How to increase visibility at work as a remote worker
Last updated on: March 14, 2022
As the honeymoon phase of remote work is closing, we get to see the other side of the work-from-home coin. Sure, flexible work in our sweats, more family time, and increased productivity are great — but as time goes by, you begin to wonder how this arrangement affects your visibility at work.
According to a Gartner report, 47% of organizations surveyed plan on remaining fully remote post-pandemic which keeps the topic of employee visibility relevant to remote workers.
Remote workers have started to realize the importance of better visibility and have taken action towards getting noticed at work. Joblist reports that 38% of remote employees have gone above and beyond to improve their visibility working from home, while 36% share having a “visibility strategy” in place for better remote recognition.
So, how does one walk the fine line between falling into complete anonymity, and getting to the opposite extreme of a try-hard mentality? Stick with us as we reveal all the details.
What is visibility in the workplace?
Workplace visibility essentially means getting recognition for your contribution and being included in all relevant company conversations and decisions. Understandably, this definition has gotten new meaning as organizations have started to shift to a remote work environment.
In a traditional, in-office setting, visibility is pretty much a given as it usually doesn’t require additional effort to get noticed and included when you have regular in-person interaction with your coworkers, boss, and teammates.
Now, visibility can look quite different for remote workers — especially if they work in hybrid teams that have at least some percentage of the workforce operating on-site.
So, remote workers may feel left out of the important company conversations, and experience serious employee visibility problems — from fewer opportunities to meet and interact with coworkers, and not feeling included in the company culture, to experiencing potential technical challenges.
What’s more, a study of 1,100 employees reveals that some of the effects of lower visibility of remote employees may not only include feeling left out, but also feeling bad-mouthed by coworkers.
Why is visibility in the workplace a challenge when working from home?
A remote work setting may be extremely challenging for employees looking to get more recognition and inclusion. These may include the following challenges.
Fewer opportunities for staying top of mind
Remote work, in general, allows less room for employees to share achievements and get recognized and appreciated for their effort.
This is largely determined by the organizational remote work policy and company culture — however, the remote work model by default poses a challenge in this area.
Remote communication challenges
Insufficient or ineffective internal communication largely impacts visibility for remote workers.
A lack of effective communication channels where employees can post project updates and milestones can make them feel invisible and underappreciated.
Moreover, teams operating across time zones may experience even larger visibility challenges — due to inefficient communication.
Limited access to resources, information, and infrastructure
Remote workers are more likely to feel left out of key company conversations due to a lack of access to vital information and resources.
A lack of organizational commitment to a remote-first model that promotes equal access for all team members to all company information and infrastructure is often the main cause for this remote visibility challenge.
Less room for connection between team members
With fewer opportunities for in-person interaction and organic, casual conversations, remote teams may experience a disconnect with their coworkers.
As your workday starts to revolve around work only, you begin to overlook the basic human need for social interaction.
Work relationships and getting to know each other on a more personal level through shared interests become less feasible — which only adds to feeling less visible and connected.
How can I improve my visibility working from home?
The problem of remote visibility is only increased by the fact that remote workers are less likely to outwardly seek more visibility.
Although aware of the potential challenges and visibility issues, most people don’t want to risk looking like they’re trying too hard to get noticed and acknowledged.
As we mentioned earlier, remote workers need to walk the fine line between feeling completely invisible and being self-congratulating and braggy about their accomplishments and efforts.
The next part of the article will help you reach this balance through actionable tips on how best to increase visibility when working from home.
👩💻 Show your face
Out of sight, out of mind — as the saying goes.
As a remote worker, you’re probably more comfortable with your camera off during meetings. You can relax in your comfy setup and don’t have to stress over your appearance.
However, although comfortable, this is a double-edged sword. Without actual face-time with your teammates, management, or coworkers, you risk getting reduced to just a name and an avatar.
On the other hand, people that attend meetings with their cameras on are more likely to get more visibility and better recognition.
So, try to keep your camera on during all meetings to stay top of mind — and help people connect the name to the face.
Regular face time — research shows — positively impacts your work relationships and career advancement.
This comes as no surprise, as a visual element is an important part of how people assess and memorize things and perceive other people.
To get more face time with your superiors and colleagues, consider dropping by the office occasionally, if possible. This way, you’ll remind everyone you’re an important part of the team.
If your team uses a business messaging app, like Pumble, change the generic avatar illustration with your actual profile photo to help your teammates and superiors remember your face.
🎤 Take part in conversations
Internal communication is another key factor that can make or break your visibility chances as a work-from-home employee.
Contributing to team conversations during meetings or in team chat apps is a great way to increase visibility as a remote worker.
However, speaking up during meetings and getting your voice and opinion heard is a skill that needs some perfecting before you start sharing just for the sake of sharing. After all, you don’t want to produce a countereffect and get a bad rep as being annoying or braggy.
Consider taking a more strategic approach, instead, to get the right kind of attention and recognition.
