Remote work, while increasing in popularity over the years, really had its claim to fame in 2020. The need for remote work skyrocketed due to the COVID-19 pandemic—and as a result, the need for professionals to be a little more tech savvy, organized, and self-motivated did as well. With remote work becoming the norm (and preferred option by many employees), employers are evaluating what the future of it looks like for their companies. With that being said, job requirements might begin to shift to accommodate more home offices and team collaborations from afar. If you are looking for a remote work opportunity now or in the future, these are the skills you should have (and highlight) to make yourself more marketable:
Written and verbal communication
Communication is crucial for any job—remote or on-site. However, when in-person interactions are nixed completely, communication becomes a bit more complicated and necessary. If an employer is trusting you to do your job from afar, they’ll want to be sure you’ll be able to discuss projects via email, chat, or over the phone. Traits of a great communicator in the workplace include:
- Knowing when communication is necessary: Radio silence is never a good thing, but neither is over communicating. Striking a balance between the two is necessary in order to be a great communicator. Be mindful of when you should be checking in.
- Knowing how to communicate: Quick messages are sometimes better via chat, however, things that need to be discussed in more detail should likely be sent by email or talked about over the phone. Knowing the best means of communication will make chatting with co-workers a lot more efficient. If you are unsure of the best way to communicate with a supervisor or team member, ask them. The thought and effort will be much appreciated.
- Organizing your thoughts: When communicating in the workplace, it’s important to make sure you are clear and concise. In emails, opt for bullets or bold text when necessary. And remember not to “bury the lead.” You can simply do this by having a specific subject line that states what the contents and purpose of the email are. For example, if you need something to be reviewed, consider adding that into the subject line and the date you need it by. In the end, try to give as much detail as possible with as little words. If your communication will be over the phone, prepare an agenda ahead of time in order to keep the conversation on track and be respectful of time.
Time management + organization
When your workplace is also going to be your home, it’s important to prove you can manage your time effectively so that distractions don’t affect your productivity. When it comes to remote work, project management platforms such as Asana or Trello can help you prioritize and schedule your tasks—whether at a daily, weekly, or monthly level. When landing a remote work opportunity, an employer may ask you how you plan to stay organized and manage multiple projects without being in the office. Showing your familiarity with platforms such as these can give you an upper hand when landing a work from home gig.
Depending on your role, teamwork may be a big part of your day-to-day. As a remote employee, your employer will want to make sure you can be a team player, even from a distance. In order to emulate in-person team interactions, technology is key. According to our research, 78% of employers adopted new technology to better suit their remote work needs as a result of the pandemic. Aside from project management tools, collaboration, cloud content management, and video conferencing platforms have been immensely helpful. Being comfortable with these types of technology will help you easily stay connected no matter where you are working. If you aren’t already, consider familiarizing yourself with platforms such as Slack, Office 365, and Zoom.
While your company or future employer may have an IT department, they likely won’t be within an arm’s reach when you’re working remotely. Unfortunately, technical difficulties are inevitable, and depending on their severity, can really set back your day. Knowing your way around your computer and network can help you troubleshoot certain issues without the need to get your IT department involved—and in turn, this can help you be more productive at home. If you’re looking for ways to increase your IT knowledge, consider enrolling in an online course.