With visibility cut to zero, it begs a modern take of the old conundrum – if no one is watching the team, is work done as efficiently as it could be? Perhaps because negative work practices – like intentionally extending hours to show effort – have become so ingrained, people managers are now finding it hard to gauge their colleagues’ commitment.
And it’s not necessarily their fault. With personal interaction so limited, how do you make your professional presence felt while working from home and your contributions aren’t lost in a sea of Zoom meetings?
Trust is a two-way street and showing your supervisors that you are not just dependable but thriving, will lead to a very happy work-from-home situation.
Help them maintain that with team tools like Slack or Asana. These two platforms are great options as work hubs if your organisation does not have its own online collaboration tools.
Slack focuses more on creating messaging channels for efficient topical communication, while Asana has a project-focus, with helpful timeline and labelling tools to keep everyone on track. These apps also integrate with popular work tools such as Office 365, Google Docs and Zoom.
One way of doing this is to engage with your colleagues often. If they tag you in a comment, even an acknowledgement helps – and you never know when one of them will mention you in passing or reference you on a piece of work done to your manager. These frequent mentions will then have a positive effect on your “attendance”.
If your supervisor is a micro-manager, ease their anxiety by proposing weekly reporting sessions. It’s a little bit more work, but these frequent touch points are worth it in the long run by showcasing your commitment to meeting deadlines. Also, always drop a short update email when you’ve accomplished a significant task or achieved something of merit. It definitely doesn’t hurt to advertise a little.
A lack of routine will often lead to poor time management, causing constant stress over encroaching deadlines and procrastinated work. As you extend your hours to catch up with your backlog, you may also suffer burnout from the endless cycle of work and bad use of time. The inconsistent workflow will also create a bad impression with your managers.
Ensure that your workflow is maintained during office hours. Try to follow a personal routine everyday, and not change your schedule on a whim. By syncing your hours with the rest of the office, you’re always ready when a supervisor checks in.
Be mindful of your body language and gaze during these Zoom calls and be attentive to convince your boss that you’re actively listening. If you’re tempted to slouch, find a way to support your posture. If you’re tempted to frequently look away from your screen, place a drink beside you so that you have a reason to do so.
Even when you’re not on a call, be sure to reply promptly on work channels. You should always be available during regular work office hours, and not take overly long to respond – so colleagues don’t think you’re napping away somewhere.
Volunteer for those floating assignments no one has claimed. Or deliver a presentation accompanied with extra research to support your findings. If you’re really gunning for an idea, supply a list of vendors and suppliers to quickly take that conversation to the next level.
Being proactive helps to build a sense of trust with your managers, which indicates that you might actually be even more productive at home than at the office, which is surely a win-win for everyone.