- Get the information you need. Go through the meeting agenda and prepare questions, insights, or potential challenges you would like to discuss. The same applies in the case of a team chat app conversation — before replying, read the conversation thread and do a quick research about the topic discussed.
- Listen as much as you contribute. Make sure to listen, read, and weigh out all the pros and cons before you decide to speak or post in a thread.
- Be assertive. Don’t forget to apply the rules of assertive communication and business chat etiquette to ensure you’re making a professional impression.
- Start conversations. Don’t hesitate to initiate conversations or ask well-thought-out questions.
💡 For more on how to get the right message across at work, be sure to check out our blog post on how to improve your work message skills.
When participating in company conversations, ensure that your thoughts, ideas, and words contribute real value to the conversation. This way, you’re getting more visibility and increasing your chances of getting recognized for all the right reasons — without having to toot your own horn to make your effort acknowledged.
🕰️ Align your work schedule with your teammates
Timing is everything — and nobody understands this better than remote workers that juggle multitasking across multiple roles on a regular basis.
We all understand the importance of consistent communication and collaboration when working on increasing our visibility at work as remote workers. This is how we get noticed and recognized by our managers, and it also improves relationship building with our coworkers.
However, it’s equally important to mind the timing of these conversations and teamwork.
To get more visibility, try to have as much of the communication and collaboration you engage in happen in real-time. This will ensure your efforts get instantly noticed and recognized by your coworkers and managers. Real-time communication and collaboration will keep you in the loop with everything that’s going on, and provide immediate feedback and access to shared files and information.
Consider syncing your hours with your teammates and managers to ensure everyone is up to date on vital tasks and projects.
This can be particularly challenging for teams working across time zones. In that case, try to schedule bi-weekly catch-up sessions at a time that works for all team members.
Another great way to optimize communication and collaboration with teams across time zones is to make sure to always keep your availability status updated to let your coworkers know when to expect your response.
💡 In addition to improving individual remote visibility, coordinated teamwork also promotes better team connectivity and better relationship building — read more about keeping remote teams connected in our blog titled How to help your remote team feel more connected.
🙋 Show initiative
Demonstrating a proactive approach is a quick and powerful way to get noticed.
Of course, this doesn’t mean applying for every project or task and stretching yourself too thin.
As always, try to be strategic about it and find opportunities where your particular skills would be useful, and ensure it fits within your weekly or daily schedule.
Be sure to identify top priority and high-value opportunities before you volunteer to get involved.
Cross-department projects are a great way to get greater visibility beyond your team and demonstrate your commitment to collaborative work.
You can, for example, volunteer to help a teammate out when they ask for assistance in a team chat. This is a perfect win-win for promoting teamwork and getting on your superior’s radar at the same time.
📝 Update your team and management on your progress or achievements
Now, this is the part where it can get tricky to find the right balance and not come across as a braggart. While it’s perfectly reasonable to want to share regular updates and inform your team and management on progress and important achievements — it can seem like you’re trying too hard.
To avoid getting labeled as a showoff, consider focusing on the impact and value for the entire project or team, instead of presenting it solely as your own accomplishment.
For example, you can use a dedicated channel in Pumble to post a quick update and get everyone involved notified. Pay attention to phrasing to make sure you emphasize the overall value, instead of being overly self-promotional.
Therefore, instead of using “I” and “my”, focus on the results — use “finished”, “delivered”, “solved” and “achieved” in your announcement, for example. That way, you’re communicating your accountability and achievements more indirectly — which helps you avoid negative attention.
You can also share interesting stats, useful findings, or relevant reads to showcase your knowledge and commitment to learning.
Sarah Hawley, CEO and founder at Growmotely, shares a similar opinion:
“It takes a little time, but it’s worthwhile developing the habit of communicating updates regularly on the things you’ve been working on. Especially progress updates, or simple FYIs, as it’s easy to be head-down working and forget that others who may be excited for / waiting on what you’re doing, have no idea where it’s at unless they ask.”
🏃 Get involved in company events
Although your work engagement and achievements are the most important elements of your visibility, it’s important to know that your off-work effort also counts.
To let your non-work personality shine, consider getting involved in extracurricular activities your company is organizing.
Use your non-work-related skills to represent your company or your team in a regional corporate challenge (such as running a marathon), or help organize a fundraiser event, for example.
Pick an event you feel most comfortable in and get some instant recognition.
Apart from increasing your overall visibility, social events are great ways to connect with others — while contributing to a good cause or overall company brand image.
Career consultant & host of the Career Relaunch® podcast, Joseph Liu, highlights active participation at conferences as one of the most powerful ways to increase your visibility:
“Proactively volunteering to speak at well-attended organizational meetings or conferences can quickly increase your visibility across the entire organization.”
📲 Contribute to virtual water-cooler conversations
Apart from improving team collaboration and communication, team chat apps are perfect for staying in touch with your coworkers and building team spirit.
Communicating across diverse channels in team chat apps lets you stay visible and connected to your coworkers.
