You may be a remote employee, or perhaps you're someone who is looking to hire people to work offsite. Either way, it can be a great idea to review the traits that ensure success among remote staff members.
Here's why it's important: Some 54 percent of office staffers would leave their positions if they could find a job that provides flexible work times, according to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report. In addition, the report says engagement and productivity rise when staffers can work remotely at least part of the time.
Although almost anyone can do well working offsite, these characteristics are generally helpful for those who thrive while working remotely.
Remote staff members should be comfortable working independently without a lot of motivation from others. They’ll have to commit to starting work at the right time each day, getting tasks accomplished and ensuring that they can juggle the multiple deadlines inherent to today’s workplace without someone frequently stopping by the desk and asking how things are going.
In addition, remote staffers should be able to set up meetings with people, reach out across the staff list with questions and even manage others from their remote locations. This requires a fair amount of self-discipline because the remote employee will need to take advantage of all the company resources available to them.
Just like when employees work onsite, you expect responsiveness and punctuality from your remote staff members. Because remote employees aren’t in contact with others as often as onsite staffers are, colleagues aren’t able to check over the cubicle wall and see what they’re working on. Without the ability to run into each other at the coffee machine and say “Hey, how’s that file coming?” you may be left wondering what remote workers are up to.
That’s why it’s great to find remote staff members who are responsive and punctual, and who often provide updates on their projects.
Remote staff members have to stay on top of their tasks without the benefit of onsite team meetings and shared whiteboards, so strong organizational skills are imperative. This usually means keeping a calendar where both the employee and their colleagues can enter appointments and meetings.
The remote worker’s organizational skills also span beyond time-management and into maintaining an organizational system for documents and files, both digital and hard copy. The remote employee should also have a designated workspace that allows them to focus and stay organized in a structured way.
Employees who don’t work onsite may not have access to the tools available in an office. This can even mean that they aren’t privy to the communication that goes on in the actual building. Remote staffers need to be resourceful in getting information and finding the tools they need even though they aren’t in the office.
If a problem arises, the staff member should be able to troubleshoot it while thinking quickly and critically. They should have the means and tools to find every resource available to solve problems or to bring in other stakeholders who can help.
5. Technically Savvy
Remote staff members will have to take advantage of the myriad technological tools available to them if they want to stay connected to the onsite employees, as well as to other remote workers. Optimizing use of Google Drive, analytics software, Slack and other tools will ensure that everyone remains on the same page throughout the workday.
The remote employee should also be vocal about requesting any tech tools that would help them do their jobs better, which goes back to being resourceful and self-disciplined.
By optimizing these important skills, the remote relationship can work smoothly and lead to high productivity and engagement for both the employee and the company.