The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a major shift in the way work is being done globally. With companies such as Shopify, Twitter and Square permitting their staff to work remotely indefinitely and several others announcing extensions of their work-from-home policies, it is obvious that this isn’t just a trend, remote work is here to stay for the foreseeable future.
Here are six skills that are necessary for employees and leaders alike to develop in order to adapt and thrive in these new structures and systems of the remote work environment.
Skills for successful remote work include:
1. Communication Skills
Communicating effectively is a major skill that is needed when working remotely. Without face-to-face interaction, teammates have to rely on virtual communication. Interestingly, more than half of all communication is done via writing rather than speaking, using tools like Slack, Asana, Trello, Discord, email etc. Therefore, you need to be able to communicate clearly, irrespective of the platform you are using.
Here are some tips to help you communicate clearly with teammates who are not in the same physical space as you:
- Ensure responses are timely.
- Ensure you are using the right level of formality. You can get away with less formality when messaging your teammates than you can with your boss. Slack and text messages are also less formal than email.
- Be simple and concise.
- Establish context with your communication.
- Seek multiple perspectives when appropriate, ask others for their interpretations.
- Avoid ambiguity.
- Confirm clear understanding of everything.
2. Time Management
The ability to successfully manage your time is an invaluable skill that would be of immense benefit both to you and your employer. When working remotely, there are no colleagues or manager to look over your shoulder, so it is totally up to you to stay focused on your work and ensure that you complete all tasks assigned to you.
Within 24 hours of the day, decide how many of them you will be working, on and how much time you will spend tending to other activities. Work with a schedule, completing one task at a time, as you would if you were in the office. You can use apps that help you with a to-do list to help you maintain your pace and show how you are progressing.
Remote work doesn’t imply isolated work. You are still part of a team, which means that you will be working with colleagues on tasks and projects. This is somewhat more challenging in a remote environment than when you have the team meeting in a physical location.
Interestingly, communication plays a major role in collaboration. Find the right set of tools to help you effectively communicate and collaborate.
Find a balance of video meetings, phone calls, and messages to ensure ample but not overwhelming communication.
Get comfortable using tools and software that aid file sharing and collaboration. Tools for collaboration like Google Docs, Trello boards, and dedicated Slack channels come in handy when collaborating with teammates remotely. Become an expert in the tools and apps you are using so that you can make the most out of their features.
When working remotely, there’s usually nobody micromanaging you, no teammate to quickly turn around and bounce an idea off that teammate, etc. This means you must take control of your work, time, decisions, and deliverables.
- Establish a dedicated workspace: Working from the bed, couch or floor may seem cool, but may not be sustainable and appropriate for someone who is serious about delivering their work. You need to be disciplined enough to carve out an appropriate workspace where you stay to do work. Your workspace should be comfortable and efficient, with an ergonomic chair and table, fast and reliable internet.
- Learn to take breaks: When working remotely, plan to find ways to work in breaks into your workdays and give your brain a break while working on tasks. This is necessary to remain focused while a high level of productivity and positive mental health.
- Stay focused: When you’re working remotely, especially from home, there will almost always be distractions. Your ability to stay focused is really important in self-management, as it proves to be invaluable. You can stay focused by blocking out audiovisual distractions and removing as much clutter as possible from your workspace. A noise-cancelling headphone is a great idea, as it helps you block out a lot of noise.
- It is important to note that these interruptions will still happen. When they do, quickly decide whether it requires immediate attention or it can be dealt with later, then quickly shift your focus back to work.
Although remote work offers a lot of flexibility which includes choosing your working hours and location, it also requires that you adapt to new ways of working, rapid changes, and unexpected scenarios. This includes working with teammates that you have never met and may never meet physically, working with colleagues in different time zones, internet speed, server problems, login errors, and more.
Your ability to properly adapt to these situations and quickly resolve them gives you an edge at all times.
This may take some level of creativity in finding the optimal solution, but that’s all part of being adaptable.
6. Digital Literacy:
Remote work relies largely on digital communication. Being able to identify, evaluate, and generate information in digital form is a must-have skill for remote workers. You need to stay current with digital tools and techniques that will help you save time and become more efficient.
Dexterity with a wide range of digital tools and platforms gives you the ability to navigate new technology and stay connected with others.
Building these skills will help us stay connected, productive, and engaged in our rapidly evolving digital world. With remote work taking a foothold on how we interact with one another and conduct business, it’s important to be able to navigate these new work environments from home or wherever your work takes you.
Got questions or more resources for remote work? Kindly share in the comment section below, or you can email us.
Stay safe. BeeTcore cares