Remote work is nothing new. In 2019, 43% of employees in the United States experienced working from home at least part-time, and that number has grown by approximately 10% annually. It was predicted that 70% of workers would work from home at least five days a month by 2025, but the pandemic sped up the adoption rate.
With many businesses extending their remote work policies at least until the end of the year, working from home is here to stay for the foreseeable future. In order to succeed in a work from home (WFH) setting, managers and employees need to develop these vital skills.
1. Planning and organizing
In a WFH setup, you don't have a coworker or a manager to motivate you or monitor your progress. It's up to you to stay focused on and finish your tasks. Identify your priorities and create a to-do list for everything you need to complete within the day, week, and month.
A to-do list will help you keep track of your progress and allow you to make the necessary adjustments if you're struggling to finish a specific task or if something unexpected comes up. If you're having difficulty managing your time, try using productivity apps to track your time and progress.
The remote work environment is constantly changing. You have to learn how to collaborate with a geographically scattered team, adjust to new remote work policies, and master new tools and technologies. The ability to quickly adapt will help you manage these changes effectively and prevent you from falling behind on your tasks, which can disrupt business operations.
3. Written communication
Remote working relies heavily on written communication, such as sending messages via Slack, email, or SMS and using the chat function during video meetings. No matter what platform you're using, you need excellent written communication skills to get your ideas across.
Always check your grammar, spelling, and punctuation before sending email, text, or chat messages. Also, use the appropriate tone and level of formality depending on who you're communicating with. For instance, it's fine to adopt a casual tone when messaging your coworkers, but you should always be more formal when addressing your superiors.
With many businesses extending their remote work policies at least until the end of the year, working from home is here to stay for the foreseeable future.
Working remotely doesn't mean working alone. You're still part of a team, and you still need to work with your coworkers to complete tasks and projects. However, the inability to physically gather in one space can make collaboration challenging. Every remote worker must be able to continue working with their team despite the distance. This entails having an open mind, a collaborative outlook, and empathy for colleagues. This also requires mastering technology tools that bring teams together.
For instance, video conferencing apps like Zoom and Microsoft Teams allow you to hold virtual meetings with your team so you can update each other on the progress of specific projects, tackle problems, and propose ideas, to name a few. In addition, project management tools such as Trello and Jira let you facilitate and track the progress of various tasks in a single interface. Using these tools ensures remote team members know the status of multiple projects and holds them accountable for the work they committed to.
Working remotely can be challenging due to distractions, such as children, pets, noisy neighbors, and more. To ensure you can stay focused on your tasks, find an area in your home with minimal noise and distractions. You can also use noise canceling headphones to block out audible distractions. Keep your workspace organized and remove any clutter to minimize any visual distractions and allow you to focus entirely on your work.
6. Technical knowledge
Remote workers use various tools such as file sharing, video conferencing, and project management apps to manage tasks and communicate with coworkers. They should be able to access and use these tools comfortably and with little assistance as possible. Spending too much time trying to figure out how an app works can bring down a team's productivity.
Aside from being comfortable using various productivity tools and technology, remote employees should also know how to troubleshoot simple issues, for instance, if the audio or video in Zoom is not working.
Are you looking for ways to improve your remote team's productivity? If so, you need our free eBook, “Make remote working work for your business”. It will show you how to create an effective WFH policy that will enable your team to accomplish more. Download it today.