After everything that happened this year with the Covid-19 pandemic, remote work is probably here to stay. Even if you don’t decide to become a permanent remote worker, you will probably have to do it a few days a week. These are the skills you will need to be successful in the future of work.
For remote workers, strong communication is an essential skill to have. Some people may think it is not that important because you are working from home and not around your team. But that is the reason why communication is more important in remote work than in traditional office environments.
Remote workers have to over-communicate with their team because they are all working in different locations. They have to constantly make sure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to their responsibilities and deadlines. Also, communication isn’t only words—we use body language, expressions, and tone to complement what we say.
When you are communicating through email or a phone call, you have to figure out the message without the help of several components. Thus, remote workers have to be strong communicators to transmit the messages the way they mean it with only words.
Another skill that only people who already have worked remotely before know is self-discipline. Doing your job even when you don’t have a manager breathing down your neck requires a lot of discipline.
When working remotely, you know you can cheat the system if you wanted by spending the day doing other stuff instead of working. That’s why you have to be self-motivated, disciplined, and independent enough to be responsible and do your job even when you don’t have anyone supervising you all the time. However, remote working isn’t for everyone. Some people have a harder time finding that motivation. One of the things you can do is to set up a home office where you can shut yourself off from all distractions.
When you start working remotely, having digital literacy is a must. Digital literacy is when you are familiar with technology like different devices, digital platforms, and tools. Working remotely requires professionals to use different digital tools like computers, smartphones, various programs, and platforms like videoconferencing or document collaboration.
So, if you’ve always had a hard time using technology and digital tools, you should work on this skill right now. You can find many online courses that will teach you the basics in the most common programs.
For example, the most common tools used nowadays video conferencing tools like Zoom or Skype, Google Docs and Sheets, and the Microsoft Office package. Knowing how to use an email is also important for communication and for using other tools. In addition, at least the basics on how to do Internet research will be helpful for any other doubt you have in your day-to-day.
Average US workers waste 22 minutes per day dealing with IT issues. Now with remote working, when employees need IT support they probably lose a little more time because the support is also remote. Knowing some basic troubleshooting will help you a lot to optimize time during the day.
Knowing how to do Internet research is a complementary skill to troubleshooting. If you have basic knowledge of how computers work and how to solve basic issues you will be able to follow tutorials and instructions found online. You can go even further and learn more than basic skills. You can learn a programming language, or study an operating system or hardware. This will help you solve many problems you will encounter.
Finally, but not less important, you will need to be excellent with time management to be a remote worker. Knowing how to organize your time is essential not only to meet all your work deadlines but to disconnect from work when it’s over. Sometimes, remote workers struggle to disconnect from work and set time apart for their own lives. Time management will help you have enough time for all aspects of your life.
To be an excellent remote worker you will need to have your skillset ready. You can take some time to learn or improve the skills you don’t have. You need strong communication, self-discipline, digital literacy, basic troubleshooting, and time management. Make sure you are prepared for the future of work and the new normal after the pandemic.