Managing visibility for career sustainability: A study of remote workers
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Changing patterns of work challenge the notion of employees having a designated workplace predicated on physical presence. These changes have been enabled by developments in technology, where an increasing number of employees can work from remote locations, relying on communication technologies to facilitate their interaction with colleagues, managers and customers. This chapter explores the implications of these developments for career sustainability. Drawing on a large study of remote workers in Canada, we demonstrate how, in addition to meeting formal performance targets, there was a perceived need to maintain and enhance visibility in order to ensure career progression and continued employment. Since remote working may impede visibility, the chapter explores how participants managed relationships with colleagues and clients in order to maintain and/or enhance their visibility and related career opportunities. It also reports how they tacitly accepted, rather than challenged, the impact of visibility on their careers and in so doing demonstrates the continuing importance of face-to-face interaction and physical presence for maintaining professional networks. The implications of these findings are discussed, including the need for organizations to review existing HR policies, particularly those relating to careers, when different forms of working are utilized.
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