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What Skills Must Remote Workers Have

Hybrid and remote work is the future. 42% of company employees are using a hybrid work approach, with 27% back in the office full time...

Author Rachel McQuigge of WFHomie and GoCo

by Rachel McQuigge - August 15th, 2022


Hybrid and remote work is the future. 42% of company employees are using a hybrid work approach, with 27% back in the office full time and about 31% fully remote, according to EY

There are many reasons people choose remote and hybrid work over working from an office: flexibility, lack of commute time, and greater productivity (we'll get into this later), just to name a few. It's undeniable that remote workers need to have a specific skill set that traditional office workers don't necessarily require. 

Which Type of Skills for Remote Work

Almost every job performed in an office or remote location requires working well with others, communicating professionally and effectively, and being adaptable. Regarding remote work, there are two main types: those necessary for a specific role and the tech skills required to be effective. We are going to be discussing the latter. 

You must know how to use a computer to succeed in any remote job. You should also be comfortable using email and applications like Google Drive, Dropbox, and Zoom. In addition to basic tech literacy (the ability to operate standard software programs), these workers need specific knowledge about whatever industry they work in at any given time. For example, writers might specialize in particular topics such as food blogging, web developers in specific programming languages such as PHP, and virtual assistants specialize their skills according to their client's needs.

The specific tech skills remote workers need are remote project management, virtual collaboration, virtual communication, and video conferencing. We will also touch on the obligatory ability to be a self-starter. 

Remote Project Management

Remote project management is an emerging field. It's not a new concept, but it's highly relevant to anyone working in the digital age. In a remote work setting, no one is physically present to tell you what's happening. All communication is done virtually through project management tools.

Project management tools include Trello, Asana, and Monday, among others. 

Project management tools will significantly improve a remote employee's chances of success in the workforce. It will also make managing virtual collaboration and video conferencing more effective. 

Virtual Collaboration

Virtual collaboration is communicating and sharing information with team members who are not physically present in the exact location. This communication style can include text messages, videos, phone calls, instant messaging, and other methods of communication. Virtual collaboration allows virtual teams to work together successfully, often asynchronously, as they communicate online.

Can you articulate your thoughts effectively through a computer screen? You'll need to practice contributing and disagreeing without being dismissive or passive-aggressive, which are easily misinterpreted when you're not face-to-face.

The technology involved in virtual collaboration includes Slack, Teams, Zoom, Email, and Project Management Tools. 

Virtual Communication

Another critical technology skill for remote work is communicating effectively virtually. You will need to speak with a diverse group of people and sometimes work across many different time zones.

Asynchronous communication, which means "out of sync" or not in real-time, is an effective way to communicate with remote teams because it allows everyone to focus uninterrupted and get to their messages when it's most productive for them to do so.

It's essential to communicate project details, concerns, and questions you may have in a well-written email, Slack message, project management comment, or even video message. You can prevent unnecessary delays by sending your teammate clear and accurate news.

Video Conferencing

Video conferencing is an excellent tool for remote workers. It allows you to see the person you are talking to and their facial expressions and get a sense of who they are. Being able to see each other can help in communicating effectively and building relationships with your colleagues.

Virtual meetings help convey messages to team members, motivate staff, and share weekly, monthly, and yearly goals. They also ensure everyone is on the same page.

In addition to having the right tech (such as a working camera and microphone), you should also have a fast, reliable internet connection. Don't risk failure when it comes to this skill. The workplace will request a virtual meeting with you at some point, and you'll need to demonstrate the skill during that meeting.

Remote workers need to be self-starters.

You will be working from home, and there's no one around to tell you what or when to do it. This independence means that you have to manage your time and productivity. You will need to be able to drive yourself, plan your day efficiently, and prioritize your workload for things not to fall through the cracks.

If you need help managing your schedule regularly, something other than this type of work may suit you. If so, try something like freelancing first, which is more structured and less self-directed, before venturing into remote work full-time.

As you can see, remote work has some unique challenges. But remote workers can overcome these challenges and excel at their jobs by having the right skills.

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