How To Deal With An Uncommunicative Boss When Working Remotely

Even in the best of times, it’s easy to feel disconnected from your manager, given how busy both your schedules are. Working remotely during COVID-19 can make you feel more out of touch with your manager. Although you’ve been able to keep in touch with your boss via Zoom calls and Slack chats, you still may feel less connected. If you’re wondering how to form a personal and deeper relationship with your boss who isn’t good at communicating, try our tips below.

Show appreciation

Everyone loves to be appreciated, even a boss who may seem self-contained or distant. Try to understand how your manager might be struggling with working from home by thanking them for helping to make the transition easier for you and your team.

Update your boss consistently on your projects

One of the most accessible and most useful ways to connect is to reach out and share an update on a project that is moving forward and your daily weekly workload. It’s your job as your manager’s direct report to make sure they’re aware of your professional progress and the projects that you’ve spearheaded. Show your manager that you can be proactive by reaching out first with an in-depth update on your workflow; they will be inspired by your commitment and will look forward to receiving your updates weekly. If you don’t have a 1:1 sync meeting on the calendar with your manager, now is the time to place reoccurring syncs on the calendar. 

Provide some of your ideas to the table

Reconnect with your supervisor by offering up an idea for a new project that will add to your organization. Regardless of your level at the company, you should seize the opportunity to bring forth ideas to enhance your role and value. Although your management and organization might be struggling with the challenges of the pandemic, you can keep the pulse on solutions within your control. Most managers will be pleased to see that you are solutions orientated and can provide out of the box thinking for future projects and initiatives.

Share your wins

Lastly, another way to connect with your manager is to share some substantial wins in the workplace. Say you’ve been working remotely on a few client projects, and you’re feeling down because your boss hasn’t shown much interest in your efforts. Today you heard from a client who said, “We’re all in. Let’s proceed.” Your boss likely would love some good news if they have only been hearing about the need for cost control amid diminishing revenues and shifts in the organization.

Tips for Building an Online Personal Brand for Growing Your Career

Building an online personal brand for yourself is something more imperative than you may think. When you hear the word branding, you may think about it only in terms of a business and not as something you need personally. However, establishing a personal brand is very important and will help you advance down your career path.

Here are some tips on how you can start developing it:

Create Your Brand

The first step is to determine how you will brand yourself. How do you want your company to be thought of when you come to mind? Are you an expert in your field? Are you one of the best at what you do? Or is it more about the experience of working with you that should stand out? Define these aspects as clearly and concisely as you can and put them into words that anybody from your intended audience will understand.

Define Your Audience

Do you know who you are selling to? Do you know how old they are, what they do in their spare time, what they value most? Having a clearly defined audience ensures that your marketing efforts will be directed appropriately. It will hone your efforts and make them count, both from a time-spent standpoint and from a financial one.

Develop a Strong, Professional Social Media Presence

Choose platforms that are appropriate to your line of business. LinkedIn and Twitter are the best ones to get started with, but having a Facebook business page and Instagram may also important. Instagram is actually a great platform if your work can be represented in a visual way. Best of all, social media is free, until you get into paid advertising, but first things first – that’s not necessary right away.

Curate Content to Share Across Your Various Platforms

Content curation is a way to encourage interest in your brand on social media. You can’t just be selling all the time because people will just switch off. Choose a few influential and/or entertaining sites that you like (hopefully related to your niche) and choose some of their posts to rebroadcast to your audience. Mention influencers in your posts, and reach out to them for link-backs and cross-posts. Connect with your audience and they will keep coming back for more.

Register a Domain Name & Get a Professional Email Address

Get a professional domain name and create an email account for yourself. For example, If the .com version is taken, register the .me version. Create a professional email with your new domain name like – this way you won’t be tied down to your ISP, or a free email service like Yahoo or Gmail. Using a domain name email gives you a more professional image right off the bat.

Get a Local Vanity Phone Number

A really unique way to help build your own personal brand is to get a vanity phone number. You can get either a toll-free or local area code, although a local one would be just fine for your personal brand. It’s pretty easy and affordable to do this and you can get a cool number like 555-john-doe.

Get a Website

Having your own personal website is a great way to develop your personal brand. It gives you a launching pad where people can go to learn all about you. You can put it on your business cards, connect your social accounts, and in general, it’s just a great way to promote yourself on a professional level.

Come Up with a Great Tagline

This is also known as a personal slogan – it should be short, concise, and to the point. You should be able to tell the world exactly who you are in 6 words or less.

Get a Cool Logo

Get a cool and unique logo designed for yourself and one that you can use on your website, printed materials, social accounts, and email signatures. If you aren’t design savvy, hire a graphic designer from a freelance site such as Fiverr, Freelancer, or Upwork.

Write Your Bio & Take a Great Headshot

If you haven’t got one already, write a great bio and take a professional headshot for yourself. If this is not your forte, find a bio writer on one of the freelance sites written above. For your headshot, make sure it represents the image you are trying to convey.

