Remote work is not only a change of environment but also a change in your mindset. When we speak about essential skills, we are not referring to formal education such as programming knowledge or language skills. Instead, we focus on those 10 soft skills that make you a more desirable candidate for any company hiring remotely. It is also important to mention that mastering these remote work skills will help you face better a potential interview and your first steps.
Since the pandemic, 60% of the working force worldwide has manifested their desire to work hybrid or remotely. Many recruiters and job posting sites have taken note of this phenomenon and carefully followed it. So, this list results from experts’ observations on the matter, such as RemoteJobs, Himalayas, and ThinkRemote. They have gathered data from several candidates and filled positions at all levels. It is safe to assume that they ring true across all jobs and company sizes.
As a Staffing Agency specializing in work-at-home jobs, we value these skills in all candidates. We highly recommend anyone who is thinking of applying for a position with us to read this list and identify by yourself your strengths and opportunities for improvement.
Without further waiting, let us dive directly into the top 10 most essential skills for remote workers (or people who aspire to remote work)
Your communicative skills will be decisive when finding, qualifying, and starting a remote position. Many teams who embrace remote work tend to have people in different states or countries. Therefore, you need to communicate effectively with everyone, no matter the distance or the different time zones.
When you and your team function with this dynamic, it is defined as asynchronous work. It can happen not only because of your different time zones but also because of your different locations. Sometimes face situations such as having half of the office enjoy a local holiday while the other is having a regular day.
It is pretty standard that you go to bed with your part of the project finished, and at that exact minute, someone is waking up to check your results and work on that. When this happens, you won’t be able to meet and discuss how things are going daily. This is what makes this remote work skill so vital for many.
It would help if you communicate your ideas clearly, and plainly, so everyone can understand them. It is also essential to understand the limitations of being unable to be in the same room with everyone. Ideas must be clear, objectives organized, and every milestone adequately reported.
Although this may sound like a problem for the technology team, this is a critical part of remote work. If you speak with a cybersecurity expert, they will always tell you that the human side is the most vulnerable part of any system. We must be careful with our passwords and what applications we run on our pcs.
Some companies issue special work computers with many security measures to protect the information. However, if you work on your personal computer, you must be very careful with the sites you visit and widgets you install.
Using only your home Wi-Fi when dealing with sensitive information is strongly recommended. Remember, there are not enough layers of protection when securing your data on the internet. One of the main advantages of working remotely is freedom, but using public networks to send confidential documents or having delicate meetings is a terrible idea. In case you are unfamiliar with the terms, there are plenty of examples of information theft or data kidnapping on the internet.
Always try to keep a clean session in your browser for work-related activities. Also, implement robust security software to share information, such as LastPass or SkyFlow. They will save time and make things more secure when onboarding new members. The fewer people who know your passwords, the better.
One of the most challenging parts of working remotely is being able to focus on the task at hand. Most people refer to it as the ability to “power work” or focus on a task and complete it in the established time. Not everyone is capable of doing power work if they don’t have the ideal conditions for it. Sometimes jobs you can do from home are very challenging, as you will face distractions such as taking a nap or watching some T.V.
Taking a break now and then is not something terrible. However, problems will come when you cannot sit straight for at least a few hours. You must train your mind to work into specific time slots until you finish a determined goal. Time management is also crucial for your focus, as it will help you set realistic time frames for your activities.
Your team will be very grateful for your ability to finish your pending list by the end of the day. Just be careful to avoid any possible burnout from abusing your productive hours.
Although most companies focus on your ability to perform in your desired role, knowing how to balance your life is also essential. Being a remote worker means you won’t have the advantage of just walking out when your finish a specific task because your office is your home. You need to set boundaries and health habits that support your stability.
Most experts agree that you need to be able to disconnect once you fulfill your working hours and try to have safe heaven for yourself. Almost 69% of people who have switched to remote work recognize that they have problems handling stress and the uncertainty of working alone.
However, one of the best pieces of advice we have seen is that you should act just like you would in a physical office. Some examples are making coffee, walking around for a while, talking with roommates, etc. Do not punish yourself by working every minute of the day and making space for what is essential. Being able to keep yourself in balance is an essential remote work skill.
Try to have specific sets of time for certain daily chores. Take bathroom breaks, take the time you need to eat, and so on. Disconnect from the notifications and your computer for a while when you do these activities. Overworking your mind while you take a break is the best way to cause burnout. Believe us, avoiding burnout benefits your company, and your boss will be happy about it.
If you have paid close attention to the previous points, you will notice how they all focus here. Being a team player is essential to being a successful remote worker. Even if you are doing a solo job, you need to be able to integrate into another team. This particular skill not only focuses on the ability to communicate or share goals but also refers to empathy.
We all have good days and bad days, but our friends are always there to support us. The same can happen to other team members in a company. Mature people know that when a process fails, it falls on the person who was responsible and the ones who did nothing to help. If something goes wrong, you should consider asking for help from your teammates (or provide it).
This is particularly important in a remote environment, as you won’t have many advantages that on-site workers do. You will need to always beware of the other people in your team and always try to reach out. Also, pay close attention to deadlines and other projects that might be failing around you. Reaching out and providing a helping hand can benefit the entire project.
One of the essential parts of the training in our staffing agency is analytical skills. Every professional should have a basic set of them, but to work remotely, you need to use your analytic skills more. It is very relevant for all positions to understand instructions, see what tools you need, and identify the possible problems you will face.
Usually, when you are working with people on-site, you can see in their expressions if they are struggling to understand a specific process. However, when working over the internet, this might not be true. So, you need to be able to make this whole thought process by yourself successfully.
