Standing out while zooming in
BUSINESS MATTERS BEYOND THE BOTTOM LINE - Francis J. Kong (The Philippine Star) - October 4, 2020 - 12:00am

Doing remote work? Working from a distance? While you are away from your physical offices and doing work from home, you still need to stand out and be visibly excellent.

During the first two weeks of the lockdown, my boss-daughter Rachel and her team sprang into action. They knew the intricacies of discomfort as people have to make quick adjustments to bringing all of their work to their homes and do work from there. They understand because they have to do the same. They began making a list of our clients and asked them how they are doing. “Stressed” is their standard reply. The team prepared and had me do a short message of encouragement, providing them with ideas on managing their stress, settling their fears, and adjusting to the new situation. It was not a time to do webinars, pieces or training. It was a time to offer encouragement, and that was what we did.

Two months into the lockdown, the client calls came. HR people wanted me to do webinars on Remote Work; while marketing people wanted me to provide insights on Managing Business during Turbulent Times, which we did. Today, I can see a shift on needs. HR people request for webinars on productivity and excellence, and that is what I am currently doing.

And it all makes sense. From an initial stage of shock and recovery, businesses are now into the scene of redesigning, reinvention, and reconfiguring, to perform and compete when the economy opens up and business returns. I can see the patterns beginning to form, and it all makes sense.

How do you stand out while you are doing remote work, zooming in and out all over the place? How do you achieve productivity and pursue excellence in what you do? Perhaps you belong to the many who prefer to keep a low profile, but it may not be in your best interest if you are not visible, and your contributions do not bear visible results. Perhaps you are asking yourself, “Do I have to?” Do I have to pursue excellence in times of uncertainties such as these? Aristotle says: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.” People of excellence have lived a lifestyle of pursuing excellence, no matter their seasons. The most important part of the argument is that excellence provides you with the added advantage of exploiting and exploring opportunities that would open once things begin to settle.

How do you stand out (though you are seated most of the time) when you work from home? How can you achieve excellence? Here are a couple of ideas I hope you will find useful:

1. Speak up and offer ideas during meetings

Ideas are needed and are appreciated, especially during these times of uncertainties. But the best ideas can be recommended when you have tons of ideas to offer, and this is through your diligent research into materials you can glean on involving your work and your industry. Then you speak up loudly and clearly and let your voice be heard.

2. Interact with your managers and leaders

Because you have done the research and spent the time wisely invested in learning rather than binging on Netflix series and other stuff, your boss has heard you share ideas and would be interested to hear more. Do not be shy.

3. Keep your direct managers and leaders on the loop

Even if you are video conferencing other teams for any work, try and bring your manager into a call so that he/she can look into your efforts. This way, you would not be perceived as disregarding them and manipulating yourself to the higher-ups at your immediate bosses’ expense. It is always good to have them on your side and not incur their ire and irritation.

4. Seek out opportunities to represent your boss or department in meetings

While this would undoubtedly carve out additional time from your calendar, seek to free your bosses some of their time in their calendar. There is also a significant advantage in doing this. You get to be informed and learn a lot more as you join their meetings. Update your boss and colleagues on the proceedings of the discussions you attended.

5. Update your skills in communications

As I frequently say in my webinars, remote work may be a new experience for you, but anything new may necessitate new skills to learn and adapt to make you more effective.

Be excellent. You will then get the recognition you deserve and maintain a stronger relationship with your virtual colleagues. After all, excellence is the unlimited ability to improve the quality of what you have to offer, even if you are doing remote work.

(Connect with Francis Kong at www.facebook.com/franciskong2. Or listen to “Business Matters” Monday to Friday 8 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. over 98.7 dzFE-FM ‘The Master’s Touch,’ the classical music station.)

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