Start a Blog & Write About Your Expertise

Start a blog where you write about things you are interested in and know about to show off your knowledge and area of expertise. A blog is also helpful for having shareable content to post on your social accounts. It builds credibility and positions you as a subject matter expert.

Make Sure Your Information is Up To Date

Make sure every little thing you have posted online – listings, reviews, articles, guest posts, resumes, CVs – all of these should be up to date, current, and accurate with the appropriate links back to your home website and/or social accounts.

Actively Listen to News in Your Industry

Find out what the competition is doing and keep up with your peers. Follow thought leaders in your niche and connect with others who are doing similar things, even if they are in other cities or states.

Give Credit Where Credit is Due

Recognize influencers in your niche and shine a light on their accomplishments, especially if it’s something or someone that has had a positive impact on you, what you do, and how you do it.

Join Groups & Volunteer to Help Others

Contributeyouradvice, comment on posts that you find a personal connection to, and find ways of helping others in yours or in a complementary field. Ask and answer questions and encourage your audience to reach out whenever you can. The more active you are, the more relevant you become.

Develop Your Story

A strong personal brand is almost always supported by a compelling story. If you work in a range of disciplines, this is especially important, as having a common thread you can weave through will pull it all together. Think of a few individuals who have strong personal brands: Martha Stewart, Bill Gates, Richard Branson – these are all very good examples of people with a strongly identifiable personal brand.

Developing a strong personal brand is important for you and your career. Potential employers will search for you online, and when they do, you need to be able to control what they are able to find. Even if you are busy enough without a website or social media channels, make sure that your message always comes across loud and clear.

COVID-19 Questions You Should Ask In A Job Interview

When you finally see that job interview request pop up in your inbox, it can be tempting to start thinking about all the ways you can please and impress the interviewer, especially right now in a competitive job market.

But, now is not the time to forget that interviews are your chance to interview the company, too. So many companies and industries have changed due to the pandemic. It’s your duty to ask insightful questions to ensure you make the best-informed decision for you. At the very least, it’s your responsibility to make sure you know what you’re walking into if you do accept the job.

Here are 5 new questions you should consider asking in a job interview, whether you land an interview during or post the pandemic.

What are the company’s biggest challenges right now and in what ways will this role help alleviate those challenges? 

Any company that has decided to open a new position during this pandemic has determined that the particular role is essential to the growth or continuation of the company. As a job candidate, it’s vital you understand the challenges the company may be experiencing as a result of the pandemic and how the company desires for your role to solve those challenges.

Asking this question allows you to go beyond the job description and gives you an idea of what you should expect if you were to land the position. It shows the interviewer that you’re a problem solver and that you’re not just thinking about yourself, but that you’re also thinking about how you can contribute to the company’s goals. Plus, as you move forward in the hiring process, their answer to this question will give you more ways to show the hiring manager that you can be impactful to the team right away.

What tools or practices have you all implemented to continue communication and collaboration, and to support employees?

While some companies embraced remote work and flexible hours years ago, many other companies have been forced to embrace remote work because of the pandemic and have experienced many changes because of it. Now more than ever, it’s important to know what type of company culture you’re walking into – or logging into from home before you accept the job. Especially if you are applying for a manager role, this question will help you get a good understanding of how the company is working together. This will help you be sure you’re joining a place that will allow you to connect and support your direct reports and senior leadership in a way that is productive and effective for everyone.

What other qualities have become even more vital in a new hire since this pandemic?

One of the hardest things for recruiters and hiring managers to determine while interviewing virtually is if a job candidate will mesh well with the team. Role fit and culture fit are the top two things companies look for when hiring. Eliminating face-to-face communication makes it a bit harder to determine the latter. But luckily, it’s still your duty to do everything you can to show the interviewer that your values, work style, and personality align well with the company and team. Asking this question is a great way to show them that. It will also give you a chance to see if the team has qualities that will allow you to thrive on the team and at the company.

Could you share more about the onboarding process, in light of COVID-19? What changes have been made to ensure that the new hire is still successful once they join the team?

Everyone knows that the first 90 days at any company are crucial to success. As a job candidate and potential new hire, you need to know how the company intends to onboard you while working remotely and practicing social distance. What new methods have they implemented to ensure you get started on the right path? How do they plan to connect you with other employees once you’re hired? What tools or pieces of training do they plan to give you access to once you join the team to make sure you’re well informed and well equipped? How long do they intend for you to work remotely before transitioning to the office?

Asking this question will help ensure you’re not lost at sea once you accept the job offer. It will also show the interviewer that you plan to be a valuable asset to the team right away.

I know things are quite uncertain right now but as we continue to navigate this time, what are the company’s top priorities and plans for the next few months? 

Transparency is key right now. If your future company can’t be honest with you as a job candidate about their plans or goals right now, then they most likely will not be honest with you once you’re an employee. Of course, none of us can predict how the next few months will pan out, but you can get clarity on the company’s rough draft. Job security is never guaranteed but, at the very least, you should know that you’re joining a company that has a strategy for proactively moving forward.

