Nearly six out of 10 workers found that they were more productive working remotely than they previously expected, according to a survey conducted by Jose Maria Barrero of the Mexico Autonomous Institute of Technology, Bloom, and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business’ Steven J. Davis.
This is consistent with a considerable amount of research on the topic of work-from-home productivity, which has routinely found that workers are generally more productive when they’re remote, not less.
But even if you know you’re being productive from your living room or local coffee shop, how can you show that to your boss?
One important way to show that you’re involved in your work is to be reachable. You should have your work email open at all times. If this proves to be a distraction, at least check it consistently throughout the day. The point is to make yourself available to your manager and colleagues during work hours, so they know they can count on you and get ahold of you if need be.
You should also respond in a timely manner. While not every request is urgent, if you go too long without responding, you risk your boss wondering if you’re really working on work.
If you do need to step away for a long period of time, whether it’s work-related or a personal issue, let your boss know in advance.
Offer regular updates on responsibilities and project progress with some frequency. Your manager may be concerned about the state of your team’s work, and without being able to ask you in person, they could tend toward micromanaging. You can nip this in the bud by proactively checking in with them and letting them know that you’re on top of your tasks.
But don’t update them TOO frequently. Bombarding them with emails about your every action will get annoying. Demonstrate that you’re independent and self-sufficient by striking the right balance between keeping them in the loop and self-managing.
There will be times when you’re expected to be “on,” such as during video meetings. While you may find them exhausting, use them as an opportunity to demonstrate your productivity and engagement. It’s tempting to multitask—check your email and texts, chastise your dog, get a snack and so on—but show that you value this time with your coworkers by keeping yourself focused on the discussion. Look at the screen, read the chats and otherwise be involved. This will allow you to not only appear engaged but BE engaged.
You may be extremely productive all day, every day, but without assessing your progress in a face-to-face environment, your boss doesn’t know that. No one said remote work was a breeze — not only do you need to actually do your job, but you must continue to prove your value. This is how you start.
Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a freelance writer and editor based in Brooklyn with her demigod/lab mix Hercules. She specializes in education, technology and career development. She also writes satire and humor, which has appeared in Slackjaw, Points in Case, Little Old Lady Comedy, Jane Austen’s Wastebasket and The Haven.
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