When you’re in a traditional office, who are you most likely to ask a question of or share a joke with—the person sitting at the desk nearby or the one working at home? Most people turn to live humans first (unless they send out a mass email). The result is that you, in your new teleworking role, may find yourself feeling a bit left out. Sometimes you may actually miss out on important information, like who’s going to announce their resignation in a few weeks or a new, exciting project that’s about to start.
Don’t blame the folks at your office. Some of them will always feel like they’re intruding by calling you at home, no matter how many times you tell them that it’s fine. Create your own connections by scheduling lunches, picking up the phone yourself once in a while instead of emailing, and attending office social events or retreats.
If, despite your efforts, you feel like you’re truly being forgotten, raise the issue with your supervisor. Don’t complain—
after all, working at home was your idea. Do explain that your goal is to remain actively involved in company culture,
and ask whether the two of you can brainstorm ways to make that happen. Then gently point to efforts made by other companies—like IBM which, with nearly half of its employees working off-site, has launched regional “IBM clubs,” created mentoring programs, and retooled its management strategies to account for the changed relationship between workers.
Also, don’t let yourself fall behind professionally. Look for professional development opportunities and stay connected in your field. Join a local chapter of your professional association, attend meetings and seminars in your practice area, take continuing education courses, show up at the office for training seminars. Be proactive about remaining active and
visible within your profession and at your workplace.