Thanks to advances in technology and recent disruptions in the traditional workplace, more and more companies are considering offering a remote work option to their employees. Twenty-three percent of Americans reported they’ve done some or all of their work at home in 2014, while the number of companies working with a distributed team is rising. The model has already proven to be working, with companies available like FlexJobs, Upwork, and Crew where you can find skilled workers to do work for you without ever meeting them. This means more employers need to know what traits to look for in remote employees and how to hire flexible workers.
So, since the myth that people can only work together if they’re in the same office is finally busted, are you considering going fully remote with your team or hiring people to join your team remotely? There are many benefits to remote working, such as a bigger talent pool to search from and cutting costs on office space. Work-life balance and living a comfortable location-independent lifestyle seem to be the best perks for employees.
If you’re still new to the market but would like to start developing a remote team, here are some of the traits to look for in remote employees.
Look for people who have already proven to be high achievers at previous jobs and who have personality traits like independence, consistency, and a good indication of self-management. You can do this by adding a test with a clear deadline to see how your employees-to-be will cope without supervision. Remote workers must not only be motivated enough, but also have initiative to dig into the work without being managed or guided.
This one’s a no-brainer: look for people who have a track record of launching side projects or collaborating on different initiatives. You need people who are driven by work, rather than money, safety, or comfort. Look for people who have been known as idea people at old workplaces–initiative starters. Check out their cover letter to see if they’re already suggesting new ideas, and ask how they see themselves at the company.
This is easy to spot. Filter the resumes you received to include only the ones highlighting results achieved at previous jobs, avoid people who pride themselves on working long hours, and look for an investment in previous projects to find people who only care about results. You don’t need a remote worker assuring you they’ve worked for 60 hours last week without a single output to show.
Good Communication Skills
Communication in remote teams is crucial. Look for people who have clear and concise writing, and who can express themselves clearly and effectively. They don’t necessarily need to be extroverts, fabulous speakers, or writers, but only good communicators who are effective in transmitting the message they want to send. Look beyond the stage fright in an interview and see how clear their emails are. Are you able to comprehend everything without asking yourself what they meant or misinterpreting the tone?
This is often a trait overlooked by remote recruiters. Since independence is one of the traits needed, you might think the person working remotely and achieving great results shouldn’t have to be a great team player too. Well, I can’t emphasize enough how important team players are in remote teams. They’re even crucial if you want to keep functioning with people spread out across the globe, working on a mutual goal, and respecting the same values.
Dunja Lazic is passionate about productivity, remote work, and startups. She spends her time reading, writing, and learning something new every day. Dunja is a media manager in charge of making Toggl a household name.