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How Can You Remain Promotable While Working From Home?

If you currently work remotely from a virtual office, you probably already enjoy many of the special benefits of working from home. Along with reduced transportation and meal costs, you won't need to maintain a full business wardrobe or pay for frequent dry cleaning. Unfortunately, some of these lowered expenses can come at a higher professional cost.

Many hiring managers and other business professionals have warned telecommuters of the dangers inherent in working from home -- namely, that you'll be passed over for promotions and pay raises if you don't get the right amount of "face time" with your superiors. Read on for a few quick tips and tricks to help remain current and promotable, even while you're not in the office.

Why does working in a virtual office risk lost promotions?

A number of studies have shown that, despite the amount of work you actually produce, you may be be passed up for raises and promotions if you don't spend a certain amount of time being seen at the office. This "face time" helps cement the idea of you as a productive worker, both in the minds of your coworkers as well as those responsible for your employment trajectory.

Unfortunately, this can handicap hard-working telecommuters while rewarding false productivity of those who spend a lot of time gossiping or socializing in the office.

How can you help keep yourself promotable while working in a virtual office?

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to help remain competitive -- even when you're competing for coveted promotions with coworkers who are based in a main office.

  • Remain self-motivated -- but connected

It can be hard to remain self-directed when you're no longer physically answering to a supervisor. At times, it may be tempting to have your television playing in the background, or to throw a load of laundry in the dryer on your way back from the refrigerator. However, one of the best things you can do to succeed in a virtual office environment is to treat working from home just as you would working from work.

Set an alarm, get dressed for the day, and sit down to work. You can still take breaks to grab a cup of coffee or take a quick walk, but you may find you're most productive during the typical workday -- and your coworkers and supervisors will enjoy knowing they can usually expect a quick response when they contact you during normal business hours.

  • Utilize technology

One way to get around the "face time" obstacle is to actually ensure your coworkers and supervisors see your face occasionally. By investing in office technology that will allow you to conduct a video chat from your computer monitor, you can attend virtual meetings and provide input while being able to gauge the body language and other non-verbal reactions of your peers.

Your ability to analyze the non-verbal communication of your coworkers can be the difference between nailing a stressful presentation and committing a verbal gaffe.

  • Don't be afraid to attend meetings

Although virtual "face time" can be a good way to ensure your supervisors are aware of your working efforts, there's often no substitute for the real thing.

If you're based outside the state that houses your company's main office, you may not have the option to pop in on a weekly meeting or brainstorm with a few coworkers over lunch. However, for important events, you may want to make the effort to attend and participate meaningfully in the discussion. This helps your coworkers and others with whom you interact on a high level to know that you are still engaged and committed to the company and your individual position.

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