Leverage your influence during COVID-19 when working at home

Written by Caroline Dowd-Higgins. Posted in Featured

Published on April 15, 2020 with No Comments

COVID-19 has forced most of the global population into required remote work. Whether you had the option to work at home previously or if this is your first virtual work rodeo – the new virtual normal may be here to stay.

Learning how to first cope and then thrive in a remote work scenario is a smart professional development investment in your career future. Post pandemic, some organizations may opt to keep appropriate business operations virtual as they review the cost benefit analysis of the traditional brick and mortar workplace. This experience has given the nimble and adaptive workers a chance to shine, while is also cast a spotlight on those less self-directed.

Stress levels are high with COVID-19 and company leaders are grappling with the stark realities of profit and loss calculations that can make or break the solvency of an organization. Bosses don’t have the time to motivate and teach their massive work-at-home employee populations how to be efficient and become pro-active creative problem solvers. It’s up to you to be seen and heard as a valuable player in your organization. Don’t fall prey to the out-of-sight, out-of-mind trap. Be strategic and leverage your influence as a lay-off proof player.

Create a Designated Workspace

Set aside a specific place where you conduct your business. Stay organized by keeping your technology and materials in your home office and off the kitchen table. Designated space will separate work from personal life and provide the necessary private space to conduct business with virtual colleagues uninterrupted.

Honor a Schedule

The temptation to blur the boundaries between personal life and work life is easy when you work from home. Setting a specific schedule, just as you would when you commute to work, will set you up for productivity, efficiency, and success.

In addition to honoring your lunchtime and breaks to reboot your brain, having a schedule will allow you to focus on your work without distraction. Communicate clearly with both colleagues and family to maintain clarity of expectations.

The hazard of being available 24/7 when you work from home is controllable if you set well-defined work hours. Realistic boundaries will honor your time off as well as your time on.

Be Seen and Heard

Engage with your colleagues and your supervisor regularly in order to be seen and heard. Manage-up your accomplishments, as well as your challenges so the powers that be know your value-add. Turn your webcam on (if bandwidth allows) to make a deeper connection with eye contact when using virtual meeting platforms.

Speak up, have a point of view, and be a solution provider. Virtual workers must be savvy about being top of mind when important decisions are made that impact career advancement. It’s up to you to make your presence known so you are not invisible in the virtual workplace.

The world-of-work is evolving. According to a global Vodafone study, organizations are responding to the demand from professionals who value flexibility and remote work options. Adaptive work schedules can lead to increased productivity and more engaged employees. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, 75 percent of businesses worldwide had a flexible work policy, and that number grows daily.

Working from home is our new normal – for now. It may last well beyond COVID-19 as the workforce adapts by culture change and financial necessity. Focus on the power of your virtual visibility, influence, and value-add. How you show up remotely will impact your career future.


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About Caroline Dowd-Higgins

All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Caroline Dowd-Higgins authored the book "This Is Not the Career I Ordered" (now in the 2ndedition) and maintains the career reinvention blog of the same name. She is Vice President of Career Coaching and Employer Connections for the Ivy Tech Community Collegesystem and contributes to Huffington PostThrive GlobalEllevate Network,Mediumand The Chronicle newspaper in Indiana.Her online show:Thrive!about career & life empowerment for women is on YouTube. Caroline hosts the award winning podcast, Your Working Lifeon iTunesand SoundCloud. Follow her on FacebookLinkedIn,Google+,and Twitter.

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