Can you climb the career ladder remotely?

Many of us are now back in the office. Restrictions are slowly being lifted. But it's fair to say that our working lives will never be the same again. Flexible working is here to stay and that means that many of us will still be working remotely from time to time.


This is important because this new style of working has implications. It particularly affects young millennial and Gen-Z workers. The consequences cannot be understated. The way these workers look at their employers and their future careers has completely changed since the pandemic. And this has an impact on how companies can hire these workers.


We are living in a digital world


These younger workers have access to so much more information than they did in the past, which completely changes the way they look at companies.

They don't just look at a corporate website to gather information. They will also look at that company’s social media channels. They might also do some research to see how a company is presented by the media and whether there are any negative reports. And, there are now even websites where employees can anonymously rate the companies they work for and list their salaries.

This is something that companies need to take seriously. Candidates are no longer just attracted by a strong corporate brand and commercial success. They want to know that the company they work for will be good for their future careers.

In the past, a strong successful company might have been perceived as a safe place to work over the long term. But, in an age of rapid technological change, candidates may not necessarily plan to stay with a company for ever. New opportunities may arise, and they want to be prepared for when that happens by having the right skillset.


Companies need to work more on their employer brand


Young workers want companies to help them develop their careers. They want their future employer to invest in them and ensure that the skills they learn will remain relevant. Building a career these days is harder, unpredictable and fast-paced.

Subsequently, Millennial and Gen-Z workers are planning their career paths more carefully. To retain these employees over the longer term, companies need to change their benefit packages. A large part of this requires focusing more on continuous learning and career development.

Mentoring and guidance will be an important part of this process. However, this can be challenging if more experienced employees are working remotely or not 100 percent in the office.

While flexible working is definitely a welcome development, it also needs to be organised properly. The risk is that younger workers may feel isolated, or might find it hard to fit in and get noticed in the companies that they join.


The solution is to adapt


Flexible working is here to stay. The solution is to adapt and make sure it works well for all employees and the business. What is required is a different style of management that can help all employees, young and old, develop their careers.

To do this effectively requires strong lines of communication between employees and their line managers. Putting together strong career development plans, training programmes and organising structured career-based conversations can go a long way. Leadership courses can be provided for those in management positions. Working hard on establishing team cohesion virtually is also very important.

This requires being very honest and clear about how employees should work together. It should also encourage employees to talk about their outside office interests and hobbies.

One of the wonderful aspects of working remotely was that every employee, regardless of seniority, was in the same situation. Kids would interrupt conference calls and cats would sit on keyboards. These are aspects of remote working that actually brought us closer together than kept us apart.

For employees looking to climb the career ladder, this is an important lesson to learn whether you are in the office or working remotely. Being visible is not just about being seen. You need to be seen in the right way and this makes little difference whether or not you are in the office or in a remote setting.

If you are a younger worker who is keen to progress in your career, you need to proactively pursue those opportunities. That is why I believe that there is no reason why a younger worker cannot climb the career ladder in a remote setting.

It all depends on their mindset and the company they work for.