The end of the pandemic might be ‘in sight’ but most of us are unlikely to return to a traditional office any time soon. And while the great working from home experiment has definitely worked, it’s not been without its challenges. One of the most significant of which has been career progression and development.
Things like ‘corporate osmosis’ that provides learning and development simply through pure proximity to someone more experienced than yourself, or the constant visibility a manager has over your work ethic and attitude is greatly reduced in a remote environment. As a result, professional development and stepping up into more senior positions has become that much more difficult.
But that shouldn’t stop you from achieving your career goals in 2021.
Here, Catherine Broome, Fashion and Luxury Consultant at Odgers Berndtson explains how you can overcome the obstacles to career progression while working from home and includes a few tips for securing that promotion, pay rise or entirely new job:
Put forward new ideas and engage with initiatives
Business operations have changed dramatically over the past nine months, and they will continue to change even as we transition out of the pandemic. As result, there’s increased opportunity to put forward new ideas and say to your manager ‘let me try this’. It could be a new campaign, a new method of communicating with your team remotely or introducing a health and wellbeing initiative. Whatever it is, you’ll be able to showcase your current abilities and demonstrate a desire to learn new skills.
Your organisation has probably set up its own CSR initiatives, working groups or external campaigns in response to the pandemic. Get involved with these, share, like and participate. This will raise your profile and single you out as a brand ambassador – both of which will be points in your favour when going for that next step in your career.
Network locally and globally
‘Zoom culture’ may sometimes result in ‘Zoom fatigue’ but it has also provided everyone with the ability to network and collaborate on a global scale. You should leverage this opportunity to join some of the many professional networks that have sprung up during the pandemic and connect with those in your own organisation, especially if you work for a global brand. This will expose you to more career opportunities and to new ideas which you can bring to your own team. The latter will help you stand out when it comes to asking for that promotion or pay rise.
Step up as a mentor or coach
Many people are going through extremely tough personal challenges. Stepping up as a coach or mentor is not only a great way to help someone else but is a fantastic way of developing your own leadership and people management abilities in a remote environment – something that most organisations are still figuring out, so if you can demonstrate you know how to do it, they’ll value your skill immensely.
Measure your worth
Have a look outwardly to the market at what are your competitor brands are paying for profiles similar to yours. The pandemic has increased demand for certain roles while lessened it for others. So what the going price for your skills used to be, might be completely different now. This information is usually available either by job postings or on LinkedIn. Headhunters in your sector should also be able to give you a reasonable assessment of whether you’re getting what you deserve for your skills and experience.
Create time for personal growth
Most businesses are working flat out, and so learning and development for their people have fallen by the wayside. There are plenty of free courses and training seminars but you should also be joining professional networks and informal groups – all of which are now that much easier to be a part of because you can attend them over Zoom whilst sitting in your living room. When going for that promotion or new job, talk about these courses and how they’ve helped you develop professionally.