The pandemic has changed our world. This shift might have taken decades if it had been planned. Instead, it took days. The opportunity to work from home has given many people a greater work-life balance and time to reflect on their career path and their prospects for the future. Reports show that roughly the same amount of career movement happened during 2020 as in previous years and more movement is expected in 2021. From the outside looking in this means there should be greater opportunities for promotion.
With the Governments new ‘Making Remote Work’ strategy to ensure remote working is a permanent feature in the Irish workplace, what short term or long-term effects can we foresee? How do you navigate a promotion without the office interactions and the physical understanding of your manager seeing you put in the extra work effort? Will working from home go against you when a promotion opportunity arises?
Although working from home can save you up to 8% in expenditure, according to a survey by Nicholas Bloom conducted in a large travel company that ran a “working from home” programme nearly a decade ago, the survey showed that people who worked at home were promoted at less than 50% in comparison with their peers who worked in the office.
‘The Washington Post’ has investigated the “working from home” phenomenon and reports that employees who worked at home tended to be forgotten, while the office workers developed more “managerial capital” by having lunch, coffee or general chit-chat with each other and their bosses. Furthermore, employees removed from the centres of powers in organisations were less likely to be reassigned or promoted.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. Over 60% of companies expect to increase staff numbers in 2021 versus 40% in 2020. 84% of Irish CEO’s surveyed by KPMG see remote working as a significant opportunity to access a wider talent pool. This means that, while there may be more roles up for grabs, there may also be increased competition but this does not restrict you to a location. Furthermore, PeopleSource recently asked in a poll “Have you received a pay rise in the past 12 months?” and just under 70% of respondents answered ‘Yes’. With such high levels of working from home (that may never be seen again) this was hugely encouraging.
It can be difficult to ask the hard questions. How to increase your promotional opportunities can sometimes hinge on sitting down with your manager and discussing your career path. Managers may not be aware of where you want to go within your career. Clarifying this is paramount as it ‘puts you in the shop window’ for any opportunities. Frequent performance reviews are now more important than ever as you can demonstrate where you have gone ‘above and beyond’ for the company as they may not be able to assess your daily performance first-hand. Asking for added responsibility whether it be managing junior members or overseeing tasks can show your manager that you are ready for the next step. Personal assessment can be valuable for an employee as it can show what strengths and weaknesses you may have. With no commuting to work, why not upskill yourself, many companies offer free courses to their employees and there are lots of option to choose from online?
In conclusion, working from home will cause difficulties for both the employee and management at this teething stage where technology isn’t yet fully up to scratch and we are still trying to figure out the best way to manage their teams and work remotely. Be sure to self-assess and talk with your manager about your career goals and prospects. With reports suggesting that upward job movement within organisations is unchanged from previous years, there should be room for you to put yourself in the shop window for a promotion or pay rise.