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This article was published on May 21, 2020

7 tips on lockdown career advancement — for employees and managers

7 tips on lockdown career advancement — for employees and managers

It can be hard to think about career progression when you’re working from home and worrying about job security due to, you know, a global pandemic.

And even though it’s understandable that you might want to focus on short term goals, there’s absolutely no harm in thinking further ahead and trying to figure out what your next career move could — or should — be.

The biggest challenges about working remotely are obviously reduced contact time with managers and perhaps even less visibility over an your work — but not all is lost.

[Read: Here’s why ‘if you build it, they will come’ is shitty advice]

“While 1:1s and check-ins should still be happening, the water-cooler chats and body language signals that might usually help you stay close to your manager will be missing. It’s essential that managers double down on regular scheduled catch-ups with their teams to find out how they’re doing,” Jonny Burch, the founder of Progression, a service that helps makers grow at work, tells Growth Quarters.

Additionally, Burch says that work that doesn’t have a clear tangible output — such as admin, for example — is much harder to see.

“If your job, or natural style, involves less visible communication of decisions or work, it may be that your work just isn’t noticed so much, whereas others who over-communicate visually may experience the opposite effect,” he notes.

Given the current circumstances, Burch has the following advice for employees thinking about their next career moves:

  • Don’t panic and let go of what you want out of your job or career. Making considered decisions around what you work on, where you want to go, and what you expect of your role is just as important as before, even during a pandemic.
  • Do take the opportunity to figure out whether working remotely is right for you. Remember that this isn’t a typical remote situation, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn from it and use it to make your next career move one that will benefit your quality of life. Chances are when the dust settles you’ll be able to make a strong case for staying remote, if you want to.
  • Don’t put career progression conversations on pause because ‘it’s all just crazy right now.” Your manager’s job hasn’t changed — they should be supporting your growth, so remind them of it.
  • If you’re typically someone who interfaces heavily with others, do look for new ways in which to have the same impact remotely. What cultural or team-focused ideas can you implement? How can you replace a meeting with an asynchronous process? “Never waste a good crisis,” Winston Churchill once said.

Burch also shared his top tips for managers and team leads:

  • Double down on giving your teams clear expectations which they can absorb and work on without you present. Your ‘manager sixth sense’ on skills development is now far less powerful from miles away, so documenting your expectations and what people need to be doing is essential, now more than ever.
  • Don’t you dare put career conversations on ice, even if you’ve had to lay others off. It’s your damn job.
  • The reality hasn’t changed: remote or not remote. If managers aren’t demonstrating to their teams that personal development is supported, those people will start to look for opportunities further afield.

Times may be tough right now but it’s important not to lose sight of what opportunities lie ahead. So, start thinking about what you want and what you have to do to get it.

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