When you’re applying for a regular job, you typically assess your ability to perform the job by your previous work experiences, your education, and your skills. But when you’re applying for a job as a remote employee, you need to take into consideration all of the aforementioned factors, plus the soft skills you’ll need in order to work remotely.
Read on to see which of these five characteristics you already possess in order to be a great remote employee, and learn why they’re so important:
1. You’re organized.
Sure, every employee should, in theory, be organized. After all, if you’re disorganized, you won’t be able to produce the same output as a more organized employee. When you work remotely, though, your organizational skills have to be superior. That means not only having your digital files in order, but also your home office. Yes, even though there’s no one there to see all the coffee cups on your desk, physical (and virtual) clutter can cramp your workflow and impede your productivity.
2. You’re proactive about communicating.
When you worked in a regular office, you sometimes (okay, oftentimes) hid out in your cubicle to avoid dealing with catty colleagues and a micromanaging boss. That won’t work (literally) when you work remotely. Strong communication skills are critical in order to be successful, from relaying status updates to your fellow remote coworkers to talking through any issues with your boss. Without good communication, things can fall through the cracks and your work—and your good standing with the company—can suffer as a result.
3. You can self-manage.
You’ve dreamt of what it would be like to be able to work independently, on your own, with no boss in sight. Ever. Although it might sound like a dream come true, the truth is that managing yourself takes some time to finesse. In order for you to be a great remote employee, you need to be able to complete your tasks on time, without the imminent threat of your boss crashing your cubicle—and finding you on Facebook instead of finishing your work.
4. You don’t mind working alone.
Gossipy coworkers. Incessant phone ringing. Colleagues with clunky shoes clopping past your cubicle. All those things that make working in a traditional workplace irksome are a moot point when you work remotely. But if you think you’d be better off working alone, you might want to think again. Remote workers do experience higher productivity levels (and awesome work-life balance) than their in-office peers, but they also report being more lonely and experiencing feelings of isolation sometimes. So if you want to work remotely, make sure that you structure your workday to include human interaction in the form of lunches with friends or phone calls with your family. It can help you keep a connection to other people while still getting all of your work done—peacefully.
5. You can problem solve.
Things can go awry when you’re at work. Copiers break, programs stop working, and the Internet can go out. When those things happen, you’d typically hit up the IT department or an office manager to help fix the problem. Thing is, when you work remotely, you’re not only the worker, you are also the IT department and the office manager combined. Being able to keep your head on your shoulders—and not freak out—when you have a remote work fail is a hallmark of a great remote worker. That way, you can keep your cool and solve the problem when your Skype stops working….right before a big all-staff meeting.
Being a great remote employee means that you can handle all aspects of the position plus be able to work well offsite. Don’t worry if you don’t have all of these soft skills—the good news is that with a little practice, you can master these skills and work successfully in your remote job!