Finding a completely remote job used to be a far-fetched idea, but nowadays, the number of virtual companies is growing by the day and so is the number of their employees. If you have been dreaming of getting a remote job, this is the moment when you really have to sit down and think if it’s the right fit for you and, ultimately, if you have the skills you need to work from home – or in the case of the most adventurous, be able to work from anywhere in the world.
So, what do you need to be able to land and properly execute that job? Let’s see some of the most important skills that you will need to be successful:
One of the main challenges in a virtual team is maintaining regular, clear, and open communication. The more team members you have, the more challenging it can get. To be successful as a remote worker, you will need excellent communication skills. That means you must feel completely comfortable with regular phone and/or video meetings since it is the most common way to maintain human contact and build virtual relationships with the team.
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You will be constantly reviewing lots of emails, online chats, and tasks as most of your assignments will be provided in writing. You need to be quick, clear, and concise on your replies, and finally, do not forget to provide continuous updates on your activities. Keep in mind that top-notch communication is key at this point.
Because you will be doing your job remotely, you should be familiar with common technology tools. Of course, there are some tools you will be able to learn along the way but being familiar with communication and management tools is definitely a plus and will give you a head start against your competition when landing the job. It’s not a matter of being an expert (unless you’re applying for a technical job) but rather about being able to adjust to the tools and platforms each company uses for clear and transparent management.
The tools will change depending on the job you are looking for but having prior experience with time-tracking tools or project management platforms will definitely set you apart. Be sure to understand whether or not there are any requirements for the job for which you’re applying, in terms of platform experience, so you can leverage that knowledge on your resume if you have it.
In traditional office jobs, people usually have more hand-holding from leaders and coworkers than people who have a remote job. This does not mean that in remote jobs the employees are not guided – of course, they are – but in a remote job you need to be able to work well independently because your boss will not be by your side all the time, giving you directions, and helping with each doubt that comes along your way.
Remember that you might be working on a different time zone than the rest of your team, which results in a heightened responsibility for each team member to coordinate and execute the activities at hand. As a remote worker, you have to be able to:
- Manage your time: You must manage the time appropriately to carry out the assigned activities. Nobody will give you orders about how to distribute your work time, it’s on you to prioritize activities according to your role and meet the deadlines.
- Work well independently: As mentioned, interaction with team members might be limited or non-existent. Remote workers must be prepared to be resourceful, investigate and execute by themselves if necessary.
- Avoid distractions: Distractions tend to be pitfalls for remote workers. You must be able to plan your activities and stay organized so that daily tasks (like things as simple as making lunch) don’t throw you off when it comes to urgent tasks or simply keeping your day on track.
Sure, you can set up your own schedule and sure, you can work a few hours one day while working all day the next. But if you don’t have a continuous system and discipline, you will not be able to deliver on the high level of responsibility the company has trusted on you. As a remote worker, you have to be very organized with your activities and the time you spend on each one. To help with this, people usually make to-do lists, consistently track emails, and record activities on the company system.
Last but not least, this is not a “skill” required to be hired but it is very important for yourself! If you want to be happy with your job, you also need to know when to stop working at the end of the day. Achieving a balance between work and life itself is one of the most difficult things of this kind of jobs. Having a location independent job doesn’t mean that you have to be available 24/7.
Sometimes, working remotely can be difficult for people who can’t separate their jobs from their personal lives. That could happen because most of the time you are working from home and you either can’t identify the time to stop or because you’ve been working on and off during the day, you just keep going – next thing you know, you’ve worked 12 hours that day. What’s the result? People start feeling stuck and overloaded. It’s suggested to set up schedules for yourself, at least in the beginning until you’re able to identify a clear line of work.
If you feel identified and think you have the non-negotiable skills to be a remote worker, it’s time to start searching for a location-independent job for you!
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