Remote workers earn about $8,600/year more than their in-house colleagues.
Yet, especially if you’re younger, perhaps no more than five or so years into your career, that higher salary can come at a cost to your future: you may be losing out on mentoring, business relationship-forging, office-politics education, and more that can only come from working in an office surrounded by people of different ages, experiences, talents, and personalities.
The value of working on-site.
Working in an office environment often provides considerable interaction with others and experiences that can contribute in a big way to professional growth.
Such experiences could include:
- Mentoring from more experienced colleagues.
- Forging meaningful business relationships.
- Learning how to navigate office politics.
- Benefiting from exposure to a wealth of diverse perspectives.
Unfortunately, these aspects of on-site work are pretty hard to replicate remotely. Younger workers especially benefit from what’s called “knowledge transfer” which comes simply by interacting with people from different backgrounds, older and younger colleagues, and co-workers at all levels of an organization.
The challenges of remote work and how to alleviate them to your career’s benefit.
Lack of mentoring
Formal mentorship programs abound, of course, and these easily can be valuable to remote work.
Yet there’s a lot of informal mentoring that goes on when working on-site: an older co-worker invites you to lunch, you often participate in short and impromptu brainstorming sessions with co-workers on your way to a department meeting, you run into a more-experienced colleagues office to get the answer to a quick question. And so on. These types of interactions are practically impossible to have when working remotely.
Getting this type of advice, etc., therefore, is something you’re going to have to do consciously, and frequently:
- Seek out experienced professionals via email and LinkedIn and ask if they’ll answer some questions.
- Take advantage of online courses, certification programs, webinars, and workshops to develop new skills and expand your knowledge.
Limited relationship building
Heading down the hall to the espresso machine in the break room and chatting with a colleague is impossible in a remote situation. As is peering over your cubicle’s walls to ask a colleague if they’d like to head to the deli for lunch. It’s during these types of instantaneous/serendipitous interactions that business friendships grow. Again, more effort is needed to do so when they work….elsewhere. You’ll need to schedule virtual coffee/friendly chats. Participate in online networking events. Most importantly, go out of your way to engage active communication with colleagues. (Use video conferencing tools to enhance face-to-face interaction to help you establish camaraderie with your coworkers.)
Lack of office politics
No one “likes” engaging in office politics, but it truly can help you navigate your professional relationships as you advance in your career. Stay on top of your organization’s dynamics by actively asking for feedback from colleagues, mentors and managers. Talk to others about the company culture – yes, even gossip, when speaking “privately” to a colleague – to gain insights into the organization’s real culture and pecking order.
Always remember the pros and cons of remote work when it comes to “climbing the ladder.”
There are potential limitations to your career growth when working off-site, particularly if you’re just starting out. Yet by actively seeking mentorship, relationships with colleagues and also understanding office dynamics (office politics), remote workers can mitigate these challenges.
If you’ve worked remotely and want to work on-site; or if you’re in-office now and looking for remote work, check out Debbie’s Staffing’s job board to see if one of our many temporary, contract-to-hire and direct-hire opportunities fit your skills and needs.
Even if nothing appeals to you, consider registering with us, as we often fill positions with our registered associates long before we ever place them on the job board.