The current COVID-19 pandemic has undeniably pushed remote work and distributed teams into a global scale, forcing every employee and office worker worldwide to work from home simply. Here in the Philippines, a majority of employees are in favor of the transition to remote work, with over 87 percent of workers who were ready to shift to working from home. Despite a few setbacks and a far departure from the professional environment of an office, employees have quickly adapted to the setup and perks of remote work. Flexible work schedules, no longer having to endure the daily commute, and working in comfortable clothes have all been small comforts employees have enjoyed with the new work arrangement.
With companies also shifting their work strategy to accommodate the new needs of an agile workforce, they are looking for workers that can fit into a flexible work arrangement as well. The pandemic has exposed the need for companies to search for candidates that have skills that can easily translate digitally, as much as it also translates in the real world. As we are now living in a digital age, businesses have transformed not just their operations but their talent search and hiring processes. For those on the lookout for better growth opportunities, here are the essential skills you can learn to help you adapt to a digitally enabled setting:
While video conferences and daily meeting calls have become part of one’s daily routine through working virtually, other avenues of communication such as email and other messaging platforms have also been widely used. Miscommunication and messages getting lost in translation tend to happen more often in these situations because of the absence of voice tone, body language, and gestures. Workers must ensure they can get their written message across concisely and accurately while maintaining a tone of professionalism and formality.
Although everyone may now be working remotely, this doesn’t completely eliminate face-to-face interaction. Video conferences and meetings have replaced those weekly huddles and daily touchpoints, effectively transferring these activities virtually to abide by the new norm. What most applicants now have to learn is how to efficiently get their point across all while encompassing all the important details one needs to know. This is handy when raising concerns, clarifying tasks, or identifying goals. Spoken communication is generally easier to understand because of the presence of verbal and visual cues
A large part of working from home is being able to work independently with minimal supervision. Although anyone’s first time on the job will obviously be in need of some guidance, most team leaders expect more accountability on projects and tasks once the training wheels are off. Without the luxury of being surrounded by coworkers, people who work from home mostly have to figure out issues they encounter by themselves or come up with creative solutions.
This skill mostly goes without saying if anyone wants to succeed at working from home or remotely. With basic computer skills being taught early on in schools, most graduates today possess a basic understanding of simple computer programs and a proficient digitally-enabled skillset. However, recruiters and team leaders may be more inclined to hire individuals who go the extra mile and know how to operate more advanced and updated software programs.
While working from home has its advantages, there are also its disadvantages, and one of the biggest ones that most remote workers encounter is a slump in their productivity. Being in a home environment, one is constantly filled with distractions and the temptation to slack off because they are mostly working alone. Without a supervisor or manager there to physically check on you, one needs to create their own routine and have the discipline to keep focused enough on their scheduled tasks. Although most people who work from home have flexible schedules, many still have deadlines and goals to be met.
Although remote work usually means you are working independently for a majority of the time, most remote workers usually make up part of a remote or virtual team. This makes it important to keep everyone informed on what you’re working on and getting tasks done on time as you are accountable to other team members. Being able to communicate and collaborate are essential skills in any work setting since some of your duties will correspond to or affect the other members or your team as a whole.
As a distributed team, there is also the advantage of virtually working with different types of people, no matter where they live. This results in unique and dynamic work culture and interpersonal relationships that can help you learn to be highly adaptable as a collaborator because of these differences.
As most remote workers work in their homes, the lines between their work and personal life can often become blurred. To help keep things on track and have distinct boundaries, being well-organized is greatly needed. Dividing tasks for the day, setting weekly goals, and sorting them out by priority can help put things in order. This makes remote workers feel less overwhelmed with a tangible to-do list in sight, as well as keep track of other small miscellaneous things that go on during the day, such as emails and finances.
Time management is an essential skill for any job but most especially for those working from home or in virtual teams. Working independently, there is no one to put extra pressure on you regarding timeframes and deadlines therefore, this is something one will have to manage by themselves. Even with remote workers working on a flexible schedule, there are still a few distractions and issues that happen that can make things go off track.
It is up to the remote worker to be responsible enough in managing their time well by setting timeframes for each task or project while leaving some allowances in case of issues they might encounter along the way. This helps in abiding by deadlines and commitments and efficiently going through your list of tasks without overworking yourself.
While working on your own may have some of its perks, there are no colleagues or coworkers you can turn to for quick help if one is in need of assistance. That is why employers looking for people who can work from home are attracted to candidates who seem independent and self-sufficient.
Any manager likes anyone who can show initiative because this shows that not only can they execute tasks well but also come up with creative ideas that can push the business forward on their own. Show team leaders that you’re willing to go the extra mile outside of your daily tasks by learning new skills or programs on your own or thinking of unique ideas that help the brand grow.
These skills and traits are generally needed for any work setting but are now more in demand since the switch to virtual working. Possessing this skill set will make any worker highly versatile and easily adaptable in any type of arrangement. While these skills can be learned so that they can come through loud and clear when you are working, others may be more challenging to overcome. One needs to re-evaluate the situation and be open to learning new experiences to succeed at flexible working.