A recent survey found employees, especially those younger than 30, are worried about their career success because of working remotely.
Last week, I asked NewsDash readers, “Do you think working remotely has affected your career success? In what ways?”
Sixty-four percent of responding readers work in a plan sponsor role. Twenty percent are advisers/consultants, and 16% are recordkeepers/TPAs/investment consultants.
Among respondents, 84% are currently working remotely, and 12% reported they are not working remotely now but have done so at some point since the pandemic started.
Forty-eight percent said they do not think working remotely has affected their career success, but more than one-third (36%) said they think it has. Sixteen percent said they don’t know.
Asked in which ways working remotely has affected their career success, nearly one-third (32%) each selected “I am less visible to managers/leaders,” and “I am suffering from burnout and a lack of motivation.” More than one-quarter (28%) selected “I do not have all the tools I need to do my best work,” 12% chose “I feel I am unable to do my best work,” and 8% said they have gotten behind in their work. Thirty-two percent selected “none of the above.”
“Other” responses included:
- Like many others, working longer hours.
- I feel that lack of interpersonal communication has affected my mood, but not my work or future success in my career.
- Communication skills – I spent most of the day talking to my pets rather than other people!
- Exposure to outside company contacts and not connecting with new workers beyond my department.
- I am more productive, and I have to set boundaries to prevent burnout. The missing “watercooler chat” creates inefficiencies in the work product.
Asked for comments about the effect of working remotely on employees’ careers, some readers said it depends very much on how employees react and behave. While some agreed remote work would have some negative effects, readers also offered tips for overcoming the limitations and negative effects. Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said: “If there’s a will, there’s a way! If you’re too apprehensive about reaching out for help (tools, resources, guidance, etc.) or not disciplined enough to focus on putting out your best work (which a good manager/leader will notice), you’re probably the one who festers in their cube or is distracting others in the office. Yes, burnout is real; but that’ll happen anywhere. Know yourself and your limits.”
A big thank you to all who participated in our survey!
Working remotely makes it harder to showcase achievements to a wide variety of company leaders which can hinder any job mobility since you are not as visible to others outside your group/team.
Many employees, at all ages but mostly under 40, seem to love working remotely. It will ABSOLUTELY affect their careers as many do not conduct themselves as if in the office.
Everyone at my company is working remotely now and anything that may be a negative is affecting everyone. It’s about how you continue performing at a high level despite the challenges is what gets you noticed.
I don’t feel there is a significant effect, considering how positive management has viewed how their employees have handled this shift on such short notice, and the fact it’s a company-wide decision, puts everyone in the same position, not necessarily giving anyone an advantage. The disadvantages may come to those who have children that are not in a school or day-care, but that’s the result of the pandemic and not necessarily the work from home model. In fact, if we were all expected to come into the office, the effect on the career of some folks who may have to work remote due to having children home for reasons stated previously, could potentially be negative, but not necessarily. I don’t believe the situation itself creates a negative effect, but rather how the employee handles the situation is what will ultimately affect their careers.
I was working remotely before COVID, so the shift to remote work has not affected me. However, I think younger workers are right to be concerned about the impacts of remote working on their careers. One of the biggest challenges is training. Much like remote K-12 learning, some things are much easier to teach in-person. I think it is also harder to build interpersonal and mentor relationships remotely. I think these effects will be self-correcting once we return to more normal working conditions, and younger workers should be receiving reassurances and support during this difficult time.
My boss thinks anyone working from home is not really working.
At first it was very weird. I’m used to it now and it was especially nice to work from home during the summertime. Being able to take a break mid-day and play with my kids outside was pretty awesome. However, I am ready to go back into the office at least on a PT basis. I miss seeing other people in person!
I think as long as you accomplish more than what is expected of you, you will be fine. Set high but realistic goals.
The team aspect is gone, we all get our work done but there is no team atmosphere. Yes, we do virtual meetings, but I can only take so many of those – usually a meeting is taking a break from your computer screen, now it is more time spent in front of it, staring intently…trying to convey that you are not a robot…
Fortunately, I work with a firm who is very in tune with its employees. We have regular meetings with cameras on, so we feel connected. People are starting to work half-half at home and office and it is good to get back to in-person, but I have no concerns about my career. Very thankful for my company and how well they take care of us!
There are some companies who are “face-time” companies where it is out of sight out of mind. Also, it can hurt your communication skills not being in person. Finally, it can also lead to bad habits when working remotely.
If there’s a will, there’s a way! If you’re too apprehensive about reaching out for help (tools, resources, guidance, etc.) or not disciplined enough to focus on putting out your best work (which a good manager/leader will notice), you’re probably the one who festers in their cube or is distracting others in the office. Yes, burnout is real; but that’ll happen anywhere. Know yourself and your limits.
We are working a blended schedule, remotely 2-3 days a week and on site the other days. I believe services to our clientele has suffered. It wouldn’t be bad if it were temporary, but working remotely has become a permanent thing and will not end when the pandemic ends. Fortunately, retirement is not far off for me, which will alleviate my feeling of not being a stellar employee.
Fortunately, the company I work for was well prepared to support a remote workforce. We continue to remain focused on our business which provides all of us increased opportunities. People continue to be recognized for their contributions.
I started new job in August after being laid off at the start of the pandemic. The position is a big role for me and a stretch career-wise. I was in the office for my first three weeks, then home since then. The challenge is bonding with my team – most of whom I have never met in person.
NOTE: Responses reflect the opinions of individual readers and not necessarily the stance of Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) or its affiliates.
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