because of these little things that my colleagues see me as a more valuable resource.”
Insights From Your Role Can Be Published, Shared, and Discussed
Your company’s blog or wiki can be a great place to share your thoughts, ideas, and accomplishments with your coworkers. As an alternative, you could write a blog post on your own site and then share it with your coworkers.
Colleagues will be able to learn more about you and your work if you write about what you’ve learned in your current position. You may also be approached by coworkers who have questions about your expertise or want to collaborate with you on a project.
Employees at Relevate have access to an internal Wiki, where they can share their thoughts and lessons learned. Blake Reichenbach, a Kentucky-based customer support specialist, has been using it since joining Relevate.
As soon as I felt at ease in my position, I set about increasing my visibility within the organisation. According to Reichenbach, “I approached it by being attentive to problems that I noticed and then using my strengths to find solutions to those problems.” When it came to writing, I wrote articles for our Wiki, contributed to the Marketing and User blogs, as well as used my own site to test and apply inbound best practises.” Reichenbach recalls that by the time he made his first trip to the office, several colleagues had commented on how happy they were to see a face to the name they’d known from Slack, blogs, and/or the Wiki.
Reichenbach Gave a Few Pointers on How to Write a Good Wiki or Internal Blog
A good Wiki will address common pain points, such as those you encounter while working as a customer support representative, Reichenbach says. Insights that are both actionable and easy to understand are provided.
“Shining light on your own successes” is not the only purpose of using Wikis, according to Reichenbach.
Instead, “They should provide value for your colleagues, answer questions, solve problems, and demonstrate expertise in an engaging way.”
It’s important to “get used” to writing as a remote employee, says Alex Birkett, a senior marketing manager in Texas.
Words will make up the vast majority of your professional ‘personal brand.’ Maintaining an active Twitter account is an excellent way to keep up with the latest developments in your industry.
Use the Company’s Direct Messenger App to Stay in Touch With Coworkers
Additionally, Birkett recommends participating in discussions within your company’s direct messaging system, such as Slack or Skype, he writes.
It’s possible to get noticed on both professional and non-professional channels, Birkett says.
It’s also a favourite of Chloe Christiansen, an Inbound success coach.
As Christiansen explains, “I stay connected to teammates by engaging in our team’s channels.” In these group discussions, she discusses both work-related and non-work-related topics. “I sign off with a photo of my home base in Oregon and my dog Cabela, and I join in on the conversations going on all day.”
“By doing this, I am able to support my colleagues and maintain a presence in the office even though I am not physically present,” explains Christiansen.
Internal messaging and remote work are so prevalent at Relevate that some teams even use it as a daily meeting medium.
We have a daily “yesterday/today” standup where everyone can share their daily priorities in a few sentences, says Christina Kokoros, a senior help-desk technician.
A digital standup gives me a sense of community and lets my colleagues know what I am working on, says Kokoros. “Moving from an in-office job to a remote one was difficult because it made me feel like I had to prove that I wasn’t just home hanging out. As a result, stand-ups are a great tool for this.”
Kokoros, like Birkett, says she participates in informal, recreational, or non-work-related discussion channels.
This is a place where we can be human and exchange stories and jokes with one another, she says.
You can build a stronger relationship with your coworkers even if they already know what your day-to-day job entails by having informal conversations with them, like Kokoros.
Tell Your Team About Your Successes and Failures
Additionally, as mentioned in Step 3, you’ll want to let your boss, team, and coworkers know what you’ve been up to professionally.
Small and large accomplishments alike can go unnoticed if you aren’t well-known around the office. Even more importantly, your manager may not be aware of all the valuable lessons you’re gaining from your mistakes.
Keep your manager, your team, and yourself updated on your progress and activities on a regular basis to ensure everyone is on the same page.
My manager and your team are not sitting next to me, which means that I need to be more open about both successes and failures. This allows us to get to know one another better while also ensuring that Reed’s work doesn’t go unnoticed.
I send in customer wins to my manager and mentor. Reed continues, “It brightens their day, too.” I also bring my failures to my one-on-ones so that I can demonstrate where I need to improve to my manager.
If at all possible, stop by the office and say hello.
Remote Relevaters recommend that you take advantage of any opportunity to visit your company’s headquarters. As a result of this trip, you’ll have the opportunity to meet your coworkers in person. At around the 10-month mark of my employment, my manager allowed me to travel to the Cambridge office to meet with members of the marketing, blog, and Academy teams as well as support leadership, Reichenbach explains.
“I used these conversations as an opportunity to introduce myself, get to know more about the work that these teams were doing that may not have been very visible from the vantage point of the customer support organisation, and outline my own interests and goals,” Reichenbach says. Because of this, my “employee brand” was able to spread to teams that I didn’t interact with on a daily basis. I visit the office several times a year for special events or important meetings. When I’m there, I make it a point to spend as little time on my laptop as possible and as much time with people as possible, Birkett says.
As a blogger for the Relevate Blog,
Allie Decker visits the company’s HQ once a quarter. She spends the majority of her time planning meetings with coworkers, but she also makes time for socialising outside of the office.
Decker says, “I try to spend time with coworkers outside of work, like at happy hours and lunches.” It is a rule of mine to attend all company-wide events and meetings, no matter how insignificant they may seem at the time.
A company-wide programme can be started or taken over.
Additionally, Decker has taken over a company-wide internal event that requires months of planning and collaboration with a wide range of Relevate employees and stakeholders.
A quarterly company-wide event that necessitates collaboration across nearly every department is the programme I oversee. My name and face will be in front of everyone who attends, Decker says.
If you’re working from home, Decker advises you to take advantage of opportunities that don’t perfectly align with your current job. “Managing the programme is daunting, but it’s a good challenge and helps me gain a reputation and trustworthiness.”
Reed Recommends Working on High-profile Projects While Decker Has Taken Over a Major Company Programme at Relevate
A process has a hole in it? If you have a need, put up a flag and offer to fill it, advises Reed. Even if you are new to your role or remote working, this is a great way to make an impact on your team.
Take part in team video calls discussions
Don’t forget to use the scheduled team meetings as a way to gain visibility in addition to making extra efforts such as participating in groups, scheduling one-on-ones, and writing Wikis.
Tong, a revenue operations specialist based out of Indiana says, “I always try to make at least one connection or ask one question during any given meeting…. I may ask them who is speaking or ask them to adjust the camera—this calls attention to remote accessibility and generally makes it easier for me to communicate.”
Aita and Castillo have some additional suggestions for gaining valuable visibility as a leader if you’re able to host or present at a team meeting.
As part of her weekly team meetings, Aita aims to “host a topic of discussion or provide my own insight,” she says. This gives me the self-assurance I need to step outside of my comfort zone, share my thoughts, and engage in meaningful dialogue with others.
Castillo adds, “I try to set the tone by beginning the meeting with a comment from each person related to something fun that is happening in their lives outside of work,” when leading meetings for his team.
Remote Work: How to Get Around
It can be difficult to get noticed, but as the Relevaters featured in this post have discovered, it can also be extremely advantageous.
“I think one of the biggest fears of those going remote is losing visibility and therefore career growth opportunities,” says Birkett. However, you can also gain visibility from a distance. As long as you’re willing to put in the effort, you can succeed at working from home. Take a cue from Birkett and the Relevate workforce and connect with coworkers whenever possible if you’re a remote employee.