How to earn a Promotion when Working remotely in Tech

10 mins

In the tech industry, are remote workers overlooked for promotion? In the current climate...

In the tech industry, are remote workers overlooked for promotion?

In the current climate, where office workers are advised to work from home, it seems many workplaces have split staff between remote and on-site environments in order to remain covid-secure. 

How may this strategy lead to a problem with promotions?

Remote employees are at risk of being overlooked for promotions in favour of their on-site peers, experts agree and research backs them up. A Stanford University work from home experiment by Nicholas Bloom found that remote workers had a 13% performance increase over on-site employees but that they were still about 50% less likely to get a performance-based promotion than their office-bound counterparts. 

Promotions are based on who is first to come to mind and visibility. It seems that working from home may mean employers can’t see the progress made when compared to those working right in front of them. It becomes the responsibility of the remote employee to ensure they communicate their progress to their manager. These challenges and potential extra remote workloads could outweigh the perks, and promotions may go to the more visible, trusted employees, an outcome of spending time together. 

When the whole office is working remotely, this sense of favouritism is non-existent but the opportunity to progress your career remains stunted due to an inability to meet mentors, barriers to asking questions and reduced opportunity for connections. 

Will promotions within the tech sector be affected?

Within the tech industry, statistics show the impact of remote working upon career progression, with almost 31% of tech employees saying they’ve been negatively affected when it comes to promotion opportunities. 24% of employees in tech said working from home has negatively affected their training and development. This belief varies largely depending on how senior the tech professional is within the industry. Just over half of graduates in this field are worried about the effects of flexible working on their careers, with concerns over their lack of opportunity to spend time with managers and colleagues to learn skills, or to understand different parts of their organisation which could provide opportunities. 

Within the Tech industry, Twitter and Facebook are leading the way as the most high-profile companies to make the decision to split their offices into both remote and on-site working. The beginning of their movement away from the Silicon Valley may have a positive impact for those living in the US’s mainland, where there was no access to high paying jobs in the largest tech firms. By turning to remote working, there is more opportunity for such workers to advance their careers regardless of where they live.  It would seem logical to conclude that these tech titans will not evolve into fully remote working businesses but instead evolve to become a hybrid of both models.

Remote working remains highly important for the UK’s tech industry so that businesses can continue to access the tech talent they need. A number of more established UK based tech companies, such as Thoughtworks, KCOM and the Scale Factory are embracing remote working.

6 top tips on earning a promotion in the tech sector whilst working at home:

  1. Build up your network: Create relationships with colleagues, including those outside of your immediate group. A good network will help you to get things done, gain better ideas, to learn from others, and ultimately a promotion!
  2. Track your progress: Note down an outline of accomplishments each week. In the future this diary will be great to update your CV with whilst simultaneously making yourself aware of your successes and areas for improvement. 
  3. Keep up regular communication: Remember those self-assessing notes? It would be great to send them over to your manager to keep them updated on your progress when they can’t visibly see you working.  
  4. Stay cutting edge: Gain new skills to stand out and make sure you show them by asking for more responsibility. Take any training opportunities that involve emerging technologies like SOA, collaborative apps or data warehousing. If your company doesn’t offer it, find it yourself and pay for it; it will be a good investment for your goals!
  5. Find a mentor: Proactively look for someone in the same tech field who is already at that advanced level, ask them for mentorship on growing to that level, listen to their feedback and learn from them. 
  6. Shine through your personality: The IT sector is overflowing with very skilled contenders so your personality will stand you apart. Stay positive during these unpredictable times to help stabilise your team and enhance your executive presence.

Currently working remotely or considering taking the jump to 100% remote? Check out our blog 7 Remote Working Lessons to take from these Tech Giants.

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