Can you still get ahead if you work from home? If you were to go by several recent headlines in the media, you could be forgiven for thinking that working from home sounded the death knell of your career.
For instance, a recent WSJ article highlights that remote workers have a 31% less chance of being promoted.
New data shows that people who work everyday from home get fewer promotions and less mentoring than their in-office counterparts.
It talks of the cost to women who aren’t around to build careers so receive less feedback. Yet, ironically, the ability to work from home is what allows many women, particularly with children, to continue their careers.
So much can depend on where you are in your career, the job you have, whether you work for yourself, what industry you are in, and of course, the attitudes of your boss and colleagues.
We need to start challenging proximity bias, when managers prioritise those who work from the office if there is a choice to work from home. We need to remember the vast swathes of people who benefit from remote working, who would otherwise be excluded.
If you are ambitious and want to get ahead, it is still possible. You may need to be a little more strategic and have a few tactics up your sleeve.
How to get ahead when you work from home
One of the arguments often put forward against working from home is that it damages productivity. However you need to dig into the data a little more to see if this generalisation is a true reflection.
Economist at Stanford University, Nick Bloom, wrote in The Hill that working from home had many positive impacts on productivity. This included that fully working from home has a negative impact on productivity – only when it is poorly managed.
His research as part of The Evolution of Working From Home report also finds that corporate profits in the USA were up, correlating with WFH levels in the USA increasing six-fold. Sharing the data on LinkedIn, he says, "This is not conclusive, but it is suggestive. Add to this the research finding WFH increases profitability by cutting recruitment, retention and space costs, and the evidence supports WFH boosting profits."
With a few points in favour of working from home, we can see it is not a certain route to stagnation. In fact, if companies support it, then it is possible to make the most of the benefits and help your career go from strength to strength.
Whether you work for yourself, or for an organisation, being home-based just means taking a more proactive approach. If you do this, you will automatically become a valuable worker.
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