Work Hard

How to get promoted while working from home

Written by Sakshi Udavant
Published 03.02.2021

BY sakshi udavant

If you find it difficult to ask for a raise or get promoted while working remotely, you are not alone. When the pandemic hit, most companies were forced to press pause or pivot and nobody was ready for it. “We have had to adapt and acclimatize to remote working in a relatively short period. While [it] would take at least six months, employees found themselves in an acute position of achieving that in a week,” Lee Chambers MSc MBPsS, founder of Essentialise Workplace Wellbeing says. 



Remote working: for better or for worse

The shift hasn’t been easy. While we save time on our commute, it has come with its set of losses. Connection being the most important one. Water cooler chats and quick check-ins with the managers gave employees a chance to think out loud and instantly share their concerns without having to wait hours for an email response, psychotherapist and certified life coach Tess Brigham, MFT says. This delay in response can deter some employees from offering insights and asking questions. 

How to move forward when the world feels like going backwards? 

“In the case of a pandemic, where there are a lot of uncertainties, such as job losses and business closures, the logical thought is to be grateful to be gainfully employed,” Modupe Sarumi, a career transition coach and founder of Learnable by Dr Mo says. Asking for a promotion at a time like this can feel selfish and wrong. But nine months into this pandemic, waiting isn’t an option anymore. So, we reached out to workplace psychologists and career coaches from all over the world to learn strategies for asking for a raise and getting promoted online.


Leverage your soft skills

“Asking for a raise or promotion requires tenacious employees who have both the appropriate soft and hard skills to forge ahead,” Sarumi says. You need soft skills like emotional intelligence and adaptability to appropriately respond to the changes along with technical skills, with which you can meet up to the new demands of the business. “An employee who can demonstrate these skills will get results, and therefore is positioned to ask for a promotion or a raise regardless of whether they are remote employees.”

Have strong performance data to back up your position 

When asking for a raise or a promotion in the middle of a pandemic, trust and timing are key. Be sensitive to the commercial position of the business, Simon Paine, CEO and Co-Founder at PopUp Business School, advises. “Is the business thriving or just surviving? If it’s the latter, it would be polite to acknowledge that in your conversation and know that you’re going to have to make a very strong case.”“Drill down and see where you have made an impact,” Natalie Trice, a career and confidence coach suggests. “Maybe you had an innovative idea that [helped the company] pivot and ride the COVID waves, or you started an online meet up to keep your colleagues connected, or you were part of a team who won an award.”Offer them a Covid trial period, saying, “Let me show you what I can do and if you’re not blown away I won’t ask for a raise,” Paine suggests.


Work with the technology instead of fighting it

Technological disruptions will happen and there’s no use trying to fight it. Instead, use it to your advantage. “If you feel like seeing your boss’s facial expressions will trip you up, ask to do it over the phone,” Brigham recommends. “After all, there isn’t a big difference between asking for a raise in person or on Zoom because it’s really all about the preparation you do ahead of time as well as your arguments for why you deserve a raise right now.”