By Alison Griswold
Working from home is a double-edged sword that may be good for work-life balance but can be bad for your wallet, according to a recent article in the New York Times.
A study cited by the Times found that employees who worked from home were 13% more productive than those in offices, but half as likely to be promoted. Though the roughly 250 home-based workers in the study were considered to be happier overall, 50% eventually asked to return to an office setting, citing loneliness and lack of career advancement.
Cali Williams Yost, founder and CEO of the Flex+Strategy Group, a workplace consulting firm, offers a few strategies remote workers can use to get the advancement they're looking for:
Tell your boss you want a promotion.
First and foremost, Williams Yost says, managers might assume that remote workers simply aren't interested in being promoted – especially if advancing would require them to give up their flexibility. But, in fact, that's a sacrifice many employees might actually be happy to make in exchange for a better job and/or salary.
"You want to then be very clear with your manager about your goals and expectations around promotion," Williams Yost advises. "Say up front, 'I would still love to be considered for promotions, and I'm happy to revisit this particular flexibility if needed.'"
> Find a telecommuting job
Schedule weekly check-ins with your boss.
The next main reason remote employees struggle to get promoted, Williams Yost says, is that they are "out of sight, out of mind." It can be much trickier for a manager to know how remote employees are contributing, and if they're going the extra mile, when they aren't in the office on a daily basis.
To help address this issue, Williams Yost recommends that telecommuting employees schedule weekly check-ins with their bosses. These can be handled in person or also done remotely – what's most important is that they happen.
Find a balance between working in the office and at home.
Finally, Williams Yost notes that remote work doesn't need to be an all-or-nothing concept. She says people need to find their ideal balance between at-home and in-office work on a case-by-case basis. There's no magic ratio that works for everyone.
"It really depends on the person," she says. "It's really about your work-life fit, and that's why we have to stop talking about this as some balance we're trying to achieve."
> Find a job working from home