With most of us still working remotely to a certain extent, a new relationship developing between managers and employees. This new relationship comes with its upsides and downsides. While it provides employees flexibility, and allows managers to exercise a more hands-off approach; it also makes it tougher for employees to get noticed and for managers to keep an eye on everything going on.
In fact, a recent survey by Joblist found that the average time employees went without speaking to their managers (6.1 days) and fellow co-workers (5.4 days) were quite lengthy.
It also revealed less than one in seven employees felt their manager is doing a good job at making them feel visible and connected.
This can be detrimental to both the employee and their work. The survey pointed out remote employees who felt unseen were more likely to experience feelings of burnout, imposter syndrome — which translates to feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt — and loneliness.
On the flipside, employees who didn’t suffer from feelings of invisibility were performing much better, appearing more satisfied with their productivity, levels of engagement and even job security.
Thankfully, most managers were already employing strategies to try and better connect with employees from afar.
About half (51%) had made efforts to check in directly with their employees, 48.9% made efforts to express gratitude, and 45.8% had made space to accept employee feedback.
Though remote employees have been logging longer hours, 35.7% of the managers we spoke to also reported attending more meetings and scheduling additional brainstorming sessions, while 33.1% of managers reported making time for employee bonding activities.
By manager gender, women were more likely to check in with employees and express gratitude, while men were more likely to ask for employee feedback.
On the employees' side, more than a third of remote workers (37.9%) had already gone out of their way to be noticed, with women more likely than men to have done so.
That said, women were still more than twice as likely as men to feel invisible to their employers while working from home.
Asked about the efforts they were personally making to improve their visibility, 63% of employees agreed that staying visible was of greater or equal value to the actual quality of work itself.
Though this view may seem extreme, there was a reason for employees to apply it. With a majority of employers (95.5%) believing that remaining visible was important to career advancement, being invisible has been shown to be detrimental to overall earning prospects over a person’s career.
Strategies employees used to remain seen were fairly straightforward - 41% made sure all of their projects kept moving and 36.5% made an effort to focus on small details.
Notably, 37.4% shared they took on additional work to help their colleagues out - a particularly effective strategy, seeing as 22% experienced success when they eased a co-worker’s workload. That said, this strategy may not be sustainable, as remote workers are already reporting high rates of burnout.
The survey revealed that when remote employees made the effort to stand out, the vast majority of managers had sincere respect for it. A large majority of managers (93%) agreed that they had a favourable impression of the person who went the extra mile. They felt the efforts made these employees seem more motivated (67.6%), more engaged (55.9%), and more productive (55.6%).
These favorable impressions also translated into action. Employees who’d gone out of their way to be noticed while working from home were more likely to receive a promotion (31%) and a raise (23%), compared to those who hadn’t. But there’s plenty of room for employees to receive the same favorable opinions. Remote managers most often recommended people offer new ideas (50.4%), help colleagues with work (44%), and do more than their job description (42%) to receive the same recognition.