Nearly 56% of companies globally allow some sort of remote work. For some that means letting employees work from home on occasion, for others it means having one or more employees digitally commuting 100% of the time. The advantages for both employees and employers are clear. More focus and fewer costs are among the top reasons. If you are considering employing a remote worker, here are a few skills you should consider to get the most out of the arrangement.
Effective remote workers can set regular achievable goals and then achieve them. Clear, measurable goals are an important aspect of managing a remote employee, anyone who is self-motivated to establish and complete goals is a good candidate. Regularly attaining even small goals will help motivate them and also provide a map to complete larger goals within the project.
Strong Organization & Time Management Skills
A recent survey revealed that the number one reason employees prefer working remotely is to increase productivity and focus. Loud coworkers, open office plans, and office politics can all create distractions that may be impacting the focus of your in-office employees. But that doesn’t mean those working from home are without intrusions.
Without the traditional structure of a daily commute and 9-to-5 office work, remote workers have to be able to organize themselves. While working remotely offers more flexibility than visiting an office daily that doesn’t mean projects can be dealt with ad hoc. Remote employees need to be able to create their own structure and stick to it.
This discipline benefits both the remote employee and the business. It ensures that enough time is spent focused on business goals but also protects the worker’s work-life balance. Project goals and deadlines, family commitments, personal time and even sleep are also considerations when organizing your workflow.
The ability to think critically is another essential skill for remote workers. This extends past setting goals and a working schedule. A remote team member may not always have immediate access to fellow team members or even their manager. They have to be able to think and make decisions about their work independently within the established parameters of the project.
Critical thinking is also important in reporting. Remote workers should be able to assess what metrics are important to the project or client and how to effectively use that information.
Whether it is the tools your team uses to communicate or the tools to complete your project remote workers should be comfortable with technology. They should be able to use the communication tools that connect your teams and ideally be able to troubleshoot tech-based obstacles because it is a little more tricky for IT to drop by their desk when their desk is in a different country.
Probably the most important skill next to being organized is communication. The distance and sometimes even time that separates remote teams can be detrimental to team efficiency and cohesion. Good remote employees are strong communicators. No matter what tools your remote team uses to communicate, they interface with the rest of the team frequently and can relay their project status or results in a clear and concise way.
Remote employees should also be responsive during business hours. No one benefits if a manager has to run around trying to get updates. Strong communication skills are ultimately invaluable to digital collaboration.