How working from home can hinder your professional development

In Summary

• Career growth is a result of a proactive effort to give more, take on more responsibilities, and create a significant impact.

• The mindset to go the extra mile will only serve your desire to grow if it is visible to the right people.

Career growth is a result of a proactive effort to give more, take on more responsibilities, and create a significant impact.
Career growth is a result of a proactive effort to give more, take on more responsibilities, and create a significant impact.
Image: SHUTTERSTOCK

“Flexible schedule”, “More time with family”, “Save on time, money, and car maintenance”. These are some of the benefits associated with working from home. Before the pandemic, working from home seemed like a benefit experienced by people in certain industries. Now more companies are considering incorporating working from home as part of their culture. We will show you how working from home can adversely affect your professional development and highlight what different members of the WomenWork Network are doing to remain professionally relevant.

The Other Side of Working from Home

Apart from the emerging issues associated with working from home like the non-existence work-life balance, cabin fever, and added distractions, working from home can stunt your professional development. Below are three main career development challenges and how three career professionals are tackling them.

Reduced Growth Opportunities

Career growth is a result of a proactive effort to give more, take on more responsibilities, and create a significant impact. The mindset to go the extra mile will only serve your desire to grow if it is visible to the right people. Working from home, away from an environment that pushes you to the limelight might work against you. Maureen Nzambi, a Financial Consultant says, “I was shadowing a colleague from a different department before the pandemic and learning skills I felt I needed to acquire. Working from home makes this challenging and we had to postpone till further notice. I am currently taking online courses to improve my skills as I wait to resume our after work knowledge transfer sessions.”

Lower Productivity Levels

Most successful career professionals have mastered time management as a skill. Strong time management skills result in improved project management and minimized distractions regardless of the working environment. Audrey Nkirote, a Career Coach, understands the value of time management in relation to productivity. “I plan to work for 7 - 8 solid hours with short tea and lunch breaks then leave my desk to pick my daughter, exercise, cook, and come back next morning. Google calendar helps me schedule everything, and I do my best not to take personal calls during my work hours as it throws me off,” She offers. Staying focused on the task at hand is important while working from home. “Of course I ensure that I work in a well-lit, well-aired, quiet room,” she adds.

Lose Out on Important Networking Opportunities

Maintaining important connections while working remotely is not easy. Face to face meetings, coffee catch-ups, and events play an important role in building team spirit and strengthening your professional network. “Working from home can limit opportunities to engage with colleagues and other stakeholders in your company and industries,” observes Anna Mwikali, a Marketing Manager. “I make sure to speak in every virtual call I am a part of with stakeholders and I am also very active on Slack, my company’s internal collaboration tool.

Which career development challenges have you faced working from home? Share in the comments.