Working for home has become the norm for many workers since the pandemic began, but would you like to continue to do so once it's safe to return to the office?
For some employees, the question is moot since their companies will require them to return to the office. But other employers like Twitter say their employees may continue to work from home forever.
If you are given the choice to continue to work from home, however, you need to keep in mind that there could be some downsides to your career.
One of the most obvious is that you're going to miss out on a lot of watercooler conversations or chance meetings that can help you make critical connections or grab new opportunities. These things can still happen when you work from home, of course, but it's going to be more difficult.
Another issue is that when you work from home, your boss or your colleagues may not believe you're working as hard as them. This is strange considering they will all claim they worked really hard when they were at home, but there you have it. It will be hinted by some that since you're still at home, you're not as committed to the job or the company, or that you're taking five naps a day and watching "Gilligan's Island."
So how do you ensure your career continues to thrive if you choose to continue working from home?
1. Attend meetings. Don't just call in to participate -- use Zoom to show that you're really attending. Dress like your colleagues in the office and don't multitask while on the call (no painting your bedroom or doing the dishes).
2. Make phone calls. While using Slack or emails is fine, when you're working from home you want to make sure that those in the office are hearing from you personally. Instead of sending five emails to settle an issue or discuss an idea, for example, phone your colleague. This gives you a chance to have a more personal connection, and also catch up on some of the watercooler talk you may have missed.
3. Keep track of your work. Even if your boss doesn't require it, record when you're working, what you're getting accomplished, new contacts you may have made, ideas that have been developed, etc. This will be critical when it comes to an informal or formal performance evaluation. You want to offer concrete proof of your contributions, and if you don't record them, you'll forget them -- and so will your boss.
4. Be helpful. One thing you may notice while working from home (if you don't have too many distractions), is that you get a lot done in a shorter amount of time. You can think more deeply about problems or issues and you have more time to develop innovative ideas. Let your boss know this is a bonus -- send her some of your fully developed ideas or notify her of an emerging trend you've spotted.