Hybrid or all-virtual roles are here to stay. Here’s how to make sure you don’t fade into the background.

Today, it’s not unusual to have been in a job for a few years and not have met your boss–in person, that is.

That’s the reality for many of my clients, whose virtual or hybrid roles make it challenging to have the visibility it takes to grow in a company, feel connected to their colleagues, and be fulfilled in their careers.

But being remote doesn’t have to mean being invisible. Here are seven things I coach my clients to do to help them be just as visible and influential as their in-person colleagues.

1. Communicate face-to-face

One of my clients, Jan, has discovered something proven by psychological research: Much of communication happens nonverbally, in the body language and facial expressions that are lost in written communication or even voice calls. So, as a remote worker, she makes the most of the tool that provides the closest thing to in-person communication: video calls.

“I build relationships most quickly with the people whom I speak with regularly, especially when we use video for our conversations,” Jan says.

2. Schedule more cross-departmental meetings
People tend to stick to relationships within their own departments or divisions. Instead, ask yourself: Whom can I collaborate with outside of day-to-day colleagues? Who’s in my ecosystem? Who are my stakeholders? Proactively reach out to these people with “soft touch” check-ins that establish rapport. Ask how they are doing, how you can support them, and how you can be a resource. Don’t assume that people are too busy for meetings like this–instead, realize that you could be helping others break out of their silos, too. And make these touch points consistent. Another of my clients, Greg, often had to reintroduce himself to colleagues despite having been in his company for two years. “They don’t remember working with me,” he said. “I started to feel invisible.” By scheduling regular check-ins, he started replicating the real-life running-into-each-other moments to keep him top of mind.

3. Actively participate in meetings
When Zoom fatigue sets in, it’s tempting to check out of a meeting and turn your camera off. Instead, make an effort to show up as an engaged contributor. Turn your camera on, ask questions, share your perspective, and actively participate. Don’t hold back on ideas, especially if they show off strategic thinking. Share them and be prepared to volunteer to get them implemented.

4. Volunteer for stretch assignments
If you want more visibility, don’t just stay in your lane. Volunteer for high-profile projects, especially cross-functional assignments, and projects led by senior leaders–just make sure to keep these in balance with your day-to-day work. Ask to present at the next staff meeting or company all-hands. This can help you become known as a thought leader and subject matter expert. Take it a step further and look beyond your company for industry-wide opportunities to speak on panels, write for trade publications, or present at conferences.

5. Think of your manager as your ally
A solid relationship with your boss can be a boost to your visibility. Let your manager know that you’re interested in growing your connections and capacities. Ask if there are meetings you can join, or projects you can take off their plate. This can serve a double purpose: You expand your influence and exposure to other leaders, and you establish yourself as someone your boss can depend on to make their job easier.

6. Visit the office at least a few times per year
Take advantage of any opportunity to visit the office in person. If you’re a hybrid worker, coordinate your days in the office with others’ — Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays tend to be the busiest in-office days. Schedule lunches, coffees, and check-ins. Have meetings face-to-face. Make an effort to meet people whose names you’ve only seen in writing. If you live in a different city, travel as much as your company’s budget allows, attending quarterly meetings, sales trainings, or retreats. Find reasons to justify extra travel to the office.

7. Be available and dependable
Working remotely doesn't mean you have to fade into the background.Unfortunately, in-person workers can be perceived as more “available” than remote workers purely because of their physical presence. As a remote worker, it takes extra effort to show that you’re just as dependable. Be eager to jump into impromptu meetings, phone calls, or chats. Answer emails quickly. Be flexible when adjusting to time zone differences. These adjustments can be an extra burden for remote workers, but being responsive and available builds long-term trust and credibility.

Working remotely doesn’t mean you have to fade into the background. By turning your camera on, connecting across departments, pursuing high-profile opportunities, thinking of your boss as your ally, being available, and visiting your office as much as you can, you can be not just another name on the screen, but a key player in your company, growing your career and finding real satisfaction in your work.


Saving FaceMy book, Saving Face: How to Preserve Dignity and Build Trust, illustrates how we can honor face to create positive first impressions, avoid causing others to lose face, and, most importantly, help others save face to build trust and lasting relationships inside and outside the workplace.

This article was originally posted on Inc.com