While it is undoubtedly more convenient working as a remote employee, it can also be overwhelming in a sense that there’s a constant need to prove yourself just because you’re not visibly working, unlike onsite employees. You feel the need to double your efforts to prove that you’re not slacking off just because you’re working from home.
By nature, most of the people drawn to remote opportunities are self-sufficient and hardworking. According to Gallup, full-time employees working remotely now makeup 39% of full-time workers. In addition, remote workers are slightly more engaged at 32% than employees who work on-site at 28%. What they lack in profile and proximity, they make up for with determination to contribute and plenty of opportunities to communicate effectively. All of this stems from being situated in the comfort of your own home, or perhaps in coffee shops, wherever you feel most productive. Most of them tend to strive a little harder.
On that note, working remotely would now require you to exert more effort if you hope to stand out in meetings, conference calls, and ultimately be promoted.
Apart from accomplishing your tasks ahead of time or just in time, another way of making yourself more visible virtually is through active participation in conference calls. You must take full advantage of any meeting you’re scheduled to be a part of to improve your knowledge and widen your network.
Tips to Stand Out When Attending Conference Calls as a Virtual Employee
Giving your 100% attention to a meeting where you are not physically present can really be challenging. Imagine all the distractions you come across on the internet on a daily basis, or the fact that you are free to multi-task because no one is really checking in on you.
It’s all very tempting!
However, as soon as someone asks for your opinion on a new project, or asks you a question about a task that was recently delegated to you, and it takes you a while to process and reply back, it’ll be obvious that you were busy attending to something else as well. You certainly wouldn’t want that kind of impression, especially if you’re aiming to accomplish career growth and get promoted.
Be mindful of the environment
Before you dial in on a conference call, be sure that you’re situated in a quiet, conducive environment. You don’t want to look unprofessional because your manager and colleagues can clearly hear all the background noise around you. For video calls, it would help to situate yourself where you have a clean, well-lit, non-distracting, and overall neutral background.
Don’t be afraid to squeeze in-between a conversation to get a clarification on who’s talking to who or if you couldn’t hear them properly. If you find that you are not able to follow the conversation accordingly, it’ll only build up confusion towards the end of the meeting. You may miss out on key points too. Be firm in asserting your needs during the call but do so politely.
If you feel like you have something to add to the meeting or something that’s beneficial to the team, don’t hesitate to speak up. Don’t think too much about jumping in during a conversation if you spot an opening. If someone else starts talking just a second after you, keep going and finish up before you turn it over to them. At the same time, if someone else starts talking first, wait till they finish and politely chime in saying you would just like to add one more thing. You will never truly know if your idea is good and feasible if you won’t share it with the team first. But do remember that it has to be work-related because you wouldn’t want to spend an entire 15-20 minutes talking about how your day went. Keep the casual chat to a minimum.
Improve technical know-how
How will you communicate well if you’re having technical issues in the first place? You must figure out the technical details ahead of time so as to prevent being disrupted by tech issues during the call. The first step to contributing ideas in the meeting is to make sure everyone can hear you just fine. Double-check the numbers, log-ins needed, meeting schedule and test all the necessary tools such as headphones and mic to be sure everything is working out fine before the meeting. If there’s a need to update or download any application needed for the call, do so ahead of time so you can figure out possible issues and prevent that from happening during the call. Take the initiative to make sure that your conference calls are secured.
Initiate check-ins and communicate progress
If you’re leading a project, have the initiative to set up meetings to make sure everyone is on the same page and that no one is getting left behind or having unanswered questions. Collaborate and communicate with them well and in turn, teach them the importance of having the initiative to update you on their given tasks too. Keep in mind the do’s and don’ts of hosting a conference call to avoid any issues.
Build a network
Try to build genuine relationships within your team. It doesn’t matter if it’s a small group or a big one. Reach out to your colleagues and drop a compliment or two. Find a mentor or a senior colleague who has the time to look into your output and give you feedback on how you can further improve your craft. Ideally, look for someone who has the skills that you also hope to master and someone who can introduce you to other employees within the company.
Be consistent with these tips and do your absolute best to deliver quality output and you’re on your way to becoming a remarkable virtual employee.
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