In the course of a series of stories we published on how people get started in their product careers, one of the strong messages I took away was how important it was for many people that they had a strong network and relationships within their existing workplace.
On many occasions, product people shared how their ‘big break’ came about because they had worked closely with the product team that led to a conversation about a new role, or they took on extra responsibilities for their leadership teams which positioned them in the right place for when the business was looking to hire a product team member.
Over the course of the past year, working away from the office has become the default for many people and as a result, we’ve started to question how we need to change how we act in order to stay visible with our teams and our leaders.
If you’re asking these kinds of questions, then you’re not alone. A 2018 survey from Indeed found that 37% of employees at companies that allow remote work believe that this work style limits visibility.
The question therefore is, how do you keep yourself visible when you’re working remotely?
Obviously, the specifics vary from organization to organization as operational practices vary, but there are some general areas that can support improved visibility.
Participate in discussions in meetings
First and foremost, if you’re part of a group video call, you need to ensure that you’re contributing. These are your easy ‘point scoring’ opportunities as they relate directly to your role and you need to be seen to be contributing. Without contributing to your core tasks then your profile will diminish over time.
Participate in activities outside of your daily role
Are there opportunities for you to step in and support a colleague or another business area by adding a valuable contribution?
Maybe you’ve heard someone in a meeting struggling with a challenge, so can you offer some guidance or take the load off them.
Maybe you’ve picked up on a new project that is starting up and you can volunteer to be part of the project group.
All of these are opportunities to widen your network, which increases visibility and opportunity.
Share your insight with wider groups
If your organization has a blog that’s specifically for employees to post on, then this provides you with an opportunity to write about your ongoing projects, insights, or achievements.
Writing about what you’ve learned in your role will allow colleagues to learn more about you, your role, and what you’ve accomplished. Colleagues might also be interested in reaching out to you for questions about your insights or to work with you on a project.
Find time for one-to-one conversations with your colleagues
This isn’t for everyone, but sometimes just finding time to spend with others one-on-one can help us make better connections. You can shoot the breeze, discuss work challenges, or share knowledge in a more informal way, whilst maintaining your visibility.
Keep communicating via official channels
It seems pretty obvious, but to be visible you need to be visible! That means contributing to discussions within your organizations’ Slack, Skype or Teams channels. This means both work and non-work channels
Doing so ensures that you have a presence ‘in the office’, even though you’re not physically there.
Visit the office if you can
In the age of lockdowns this is a difficult one, but these times won’t last forever, so if you get a chance to head into an office, then take it.
It’s a fabulous opportunity to put faces to names (or voices), see real world activity, and who works along whom, as well as supporting the development of relationships over coffee.
Ultimately, be good at your job
This is the really biggy. If you’re good at your job, and delivering value to the organization, then you’ll be visible to those who need to know. Keep doing that and you’ll be OK.