FOMO, or the “The Fear of Missing
Out,” is real and can be a huge
source of anxiety in both our
personal and professional lives.
One of the biggest concerns about
FOMO in the workplace is working
remotely and being “out of sight
out of mind,” and potentially losing
opportunities for quality face time
and collaboration with your boss,
other leaders, and your peers.
While missing out can be an anxiety trigger for many, the long-term career concern goes deeper. Experts weighing in on Team Remote vs Team Office have raised a concern that those, that when given the choice, choose to work remotely, may be penalized for their choice, regardless of the reasoning behind it (child/elder care, vaccination status, extended commute times, etc).
The question is, in addition to potentially missing out on ad hoc meetings and watercooler
brainstorming, will there also be a remote work bias that will exist reducing the ability of those who
choose not to return to the office to be considered for promotional opportunities? Perhaps, but likely,
organizational culture will influence the outcome.
While many teams/organizations have successfully worked remotely for years, not returning to the
office if offered a choice by your employer, may -unfairly- be viewed as lack of organizational
commitment. So as a remote employee, what control do you have and what steps can you take to
reduce your anxiety and FOMO?
Tips to stay connected while working remotely and reduce FOMO:
✔Stay engaged with your office peers and leadership teams, both during meetings and in between.
✔Participate in small talk, virtual office happy hours, and nonmandatory meetings.
✔Volunteer for projects that showcase your strongest skills and allow you to shine.
✔Ask for clarification from HR on the company’s policy for remote work to ensure you are adhering to
its guidelines and not being held accountable for details of it you were not aware of.
✔Request frequent feedback from your boss to ensure you stay aligned with team goals and
✔Develop the confidence and ability to communicate your contributions and continued value clearly
and effectively. Self-advocacy is important working remotely or in person.
✔Share your concerns about missing out with your in-office co-workers and ask for the amount of
contact and communication you need to increase your comfort level.
✔Ask if a hybrid approach is available and consider if that type of arrangement will meet your needs.
In the end, becoming comfortable with your decision to work remotely and not feeling the need to apologize
for it, will go a long way to minimize any anxiety that you are missing out on activities and opportunities. If you
feel your decision to work remotely puts you at a disadvantage, it will.
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