Feeling confident at work isn’t always easy. Whether you struggle with imposter syndrome, battle negative self-talk or feel unsupported by your colleagues, there are many reasons why your confidence at work might be lacking.
Not only are you lacking the reassuring atmosphere of the office environment and the camaraderie of colleagues, but you’re also facing an increasingly unstable job market and dealing with the impact of another lockdown on you wellbeing, all of which have the potential to damage your confidence and increase self-doubt.
This isn’t just a work performance problem, either. Because while confidence is important when it comes to doing your job well, it’s also makes speaking up about problems and advocating for yourself a lot easier – an ability which is crucial at a time when levels of burnout and excessive overtime are on the rise.
With this in mind, it’s no surprise that so many workers want to boost their confidence this year. According to a survey of UK workers by the workflow and productivity app Asana, nearly a third (29%) rank ‘building confidence’ as one of their top work goals for 2021.
So, if you want to boost your confidence levels, how can you go about it? We asked Sonja Gittens-Ottley, head of diversity and inclusion at Asana, for her top tips for building confidence while you’re working from home. Here’s what she had to say.
How to build your confidence while working from home
1. Set manageable goals
“Setting both short and long term goals in and outside of work can help you track growth and structure your week, month or year,” Gittens-Ottley says.
“These don’t need to be all-encompassing. Whether it’s leading a team meeting in a week or finishing work on time to cook a dinner from scratch, goal setting can provide welcome little wins that validate we’re doing a good job.”
2. Prioritise self-care
“When you’re working from home during lockdown it’s easy to make the excuse that you haven’t got plans, so you might as well work late. However, while you may not have plans to leave the house, you can make self-care your plan,” Gittens-Ottley highlights.
“In 2021, you can set boundaries and stick to them. If you publicize something, more people will hold you accountable. So, at the beginning of the day, tell your colleagues if you plan to log off on time and hold yourself accountable to achieving that.
“When you do log off, turn off your notifications and make it clear what time you’ll be back online in the morning.”
3. Find your community
“When you’re working from home, it can feel like there’s no one to use as a sounding board. However, with 69% of UK workers experiencing imposter syndrome last year – it’s more than likely that you’re not the only one feeling that way,” Gittens-Ottley says.
“If available, lean into interest-driven groups at your company. For example, there might be an employee resource group hosting regular talks or Slack channels focused on things you love – for some that might be bread baking, yoga, movies, or something similar.”
She continues: “Joining these groups can help you get involved and meet peers or future mentors. If you’re unsure about the opportunities or ways to get involved, carve out time to discuss with your manager. It is so much more difficult to opt into activities and gatherings when they are not in-person, so proactivity and communication are key.”
4. Build confidence for video calls
“Speaking up during a video call can be intimidating,” Gittens-Ottley admits. “The recent shift to remote work and physical distancing has forced many organizations, including Asana, to rethink how they connect and communicate as a distributed team. Building inclusive communities must be a part of that shift.
“If you don’t feel comfortable speaking up, or don’t know how to make sure that your voice is heard, try reaching out to a teammate to ask if they agree with a point you’d like to make. Having their confirmation can make it easier to raise your hand and weigh in.”
5. Don’t be afraid to fail
“Learning how to fail is one of life’s most valuable lessons, but you can only do that if you seek opportunities outside your comfort zone,” Gittens-Ottley says.
“Start slow – join a brainstorm outside your area of expertise. This is a great opportunity to listen in and learn from others, whilst providing value to that group by offering an outsider’s perspective.”
She continues: “As you grow in confidence, speak to your manager about taking on a challenging piece of work. Choose something that isn’t time-sensitive, and ask for detailed feedback afterwards. Don’t expect that your attempt will be perfect, instead, embrace the opportunity to learn and grow.”
If working from home during the pandemic is taking its toll on your mental health, you’re not alone. From the isolation of being separated from colleagues and the stress of relying on technology to the threat of redundancy and the anxiety of applying for a new job, there are a number of reasons why you might find this time particularly challenging.
So, what can we do about it? We’ve got a plan.
Our new Work It Out campaign, supported by Mind, aims to give you the tools and resources you need to take care of your mental health while you’re stuck at home. From completing your Work 5 A Day to dealing with issues including to anxiety, loneliness and stress, we’ll be exploring all aspects of WFH wellbeing.
For more information, including how to complete your Work 5 A Day, you can check out our guide to getting started.
As Stylist’s digital writer, Lauren Geall writes on topics including mental health, wellbeing and work. She’s also a big fan of houseplants and likes to dabble in film and TV from time-to-time.
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