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Face Time Vs. Visibility

Regarding remote work, I believe two things:

  1. The remote workforce is the key to increasing engagement and productivity for the knowledge workforce.

  2. Companies either won't recognize this or will do it so poorly that they conclude the remote workforce isn't viable.

There are a lot of reasons for the pessimism of #2, but one has to do with the old school focus on "face time" (the work concept, not the video calling app).

As companies shift to remote workforces more permanently, there is a lot of concern among employees that it will impact promotion opportunities (read this, this, and this).

Let's be clear - the idea that the best person for a promotion is based on who is in the office and most recognizable is silly, at best. Is the best realtor to sell your house the one who will get it sold quickly for the price you want or the one who stops by and brings you cookies? Cookies are nice, but you want the realtor to have selling skills, not baking skills.

What managers need to do to combat this is start to think in terms of professional visibility. How do you make sure that the decision makers and higher-ups know about your great performers?

Here are 3 things you can do:

Use their names - a lot. When talking about projects and successes, be sure to use the names of the individuals (full names). If a decision maker repeatedly hears a name with a success story, it will stick eventually.

  • Let them attend meetings with, or instead of, you. That shows everyone you trust them and think highly of them. You wouldn't bring them if they weren't good at what they do. It doesn't have to be all the time, but the more you do it, you give them visibility and you get the bonus of being able to delegate more.

  • Be a hype man. When something goes well, share it with people and include pictures. If you talk about a great customer success story and have a picture and names of the people who did great work, you increase their visibility. Pictures help and are easy to add to emails, texts, etc.

Focusing on visibility decreases the need for face time, but with positive results.

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