With the 4th Industrial Revolution, ‘The Internet of Things’, currently in full-swing, it’s no surprise that emerging business trends, like remote working, are being favoured by organisations who are looking to integrate technology with healthier business practices.
Professionals are seeking out careers that allow them to be anywhere they want, while still delivering on business objectives with over 23% of workers indicating that they complete at least some work during the week, remotely. Remote working’s benefits have been linked to increased productivity and employee engagement, and continues to be lauded as a working trend of the future.
But what exactly does it take to land a remote working job in 2017? Here’s what you need to know about the most in-demand set of soft skills for the remote worker this year:
The 5 skills you’ll need to get a job working remotely
1. Virtual collaboration to help you stay in touch while you work remotely
When you work remotely, you aren’t suddenly working alone. Your team and organisation continue to band together to achieve business goals – you’re just not able to tap them on the shoulder when you need to find something quickly.
Virtual collaboration is imperative if you want to be successful in your role as a remote worker. Focusing on engagement and team productivity online is what’s going to make or break you.
Virtual collaboration is all about the tools you use. Here are some of the best online collaboration tools you should familiarise yourself with:
Edit and contribute to your team’s online spreadsheets, presentations and documents from anywhere in the world, in real time.
Stay connected through voice calls over the internet, as well as instant messaging, video conferencing and file transfers.
Keep track of your coworkers halfway across the world, with this time tracking program that lets you know exactly what everyone is working on and how long they’re spending on these activities.
Ensure the whole team knows where everything is, what’s next on the task list, and prevent anything from slipping through the cracks with this popular collaborative project management tool.
2. Tech-capable competencies to navigate remote working tools
Virtual communication relies heavily on your ability to navigate new technologies and make the most of the tools your organisation depends on. Regardless of whether or not your actual role is tech-related, as a remote worker you’re going to be using technology throughout your day.
Brush up on some basic tech skills and prove that you can handle the backend of a WordPress site without assistance. Or maybe you want to take it one step further and show that you can read simple HTML without needing an IT team to guide you. You need to be able to move past the days of simple Microsoft Office and adopt an approach that demonstrates your ability to move between platforms and learn quickly.
3. The ability to self-direct and stay focused while working independently
Remote worker at GameBet Consulting, Ryan Brauer, says the most challenging thing he had to overcome while telecommuting was not becoming distracted by other people and conversations, and focusing on creating structure in his own day.
To be successful as a remote worker you need to take on the responsibility to get the important things done without a manager breathing down your neck.
Improve your decision-making abilities and time management skills if you want to be trusted working remotely. In a study by Green Peak Partners and Cornell University on what determines executive success, it was noted that high self-awareness was the “strongest predictor of overall success.” You have the opportunity to work flexibly, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to work harder to achieve results.
4. Dependability and trustworthiness to get the job done, unsupervised
Remote working provides you with the opportunity to manage your own time and do things at your own pace. But there’s a quick ticket back to the cubicle for all remote workers. If your manager begins to believe they cannot trust you with the tasks you’ve been assigned, you’ll soon find yourself being micro-managed – back at the office
You need to be available throughout the working day. People will easily become frantic if there’s a problem to be solved and they can’t reach the person who can provide the solution. If you say you’ll deliver on a deadline, you need to be vigilant – out of sight is most certainly not out of mind when it comes to remote working.
Remote working seeks to solve an age-old professional problem: balance.
It provides the chance for people to live their lives and achieve on professional targets. But balance goes both ways, and if you consistently begin to prioritise your personal life above work during work hours, then it’s likely remote working will not pan out for you.
5. Taking initiative as a remote worker
When you’re in the office and you don’t understand something, there is a simple solution. Reach over to the person sitting next to you and ask them to walk you through it.
As a remote worker this luxury is significantly altered: it will take a while to get a response about complex issues and trivial matters aren’t worth wasting time over. You need to be proactive in your role and seek to solve problems before asking for help.
Independence is a key feature for a successful remote worker, so make sure you emphasise your ability to be self-reliant and self-taught when you apply for a remote working position.
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