Remote and hybrid work arrangements have fundamentally changed what career progression looks like. Getting ahead isn’t so much about climbing a career ladder these days — it’s more like navigating a rock wall, where progress requires learning on the fly, reaching out despite uncertainty, and recognizing that progress isn’t always vertical.
“Career trajectories are being reframed not just as a linear path, but as a comprehensive learning experience where employees can hone their skills and develop their talents over time,” says Aleksandra Sulimko, chief human resources officer at digital media company TheSoul Publishing.
For employees reshaping their relationships with work after three years of work-from-home flexibility — and particularly for new employees with developing career ambitions — figuring out how to advance professionally isn’t as clear as it may have been in the days of all in-person work. In a 2022 CMO survey, 45% of marketing leaders said younger employees working remotely are struggling to integrate into their company cultures, which means they’re likely missing out on the in-the-moment coaching and cross-disciplinary learning that happens organically in person.
Showing up early and staying late aren’t differentiators when everyone can be online from wherever they are. Face time with executives and exposure to other teams and roles may be more difficult to come by naturally when everyone works different in-office schedules.
“A big part of getting a promotion is making yourself known by the people who make those decisions,” says Joel Ossher, a staff engineer who works remotely at the digital health company Noom. “It’s more difficult to have that visibility if you’re not in person, mostly because you don’t have those spontaneous conversations.”