Remote work will likely be a mainstay in the post-COVID-19 era. A survey by the Pew Research Center found that more than half of workers would prefer to work from home even after the pandemic. Meanwhile, big corporations like Microsoft, JPMorgan, and Amazon are adopting long-term remote work policies.
In order to succeed and remain competitive in a remote work environment, it’s essential for everyone in your organization to develop the following skills:
1. Digital literacy
Remote work is mostly reliant on digital tools, so staying updated on the latest computer and mobile technologies is crucial. You have to be proficient in using a wide assortment of apps and devices. As many business processes will inevitably become paperless, it’s also crucial that you know how to generate, analyze, and use data in various digital formats.
The ability to work with your colleagues is important no matter what team you’re in, but doing so comes with unique challenges once remote work is in the picture. In a traditional office setting, you can just swivel your chair or walk over to the next room to ask for an update on a task. You can’t do these when your colleagues are miles away from you.
In a remote work environment, you must have the ability to take full advantage of the collaborative tools available to you. These range from instant messaging and video conferencing apps to co-authored documents on cloud platforms. These tools create a virtual workspace where you can share files, communicate, and work together with your teammates as effectively as if you were in the same room.
On the topic of collaboration, having the right tools is just half of the equation. Effective cooperation is possible only with good communication. You must be able to convey your message through any medium or channel, including video, chat, email, and the comments you leave on co-authored documents. Therefore, both your oral and written communication skills must be spot on.
In a remote work environment, you must have the ability to take full advantage of the collaborative tools available to you.
Bear in mind, however, that effective communication entails not just the ability to deliver a message, but to receive it as well. This means you have to be able to comprehend messages from any channel and respond to them accordingly.
4. Time management
Working from home means you won’t have people nudging you or looking over your shoulder to check what you’re doing. Despite this, you must be able to manage your own time and finish all the tasks expected of you.
If you find it hard to manage your time, you can try different strategies to help you focus. Use productivity or project management platforms. You can also work in sprints, in which you focus on a single task for a period of time, take a break, then get back to work. Muting emails and chat notifications may also help you cut out any distractions.
The traditional office is a controlled environment equipped with various measures and contingencies against sudden problems and challenges. This can’t be said for most home offices. To succeed in the new normal, you must be able to deal with unexpected situations, such as your computer breaking down or your internet connection fluctuating in the middle of a conference call. Learn to troubleshoot or get backup devices, such as an extra laptop, or internet connection, to mitigate the risk and impact of possible interruptions.
Despite its purported effect of improving employees’ work-life balance, working from home can leave you prone to burnout. This is mostly because the boundaries between your private and professional life are blurred to some degree.
Being an effective worker is equal parts powering through and winding down. Do your tasks only within business hours and disconnect from work-related matters, such as emails and task updates, after your shift. Give yourself time to prepare a nice meal. Catch up on your favorite TV show, play video games, read a book, or do anything else that interests you. Being able to compartmentalize work and leisure will help you stay motivated and ultimately lower your risk of burnout.
Having skills that are appropriate for remote work will help your company become more efficient and productive in the new normal. Leveraging the right tools can help too. At Quicktech, our team can offer recommendations on which tools your company needs to address the challenges posed by remote work.
Discover how we can help you maximize your productivity by downloading this free eBook today.