8 Qualities of a Successful Remote Professional
In the United States alone, more than 3.9 million workers are now remote; untold millions more from other countries round out a growing segment of the world’s population. An even greater number of workers have work flexibility that includes part-time remote work, such as arrangements to work from home a few days a week and only go to the office on set days or when in-person meetings are needed.
The segment of workers who work remotely may be growing faster, however, than the education as to the needs of those who work remotely. As an experienced professional in a competitive field, you’ll need a variety of qualities to find success as a remote worker.
Successful Remote Professionals Are…
While accidental or incidental communication may happen when everyone is in a trendy open-floor-plan office or runs into each other in the breakroom, your communication skills will be put to the test when you are working remotely. The new environment means making sure that you understand when an email, a phone call, or a video chat would be best to get what you need from another member of your team, a client, or another collaborator. When working remotely, you cannot sit back and wait for others to communicate with you, but rather must proactively seek them out.
While thinking positively and expressing positivity is an excellent path forward in any workplace, it is exceptionally helpful when working remotely. If you are communicating extensively through email, tone is hard to convey, so using an overtly positive attitude in your interactions with your coworkers and managers in other places can be incredibly helpful for continuing to build your reputation when you aren’t physically in the office. Even if email isn’t your main form of communication, a positive attitude will also help you motivate yourself through your tasks each day in remote work.
Doers, Not Just Talkers
There are fewer people to socialize with when you are working remotely, and this can sometimes take a toll. However, one way to combat the loss of socialization with your co-workers is to funnel that time into getting work done: you’ll be amazed at how productive you can be with fewer office-based distractions like chatting.
When you are working remotely, you may need to learn to expect the unexpected. Adaptable people tend to do better in remote work positions because they are able to look at the way a process is usually done and see how it can be minorly modified in order to fit the new distributed remote landscape of the business. If your attitudes about processes are too rigid, or you require approval from a manager for every small choice you make, you’ll probably need to work on developing your adaptability in a remote work scenario.
Remote work, more often than not, is still a privilege more than it is a right. Even though getting one’s work done is often only dependent on a reliable set of tools like computers and internet service, it is still tempting to do other things rather than work while working remotely due to the lack of physical oversight. Reliability should be the bedrock on which you build a remote work professional career, since any questions about your reliability can result in the removal of full-time or part-time remote working privileges.
Though organization is helpful in all kinds of office and work environments, creating an organized corner of your home office or co-working space is necessary to make remote work happen. You need to feel like you have all the tools you need and that finding and using them will not take extra time. If you have flexible hours, for instance, you’ll also want to be highly organized with how you track the projects you work on, how long you spend working each day, and other valuable metrics.
All too many workers require the motivation of a demanding boss or reminders from collaborating colleagues in order to move forward with their work at the appropriate pace. When working at home or in another remote location, to some extent you play both the role of the employee and the role of your own boss: your self-motivation is what determines your altitude once you are outside the boundaries of the office. Remember to create as many structures as you can to avoid burnout and promote self-motivation, since there may be less frequent outreach from others in your company while you are working offsite.
Excellent Time Managers
The value of an hour or a week is never clearer than when you are working remotely, and you want to make sure that your tams feels it gets the same or a better value out of the time you spend working remotely. Evaluate how long your tasks took when you worked in an office, if the transition to remote work is new, and evaluate how long they take now. Even if you’ve been remote for a long time, consider audits of your time management and see where there is wasted time or where processes are slower. Are there items that ought to be prioritized as “in-office-only” because they are more efficient there? Your excellent time management skills should be constantly honed and improved as a remote worker.