Identifying weaknesses and problems with the processes is key to anticipating the project’s needs. You can also avoid any mistakes that your teammates make a commit or even yourself. Also, sometimes you cannot predict these situations but are forced to act reactively. If you carefully study the problem, you will save time and effort.
Many underestimate the importance of technology-related knowledge. Not everyone is familiarized with specific basic processes related to the internet or computers. Also, it is one thing to know how to operate a P.C. and another to learn a new skill. You don’t need to be a software engineer to work remotely, but it does help to know how to do certain mid-level things. Read a domain properly, troubleshoot your external devices or network, and how to handle essential software are excellent examples of knowledge you need to have. It would help if you replicated these abilities on your different work devices.
Learning to install software, how to remove it, how to add new devices, or how to operate an email inbox are crucial skills. It also helps to learn how to operate the most common tools used in your work. In the case of marketing, knowing at least one CRM and how to automate processes are essential skills to have.
Do not panic if it sounds like it is all too much. What matters the most is developing the ability to learn as you go. You don’t need to be a dictionary of software; you need the initiative and open-mindedness to pick up any new piece of technology as the project asks you to. Many sources of knowledge are out there, such as YouTube and Reddit. There, you can find infinite amounts of threads with answers and tutorials about technology. Always keep them at hand.
As you can see, most of the skills in this list are interconnected. However, adaptability is a vast one that applies to many things we have mentioned and a few new ones. We have discussed just how important it is to be able to adapt to new technologies and to the different teams you may have. You must remember and adapt to your co-worker’s time zones and unique processes.
But, adaptability can also be applied to the difficulties you will find in a project. Commonly, a project starts small and simple to become a full-fledged department inside a more prominent company. We often see this with specific niches like marketing and UI/UX. Clients often want to ask for help with a specific problem but end up identifying several weaknesses, and the task becomes a whole tree of projects in itself.
This is the reason why it is so important to be able to adapt. Sometimes the goals will switch without warning or expand into new territories. Being stoic in your way of thinking or not having flexible processes will work against you. The best recommendation we can provide is to keep an open mind and always try to support your team in any way possible. Sometimes taking over a simple conversation or keeping an eye for an email is helpful enough.
It will happen more than once that you will be asked to use new software or to do a complementary activity. It pays a lot to have a good experience self-teaching during these opportunities. Ideally, your company should help you with the training process, but sometimes it takes much time, or you may not like their way of teaching.
For these situations, it is much better if you can create your teaching program. You should be able to find the most appropriate resources for you (videos, guides, or even books) that help you pick up that new tool or a new ability. Once you have mastered this skill, you won’t suffer when a new challenge arises in your daily work.
Not having the opportunity of asking a teammate or your boss if a particular program works is also a huge disadvantage. Contrary to in-site teams, you probably won’t be able to bump into someone who can help you casually. You will need to schedule a time to speak, which is very time-consuming. It is better to take the time to know yourself and see what method helps you to learn faster.
Knowing how to write, express yourself and interact with others is vital in remote work. Even if you all speak the same language (English, Spanish or Portuguese), there are many ways to express the same idea. Sometimes you may pick a word or an expression that may be offensive in another country or to a specific group of people.
It can also happen that if someone is not a native speaker, they won’t be able to differentiate sarcasm, for example, from a regular comment. You must be extra careful when choosing ways to express yourself around your team, especially when you are from places radically different, such as Asia vs. America or similar distances.
However, remote work is the perfect opportunity to learn more from other cultures. Do not hesitate to ask your teammates nicely about what they like and what things make them feel uncomfortable. Chances are that if you do it properly, they will explain things to you nicely without any offense.
Most of these skills are fundamentally related to your personality and how you decide to tackle processes. However, many activities can help you learn the basics or identify your strengths. You can try to pick up a new skill on your own to identify your learning style or learn more about a universal feature such as Google Drive.
You can also try to consult sources of knowledge such as courses or blogs about cybersecurity and how to organize your time. If you are still a student, try to implement time management skills to see how much control you have over your schedule. If you already have a job, see how much you can move your schedule to fit the 4 free hours needed for a part-time position.
The best way to improve this skill is to earn experience applying it. Most companies will value real professional experience, but just doing it in your regular life is more than enough to start training yourself. Your academic life is also a good source of experience, but remember to always focus on improving your processes.
When you start working remotely, most clients will not provide further training in these soft skills but instead focus on what you need to work on. So, it would help if you tried to improve these independently. Although, working with a staffing agency offers an extra layer of support, as the agency will surely help you improve or provide general tips on how to catch up quickly.
Well, most recruiters can’t quantify how successful you are with time management or the simple details of the technology. But, these soft skills may be the difference between keeping the role or getting past the interview stage. So, we recommend trying at least to overlook how you are in these areas to see what can be improved and what makes you shine.
These skills are also not usually present in your professional profiles, such as LinkedIn or your CV. However, they make themselves visible by showing your past works or creating samples. So, never underestimate the power of non-professional skills in your work life.
Now that you know the basics of these skills, it is time to talk about how we help you build a more robust profile as a platform. We have a very talented project manager who is always helping our active V.A.s solve any problem they may detect with their routines. However, we also have a specialized platform that serves as an academy for people without experience working remotely.
We want you to be the best professional you can be, but we know this can sometimes be challenging. So, we have your back covered and will provide you with the necessary training you need to reach your full potential. Here at V.A. Locator, your professional career is our top priority when we choose you to be part of our team. Just visit our website to share your top remote work skills with us and land the perfect job!
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