As an employee working from home, no matter if you work full time or part-time, you may sometimes feel that you've been forgotten by the rest of the organization. If this is the case, there is actually something you can do about it.
You can become more visible in your company, even though you are not sitting at the office every day, by using the PVI Model.
It is developed by Joel Garfinkle and consists of three steps:
If you're working remotely, it is especially the second step “Visibility” you should be aware of. Everyone will gain from working with step one and three, as well.
By taking control of how other people perceive you, you can work actively on becoming more visible on the job.
The first thing you should do is to learn how your colleagues, bosses and employees see you. And there is, basically, lony one way of doing this: Ask them.
This may sound like a difficult challenge, but it can actually be done without seeming inappropriate.
You can start by asking how you did after giving a presentation or after finishing a project. And don't just ask about your professional performance. What you need is knowledge on what personal/social traits your colleagues think that you are good at or not so good at.
However, as Garfinkle stresses, remember that you might get some negative feedback. This is best handled by accepting it without going into a discussion with the person who offers it, and then later assess if it has any substance or not
In order to work with the right elements, it is likewise important that you're aware of which characteristics that are particularly appreciated in your organization. What type of behavior do the most successful employees have? Do they always arrive early at the office? Are they frequently offering innovative ideas? Are they taking many chances? Identify which of these areas you can become better at.
If you want to be more visible at work, there are many golden nuggets in the second step of the PVI Model: Visibility.
To become more visible in your organization there are a lot of things you can do, even though you aren't at the office every day.
Garfinkle emphasizes the following three-step rocket:
Promote yourself. Don't let your modesty or shyness hold you back. If you're doing a good job, it's important that make sure that the people you are working with know what projects you are working on and what results you're getting – especially when working from home.
A very tangible way of doing this is to send a status report to your nearest boss and other stakeholders every week. Describe what you've been working on during the week and what status your projects have.
Promote others. This is at least just as important as the first step. If you only promote yourself, you will quickly come across as self-bloated. Of course you don't want that.
That's why it is important you remember to promote the great things your colleagues achieve. Make sure that you praise colleagues, when they do a good job, finishes before deadline, think new innovative ideas, and so on. If you do this regularly, you'll not only be known as a person who is good at praising others, you'll also increase the chances that others will do the same for you one day, which brings us to the third step:
If you follow the two previous steps, there is a far greater possibility that others begin promoting you. First of all because your organization now know you and your results. But also because you're not afraid to praise your colleagues.
If you really want to boost your visibility, there are a few other handles to pull.
Garfinkle suggests that you arrange to spend time with top management. Meeting people face to face is of course particularly challenging for virtual employees. When you can't meet people face to face another way of going about this is to write or call the relevant people in your organization directly. When you stumble upon something that's relevant for him or her, you send a brief e-mail or make a phone call to this person.
But be aware how this sort of thing is usually done in your organization. Especially in “older, more conservative” organizations this can be frowned upon. This is why, if in doubt, you should ask one of your colleagues or your nearest boss how they do this in your particular organization. A work around could be to ask your nearest boss to deliver your knowledge to top management. You could also try to get a member of top management on your weekly status-mail.
Share your ideas. A good thing to offer top management or others in your organization is your good ideas. Innovative ideas tend to spread. And over time you could be known as a person who thinks new innovative thoughts.
We have already mentioned this, but it deserves to be mentioned again: Make sure that you take credit for the good results you achieve. If you want to be more visible in your company, then it is important that you aren't too modest. Don't sell yourself short but at the same time don't be too onrushing, this is also often frowned upon. As with many other things in life you have to find the right balance.
The third step deals with how you're perceived at work and how you can change this. For many people having influence is about having influence on someone that is “beneath” you in a company’s hierarchy. But according to Garfinkle you can actually also influence your equals and your superiors.
Influence upwards: To influence people above you in the hierarchy you have to identify your superiors’ priorities and make these your own. When given the chance, relate what projects you're working on and share your accomplishments and successes. The purpose here, is to ensure that they know how valuable you are to the company.
Influence downwards: A common misunderstanding in relation to influence is that downward influence has to do with giving orders. This is not the case. If you wish to influence rather than use authority (which is what the term often implies), you must instead focus on giving your employees the power to make their own decisions. They become more satisfied with their work and you'll win their respect in return.
Lateral influence: If you have lateral influence, you are capable of taking advantage of your equals’ abilities and talents. If you help your colleagues where you can, there will, most likely, return the favor. Also, get to know leaders in other departments. A large network is essential in relation to providing lateral influence.
A solid reputation. How others perceive you shapes your reputation. Influential people have a spotless reputation.
An enhanced skill set. A person who has terrific skills is not only good at her job, she is the expert. And she makes a virtue out of always doing her best.
Executive presence. Self-confidence, control and strength are important abilities to show.
Do people like being with you? Do you create safety and are people inspired from being with you?
The power to persuade. You are good at arguing your position and promoting self-confidence in others, by making them feel that you know what you are doing, and that you always have their interests in mind.