One of the worries that people have about working remotely is that it won’t be as simple or easy to grow your career. Many are concerned that being away from their leader, away from their team and other valuable resources will mean that some opportunities to learn and grow won’t be there.
We know that it may seem daunting but here are some tips on how you can skillfully grow your career and even develop more as a remote worker.
- Take your own Initiative & be curious
What interests you? What is on your bucket list of learning? Do you want to add to your tech stack or learning the newest versions of something? Is it growing your leadership “soft” skills, a new language, or maybe something totally different from your day-to-day?
We want you to be curious about what grabs your attention. Read Medium, Tech Crunch, Stack Overflow, or more. Explore, going down some fun “rabbit holes” of information, and then take notice and notes on what grabs your attention. Then you consider the potential and try it out. Take a class (hint: there are so many online that are perfect for remote workers), ask to learn from someone, or ask for a budget from your company. You may even get tax benefits from education. Explore the options, start (and even stop) some learning, and then reflect on what that research or learning meant to you. There is no linear path to learning and being remote can offer flexibility that a traditional office can’t for you to explore. Importantly, be curious and try! If it then doesn’t suit you, reflect on why and move on to the next adventure in learning.
2. Set Goals with your leader AND a buddy
It is normal to set development and/or learning goals with your leader. Sometimes this is an annual process or part of a performance management program. We know that connecting with your leader around your goals is important but another great way to ensure success and stay connected is to also set goals with a buddy. Find a peer or friend who understands you and what you do and set and share goals with them. Turn it into regular discussions. These could be the same goals as with your leader or even more but make sure they are something attainable and be clear on how they can support you in meeting these goals. The added accountability and sharing can be powerful for both you and your buddy.
In a traditional office, we normally learn and grow from those around us, maybe someone more senior or experienced like your leader. In a remote setting, you can still ask your leader or someone in-house to mentor you, but you also have the chance to be mentored very easily by anyone, anywhere in the world. Do some research, find the people who inspire you, and be bold as you reach out and ask them if they would mentor you. What’s the harm in asking? Just be clear in your ask, be mindful of their time, and don’t take it personally if they decline. There are also great programs in most sectors and regions that match mentors and those seeking mentorship.
4.Find a learning group
Just like study groups in university or college, you always learn differently when you have people to learn with. When you are learning something new, either formally or on your own initiative, find some like-minded people to also learn with. It can be a study group that meets at a café every so often, an online mastermind group, or even a book club. Look for groups in your area which has the added benefit of networking and making new connections and if you are a nomadic remote worker, check for established groups in the areas you visit. Use your flexibility as a remote worker to spend time, learn and share.
5. Go offline
Obviously, we all can and need to use the internet to learn, especially in remote settings but a top tip we have is to step away from the laptop, take advantage of your flexibility and find some learning opportunities in person, outside of your home, or remote office. Finding classes that aren’t involving more screen time is hugely beneficial for your brain health as well as your emotional health as you change the way you learn. We have all been stuck inside in usually one place for so long over the past 18 months and getting out there will help your overall learning and development. Check out classes that don’t seem to have anything to do with your role but challenge you in different ways. Maybe a cooking class, woodworking, foraging, or more. Be creative in your exploration and see how it can benefit you!