Asking some variation of these questions will give you a good understanding of the company you could be joining. These questions will also show the interviewer that you’re a problem solver, a big-picture thinker, and an adaptable team player, all things companies are looking for right now when hiring.

Successfully Starting A New Job Remotely

If your job has been affected by COVID-19 layoffs, you’ve likely been in the throes of interviewing heavily for a remote role. If you’ve been fortunate enough to land a remote position, you’re probably wondering, “What’s next? How do I onboard remotely, get up to speed in my role, and get to know my team from behind the computer screen?” First-day jitters are entirely normal, but starting your new job remotely might be a bit of struggle if you aren’t prepared to do so. 

Although companies are starting to reopen their organizations and invite their employees back to the office, some employees still have to work remotely due to COVID-19. For companies that already have a lot of remote and virtual based employees, this might not be a difficult transition, but for organizations that aren’t accustomed to having a remote workforce, the onboarding process and preparing employees for their new positions could be strenuous. Here are five tips to help you navigate starting a new job remotely.

Prepare yourself for a different type of onboarding

Given that we’re experiencing a pandemic, onboarding for your new role will probably be held over Zoom or another video communication platform. Consider reaching out ahead of time to find out what the process will look like for you. Send a quick note to your recruiter or HR contact and email your new manager to say you’re aware the company is doing remote work at the moment due to the pandemic and ask how they’re handling the logistics of onboarding. 

Be flexible and understanding

Have patience with your new employer. Understand that the onboarding process is complicated for both parties, and it’s not exactly ideal. Starting your job remotely at a time when your manager and colleagues are also getting used to working from home – and you’re all dealing with a lot of other stressors during a global pandemic – might make it a bit more challenging to hit the ground running. And it might take longer before you feel comfortable socially at your new organization.

Ask clarifying questions to understand the expectations of the role

Take the extra time to understand your manager’s and team’s expectations on everything from individual tasks to overall onboarding, especially if you’re starting a job that wasn’t intended to be remote. Since your manager and teammates won’t be in the same building to chat through questions and concerns, it’s essential to practice open communication to understand how you can add value to your role and organization. Within the first several weeks of your onboarding, be sure to go over goals that you’re looking to achieve within 30, 60 and 90 days with your boss, as they may have designed a plan for you already. To be sure you’re both on the same page regarding your progress and growth, set up weekly 1:1 syncs to discuss workflow and goals.

Understand how your new team communicates; don’t try to reinvent the wheel

It’s essential to discover how everyone prefers to communicate so you can know whether to prioritize your Slack messages, email or Zoom meetings. It’s critical that you become aligned with your managers and team because having a sense of their preferred method of communication will make it easier for everyone to get to know each other and foster positive and productive interactions without reinventing the wheel. 

Get to know your colleagues to establish stronger relationships

When you start a new job, it usually always involves meeting new team members. Given that you’re working remotely, that process might take longer and require more effort on your part, even if your manager or HR sent out an introduction email. Consider asking your manager for a list of key stakeholders and team members that you’d like to connect with. Then follow up with colleagues to set up virtual coffee chats to ask questions about their roles, the projects they’re working on, and what they think you should know about the organization, as well as to share a bit about the work you’ll be doing.

How To Stand Out In A Virtual Work Environment

Although some companies are beginning to let their employees return to their offices given that states are now reopening across the U.S., many organizations are still following stay-at-home orders and allowing employees to work remotely amid COVID-19.  While it may seem difficult to stand out within your organization as a top-performing employee, especially when working from home, there are ways you can set yourself apart from the pack. Here are three ways to stand out in a virtual work environment. 

Prep ahead of time for team meetings and syncs

It’s essential to come prepared for every one of your 1:1 syncs and team meetings. Be sure to create an agenda beforehand, even if it’s just for your eyes. In a virtual environment, it’s easy to be lax, but you want your team and coworkers to see that you’re organized and can streamline meetings. Aside from creating agenda items for meetings, provide ideas that can further propel your business forward. You can also brainstorm possible solutions to your team’s problems. To provide value, it’s essential that you’re able to make your manager’s job easier and help your organization achieve success. 

Be sure to practice transparent and concise communication

Consistently clear and open communication is the key to success within the workplace, especially when working remotely. It’s critical to be proactive when communicating project updates or advocating for more direction regarding a task. If you don’t hear from a colleague regarding an update that you were expecting to receive, follow up with your teammate. As a next step, suggest recurring meetings to streamline communication and keep the project on task for completion. 

When working virtually, it’s imperative to keep your colleagues informed on your progress regarding tasks and larger projects. To eliminate confusion and chaos, take a break from the Slack channel and pick up the phone or schedule a Zoom touch base. 

Every communication you have with your colleagues is an opportunity to develop and nurture your work relationships. The more rapport you establish with individuals, the more they will respect you, enjoy working with you and remember you for future projects. 

Pitch new ideas and projects outside of routine tasks

Now is the perfect time to demonstrate your value not only to your manager but also to your organization as a whole. Pitch new ideas and projects outside of your typical tasks and responsibilities to strengthen your skillset and round out professional development.