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Remote Work: Is Anybody Watching?

How to keep your career on track while working remotely.

Out of all the challenges of working remotely – working from home, a coffee shop, or other location – one of the biggest is how do you show your work?

Are your results ‘seen’ or ‘unseen?’ 

If you work in a support role, you likely have results that are ‘seen.’ You have a hard count of the number of issues you solved on a given day. These can be good barometers of your work, but some of the least effective workers can close a lot of issues, yet not get much done. How many of those tickets/ issues did you “solve” that had to be re-opened – and handled by someone else? Or what about that issue that took a lot more time than average – it might drag your numbers down if you have a few of them in a week. Even with ‘seen’ numbers, it isn’t as cut and dry as sharing your numbers. It can be much more than that.

Let’s say you’re not doing much in the way of support and you have projects that you need to take on. Well, those can be ‘seen’ results too – if the project plan has the list of the deliverables you need to complete, then that is very visible. Drop one or more of those and believe me, someone will ‘see’ you – especially if others can’t do their work until you do your part.
But what if your work is more ‘unseen?’ Here is a question to know if your work is ‘unseen’ – could you go a day or more and not move anything forward without anyone noticing? I don’t recommend this – but if that is / or could be true for you then your work is likely ‘unseen.’ For example, you might have to deliver a proposal for a new system upgrade in two weeks. You’ve got a lot of research to do to find a solution that fits the requirements and get the project documented. You could skip work on it today and likely have a satisfactory presentation anyways. But you can’t defer that work forever, or it shows in the quality of your presentation.

My Challenge to You

Here’s a challenge for you: no matter if your work is ‘seen’ or ‘unseen,’ evaluate your work objectively as if YOU were the manager in charge. This is especially important if you want to get promoted – self-management is essential to your continued success. When you do this, you won’t need a manager. Self-management is one of the most desired attributes of team members. No one wants to be a babysitter, not even your manager. One of the most resonant TV commercials of all time was from “I wanna work my way up to middle management,” one baby shouted with heavy sarcasm. Being in middle management is a lot like babysitting most days. You’ll shine as a top performer if you don’t need supervision.

It is amazing how managing your effort and communicating your results is a big difference-maker in your career.

You’re in charge of your own work: take control!