For many of us, remote work was forced upon us due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As such, it can seem like a whole new reality to calibrate to, so it’s hard to know where to start when it comes to thriving in this work dynamic.
In this guide, we aren’t just going to show you what skills will serve you in a remote work context, but soft skills which you can take with you to any work setting.
Soft skills are those which have more to do with your personal attributes than work-specific competencies.
For example, time management would be one soft skill to master, as would knowing how to collaborate and communicate within a team.
If you can conquer some of the soft skills we present to you in this guide, then you’ll not only be better equipped to thrive in a remote work setting, but you’ll also be able to pad out the ‘skills’ section of your resume.
If there’s one soft skill that trumps all the others, it’s the ability to be flexible or adaptable to change.
Those who are flexible had a much easier time of transitioning into remote work than those who resisted the change and fought it with every fiber of their being.
Now, those same people who demonstrated flexibility when their work life was turned upside down are the ones who are thriving under new ways of working with project management software and distance communication.
What’s more, if you can show your superiors that you’re capable of quickly adapting to new circumstances, then you’ll be one of the first names they think of when new positions pop up.
Flexibility is so important for remote work because you’ll no longer have access to your office desk, printer, scanner and all the other equipment you’re used to using on a regular basis. You’ll have to figure out a home work setup that works for you, and come up with solutions to problems as and when they emerge.
Flexibility is a soft skill that can benefit you as much in your professional life as in your personal life, so it really is one worth adding to your repertoire.
Communication is probably one of the most-used words in resumes across the country, and it makes sense, since if you aren’t able to get your message across in a fast-moving work environment then you’ll get left behind.
It isn’t just the ability to tell your boss or colleagues what you need that’s important, though. It’s also how well you can compose an email or a letter when the need arises.
Written communication is up there with public speaking when it comes to skills that serve you well in life, yet we rarely spend time brushing up on our mastery of the English language.
We’re not saying that you need to invest in courses or spend time dissecting Shakespeare’s greatest works, but if you’re willing to put more thought into your texts, emails, and other written communications then you’ll find that you get more of the responses you’re looking for.
Knowing how to write well is an invaluable skill in the workplace, as it makes you more persuasive, and makes those you communicate with more likely to understand you, recommend you, and be on the same page as you.
Communication takes on all-new importance when viewed through the remote work lens, as you now need to know how to be understood at a distance, and know which platforms to use in which situations.
Speaking of being on the same page, communication won’t do you much use if you don’t know how to collaborate with others.
Working in a team, whether on a small or large scale is essential if you want to stand out as a star employee.
When you transform the work environment into one which exists largely in the digital space, it becomes all the more important to know how to collaborate.
Collaboration while working remotely isn’t as tricky as it sounds, and that’s largely due to the emergence of project management, remote employee monitoring, employee productivity and communication tools.
The likes of Workpuls, Chanty, Asana, and Zoom have paved the way for businesses to set up communication lines between teams and individual employees in a way that rivals the office environment.
These days, when you say collaboration, people think of adding labels to tasks in project management software or starting up an online video conference with the whole team. These are the collaborative tools that you need to become well-versed in if you want to keep up with the times.
Time management is a soft skill that everybody could benefit from, as it could be the difference between making a deadline and securing a big client or failing to reach it and losing out on a new account.
One of the issues of remote work is that many workers find themselves in positions where they now have to contend with a plethora of distractions in all forms. Whether it’s the dog barking in the next room, the well-meaning spouse checking in, or the allure of the fridge, many people find that working at home isn’t quite what they thought it would be.
When you make an effort to block out your time, though, and assign chunks for various tasks throughout the work day, you can get on top of distractions as you’ll always know what to focus on next.
Employee tracking software can help, too, as they keep workers accountable and focussed on the task at hand. For managers, this type of tool can help them to manage their teams from afar and see how much progress is being made.
If you take some time to nurture the soft skills outlined in this guide, you could see your productivity levels soar regardless of where you do your work.
While it might be jarring at first, working from home doesn’t have to throw you off your game. Preparation is key, as is adaptability, so if you can approach remote work with the right mindset you’ll be a contender for employee of the month in no time.