The Virtual Ladder: Climbing The Corporate Ladder In A Virtual Work Environment

by | June 5, 2015

So, you’re successfully working from home, loving life and enjoying the benefits of the virtual work environment. No traffic, comfortable location, flexibility, more time with your dog; there are a lot of perks. Inevitably though, one downfall is the lack of (literal) facetime with your colleagues and superiors that would be typical in an office. While some may consider this an additional perk, that personal contact can be a crucial part of progressing in a company.

Without the chance of running into your superiors, virtual workers need to find a way to make themselves present in a non-tangible environment. Here are a couple of tips on:

Getting to know your boss

You may already have standing meetings with your boss for your status reports. It is important to be proactive in getting them the information they need, but taking the time to understand their position as well, asking about problems they are facing currently and offering solutions, will put you “on their side” and open up those channels of communication beyond the regular exchange.

Getting to know people in the area you are interested in

If you work in tech and want to move to marketing, or the opposite, it’s worth finding a way to talk to your counterparts in that area. Send an email about a new campaign with positive feedback, or how effective the new security training was. Whatever the area, take note of what is going on, and by noticing their work, they in turn will notice you.

Creating a job you want

The job you want may not even exist yet. The best way up is to solve a problem. So you hear that the company is struggling with retention, or revenue, or morale, take that to heart and come up with creative solutions. That kind of initiative is remembered, and if you really can solve the problem, you’ve just created your promotion.

Stepping up

Beyond your typical work, you need to be the one who (virtually) raises their hand for a tough task or special projects. By being generous with your time you are signaling your ability to handle extended responsibility, a positive attitude, and are a team player. All of these are important aspects of being a leader and will be things people remember when it’s time to discuss who the future leaders are in the company.

Focusing on your presentation

Clear, concise communication is key. Because no one can physically see you doing your work, presentation is everything. Read your emails, then read them again thinking about what could be shortened, put in bullet points, or italicized to make it easy to read. Should it be two emails? Would a simple spreadsheet or document be a better way to communicate your point? Make sure everything with your name on it is easy to follow, and actionables are obvious so that everyone enjoys communicating and working with you.

There are a lot of ways to make yourself present in a virtual environment. If you’re looking to move up in yours, being a helping hand, communicating your interests and ideas in a clear, simple format, and finding ways to volunteer for more responsibility will put you at the forefront of your organization’s mind when it’s time to discuss who the future leaders are.