Unless you’re one of the “lucky” ones who gets to work in a traditional office environment during the quarantine, you’re probably at home trying the best that you can to work through distractions and that never-ending calling to just flip on Netflix for a few minutes.
Working from home is very new to a lot of us.
If you’re looking for a work from home position, by the way, here are 20 of the best companies that are hiring right now.
Some of us love the new work environment. No commute means we have more time to do non-work related things – like sleep in, check our social media or watch the morning news.
But then again, others have found that we don’t work well from home. Instead, we need the office environment. Working remotely might just be too tempting to NOT work. Screaming kids or annoying spouses get in the way. Or, it just doesn’t feel like a proper work environment.
Whatever the reason, it might not be the right fit for everyone.
Regardless of whether working from home works well for you, there are several techniques that you can use to impress your boss. And, a happy boss means you’re more likely to get what you want when things return back to normal.
That could mean a larger or more comfy office. Or a promotion or raise. Or, maybe even more opportunities to work remotely, or avoiding the next round of layoffs.
Use these 9 tactics to impress your boss when you’re working remotely.
How to impress your boss while working from home
1. Maintain consistent working hours
Your boss might impose these hours or you may have the flexibility to tweak your work schedule so it makes more sense for you and your family. Either way, make sure that your working hours are consistent and that your boss (as well as your coworkers) can rely on you to be available during those hours. Being available when you say that you’re available is the single best way to prove that you’re a reliable, dependable and honest worker, and it will instantly separate you from the pack.
2. Always answer your phone, especially during working hours
This goes along with being available during your working hours, but it is especially important to answer your phone and respond to emails during working hours. Otherwise, your manager will quickly get the impression that you’re slacking off or doing other things. Always have your phone available while you work, and make sure you’re available. Answer that phone.
3. Make video calls your priority
It might be tempting to multitask while on a video call – like feeding your baby, doing the dishes after lunch or tidying up around your desk. Whenever possible, make the video call your top priority. Focus and pay attention to the call rather than taking care of other things. Paying attention not only shows your boss that your work is your priority, but it also means you will be better prepared to answer questions and respond to prompts when your input is needed. Responding to a direct question with, “I’m sorry, can you repeat that?” doesn’t work for long.
4. Dress up (a little) for video calls
Working from home affords us with a little more flexibility to dress however we like. But when we’re on video calls, don’t talk about project schedules, your new software update, company mission statements or status updates while wearing your mickey mouse pajamas. Though your boss does not have any control over what you wear at home, use your best judgment and show your boss – as well as your coworkers, that you’re taking remote work seriously. You may not need a button-down shirt and tie, but resist the temptation to take video calls in your PJs.
5. Show up early to video and conference calls
When you can, try joining conference calls a few minutes early. Throughout my career, this simple technique gave me precious time to chat with my coworkers and boss – and not necessarily about work-related topics. The weather. How the weekend went. Just, basic and organic chatting, and that connection can go a long way to improving and maintaining the work relationship between you and your teammates. Never underestimate the value of a little coworker chit-chat throughout the day (provided that’s not all you’re doing!).
6. Do your best work at home
Especially true if you’d like to continue working from home after the quarantine, always do your very best work when you’re working from home. Your manager may notice an increase in your productivity, and you will be able to use this productivity boost as a talking point later on if your goal is to continue working remotely after the quarantine period has ended. If you feel so inclined to volunteer for additional work, do it, provided it doesn’t detract from getting your job done.
7. Do not procrastinate on your assignments
Related to #6 above, do not turn in assignments late or procrastinate on returning phone calls or emails. Remember, the goal is to impress your boss. Instead, turn your work in early if you can (though, don’t rush it), go the extra mile and do a little more. Make darn sure that you’re not being a bottleneck for your team or your boss. That’s a one-way street to in-office work later on.
8. Send updates (but don’t overwhelm!)
There is a ton of value in keeping your boss up to date with your work, and some managers might require their remote staff to send daily or weekly updates. Provided that you don’t inundate your boss with update emails throughout the day, he or she will appreciate being kept in the loop about your progress or any questions or concerns that you have. Tip: Unless your manager requires daily update emails, send a short and simple update email a few times a week with your progress and what you’re working on. Keep it pithy.
9. Be proactive
Most managers love it when their employees propose new ideas to save the company money or boost work productivity. And, even if your idea doesn’t work out or make sense at the time, the mere act of suggesting it proves to your manager that you’re more than just an employee. Instead, you’re a true problem-solver, forward-thinker and want to get more involved in your company’s overall success. And, working from home could be the right time to start thinking outside of the box a bit more.
Even before the Coronavirus-inspired quarantine, the U.S. Census found that over 5% of U.S. workers work from home. Although that percentage has temporarily skyrocketed this year, employees as well as employers are beginning to realize the value of remote work.
As society begins to return back to normal on the other side of the quarantine, the number of remote workers will surely increase. This is an opportunity to prove how valuable it is to nix the commute. Our streets get less crowded. Our gas consumption decreases. And, real estate costs for businesses may also drop significantly as the need for office space is reduced.
If you are a brand new remote worker, use these basic but critical techniques to impress your boss and prove to him or her that your home office might be the right place for you.