Does the idea of working from home appeal to you? Many companies today hire remote teams. Don’t think they have it all figured out.
There’s quite an effort and discipline required from both ends to make a successful collaboration at a distance.
If you want to get a remote job and be successful at it, you l need to prove you’re the person who can make telecommuting work.
There are certain skills that remote employees need that aren’t taught in school. They’re skills you learn through the rich experience of working for others.
Regardless of your experience, you should understand the downsides of remote work positions so you can be the best version of yourself, but also recognize what you need from your superiors to make this telecommuting job work.
Supervision Is Less Frequent
Some business owners frown at the thought of anyone working outside the office because they feel they are losing control over work production.
As an employee, it’s vital to show that you don’t need to be handheld. While you’re working remotely, you can’t knock on the boss’ door to ask questions. You can send an email looking for help with your tasks, but it might take days to get an answer.
The work must have a continuous flow.
You need to show problem-solving skills and be proactive. If your boss spends more time helping you with your tasks than doing their own, they might start looking for your replacement.
Show you’re able to work independently from your boss and coworkers. That’s what they need to see.
To be proactive and independent in your job, you also need to have clear instructions and procedures, which your employer should provide. You cannot become a self-reliant and productive employee if you didn’t receive a proper education.
Remote Workers Have to be Self-Motivated
Self-motivation is the key to working alone from home. It’s developed from the inside but also depends on the company you work for. No one wants to be a part of a poorly organized corporation that doesn’t provide onboarding, education, and work assessment.
Besides proper organization, employees are motivated by a company’s vision, great leadership and culture.
Motivation comes from within. If your own values match the company’s core values – you’ll be a great fit, and you’ll have that intrinsic drive.
When working remotely, there’s no manager to check up on your progress, give you a pat on the back or provide course correction. If you’re a procrastinator who doesn’t work unless nudged, remote work isn’t going to work well for you.
You’ll probably have a task list and a scheduled day, but you also have to create a routine that keeps you on and be disciplined about sticking to it.
It takes time to find what morning routine works best for you. If you want to be great at your job and climb up the corporate ladder, do whatever it takes to become awake, energized, and ready to crush it, whether it’s a routine or some focusing tools. The tools should work with you and improve your work habits.
As you’re building your discipline and work skills, make sure you’re becoming more adept at handling a busy schedule.
Know that more capable employees often receive extra work because they grow into someone dependable who can be trusted with an important task.
Clear Communication is the Most Needed Skill
Working from home doesn’t necessarily mean less communication and interactions. In fact, home-based workers often have to communicate more often with people, whether it’s customers, employers, or co-workers.
That communication includes voice as well as written correspondence.
When you’re exchanging emails or direct messages with others, your message has to be clear.
There can be huge misunderstandings when communicating through text. Being misunderstood or unclear can cause very serious problems and delays with projects.
To be considered for a remote position, be sure that you have strong writing skills. It takes practice to be understood through written communication. There’s no way to hear the tone through text.
The right word choice is vital. It’s one of the best skills you can perfect for work-at-home opportunities.
Likewise, your superiors need to hone those same skills, but that’s out of your hands. What you can do is when interpreting instructions is to read them twice, with care.
Are you sure you understood what’s been asked from you?
Don’t be edgy and jump straight to completing the task, rather read it carefully and patiently, and ask for clarification if there’s something that you are not sure how to do.
Digital Tools are the Essence of Remote Work
Whether it’s conference calls or video conferencing, there’s a need for virtual connections. It’s very likely that you’ll be collaborating with others on projects. That collaboration requires you’re adept at handling technology.
There are software programs that manage all aspects of projects. Your employer needs to provide you with the necessary tools, but it’s your job to learn how to use them properly.
When working from home, you probably won’t have access to the company’s IT services. It’s on you to fix any computer problems that might occur. Along with fixing computer problems, you have to provide yourself with all the necessary equipment.
A working computer and a reliable internet are required. Be responsible for your computer to protect your work and the company’s data. Security concerns are something you’ll have to cover yourself.
You’re a Team Player without the Team
In the office, you can just walk over to a co-workers desk and ask them a question. You can easily show them a paper or ask them to clear up a problem.
Written communication takes more time, and a simple question that you would ask by the watercooler can take much more time when done via Skype chat, for example.
Also, you don’t know what the other person is doing at the moment and you don’t want to interrupt, so you send an email. There’s less casual banter happening with remote teams, especially when the team is dispersed across different timezones.
There are project management tools that make it easier to track progress and collaborate in real-time, so you feel like you are doing stuff together. Depending on the job, you will probably collaborate with other team members.
Even if you are too busy to get to know your colleagues on a personal level at work, you can leverage the software in your daily work life to catch up in your free time.
You’ll have to make an effort, but it’s certainly possible to feel like a part of a team. Group meetings can happen with the software you’ve learned to use daily, or you can connect with your work buddies on social media.
From a company’s side, teambuilding can be boosted by organizing meetups that gather everyone at the same place, from in-house personnel to those working remotely. That is a great way to get everybody on the same level and connect with people more deeply.
Is remote work right for you and your employer?
The companies having a remote workforce benefit in a number of ways. From lower overhead to happier employees and decreased operational costs, telecommuting can be enticing for employers.
Likewise, employees can save a lot on lengthy commutes and invest them in quality time, especially those living in big cities.
If your profession allows remote working, and you are considering applying to a remote job, try to strengthen your self-discipline and perfect your written communication before jumping aboard the telecommuting bandwagon.
About the Author
Joe Peters is a Baltimore-based freelance writer and an ultimate techie. When he is not working his magic as a marketing consultant, this incurable tech junkie devours the news on the latest gadgets and binge-watches his favorite TV shows. Follow him on @bmorepeters