You can get to know each other better through shared interests or other fun topics via threads in the #random channel in Pumble, for example.
Or you can create any number of separate topic-specific channels and organize your conversations around your favorite books, movies, sports, or games.
As remote workers, we are getting more accustomed to working from home and spending those lunch breaks alone, or — if we are lucky — with our family members.
However, there are certain topics, inside jokes, or specific situations that only our coworkers can find relatable. In-office workers get most of these social needs met via watercooler chats or coffee breaks, whereas remote workers are usually left to create their own virtual informal conversation opportunities.
Consider becoming a regular contributor to these informal channels in your team messaging app to increase your visibility. Share your picks for best reads, share funny videos of your dog, or recommend great local restaurants for colleagues visiting your area.
Although these contributions won’t directly affect your potential promotion, they are a significant testament to your sense of belonging to the company culture and your commitment to the team community.
How leaders can promote remote employee visibility
When it comes to remote visibility, there’s only so much employees can do on their own. The majority of the remote visibility issues stem from leadership and organizational decisions and policies.
A lack of adequate incentives or encouragement on sharing regular updates, for example, can result in poor remote employee visibility.
And vice versa — a comprehensive remote work policy with a defined visibility plan can promote better employee recognition.
Let’s get a closer look at how leaders and managers can build better opportunities for remote employee visibility.
📂 Ensure equal access to all resources
Without the proper definition and regulation, remote workspaces can become a toxic place for employers.
Hybrid teams are especially vulnerable in this regard — with insufficient initiatives to create equal access and support to both remote and on-site workers.
To better support remote teams, decision-makers, and leaders need to ensure all employees are allowed equal access to company information, conversations, and resources.
One of the most convenient ways to enable equal access to all team members is to use adequate collaboration tools, specifically designed to facilitate remote work arrangements.
As one of the multifunctional remote-friendly tools, Pumble, for example, allows diverse functionalities to keep remote teams in sync.
Remote teams can use it as a default communication channel to streamline all internal and external communication. Moreover, it supports seamless file sharing and advanced search options to ensure a user-friendly collaborative environment.
💻 Encourage face time during meetings
In addition to promoting productivity and collaboration, managing remote teams requires prioritizing specific best practices and solutions to ensure maximum employee visibility.
One of such practices includes encouraging everyone to keep their cameras on during virtual meetings. This allows employees to feel seen — literally and figuratively — which helps level out the playing field between remote and in-office workers.
Moreover, face time in video meetings can also have a positive impact on overall team communication. Video meets introduce the elements of visual communication which help team members pick up on non-verbal cues. This reduces the risks of misunderstandings or miscommunication in team communication and empowers collaboration.
Regularly seeing their teammates also allows remote employees to build a sense of closeness and relatability which can help shift the organization towards a more inclusive remote-first culture.
🌎 Promote asynchronous collaboration
To allow equal visibility opportunities to all team members across different time zones, team leaders and decision-makers need to embrace asynchronous collaboration.
This may sound counterintuitive to previous points that focus on the importance of synchronous communication for remote employee visibility.
However, asynchronous collaboration can perfectly complement joint effort towards better remote visibility — especially in teams operating across time zones.
Equal visibility opportunities in this regard imply remote teams keep everything documented and accessible to all team members in a shared channel in a team messaging app, for example.
In addition, organizations need to be mindful not to finalize any important decision — until every relevant team member gets a chance to weigh in asynchronously.
🙌 Give credit where credit is due
Managers can also acknowledge individual or team effort by giving credit where credit is due.
You can publicly recognize a team or an individual in a dedicated channel in a team chat app.
In Pumble, for example, you can mention the employee who closed an important deal in a thread dedicated to the latest sales team report.
Or, you can congratulate an entire team for exceptional results in the #general channel.
Apart from boosting individual and team visibility before leadership, this practice also serves to motivate better performance across the company.
📱 Monitor and respond to conversations and questions in team chat
To help your team feel noticed and acknowledged, be sure to take time to engage in team conversations.
You can regularly check your team channel in a business messaging app to answer any question and help resolve potential issues.
If a specific thread doesn’t require further conversation, you can react with an emoji to acknowledge you’ve read the message.
A remote business environment requires overcommunication and more engagement to compensate for the lack of in-person interaction. And, a team leader’s role is instrumental to how remote team members experience visibility, guidance, and support.
Wrapping up: Remote visibility requires showing up and letting yourself be seen
As opposed to regular in-office arrangements that inherently entail employee visibility, a remote work setting poses some challenges in this regard for both employees and management.
When looking to gain more recognition at work, people working remotely need to find the right balance between a genuine display of their contribution and outright self-promotion.
Team leaders, managers, and decision makers’ role, on the other hand, is to create opportunities for individuals and teams to get recognized and supported in their efforts.
Use the tips provided in this article to get acknowledged for your contribution as a remote worker, or to get insight on how to better support your team as a remote team manager.