Fall is here and in full swing and summer is now merely a memory. Many parents have sent their kids off to school with the promise of safety and well being. Other parents and guardians have to ensure the education of their children virtually due to this pandemic. There’s a lot right now on the minds and hearts of many. Many professionals now have to resort to working remotely. However, working from home isn’t for the faint of heart. It can be downright tough. So here are 5 skills that you need to build up or have in order to work remotely with success.
I know the challenges of working remotely. I’ve been there, and have worked from home for over 7 years. It is crucial to ensure that you schedule your day and stick to it. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself working 24 hours a day. And although your employer might appreciate that, your spirit will not eventually. So let’s start by ensuring that your daily schedule represents what you want to spend your day on. Make sure that you schedule the most important item that you need to complete, even if it seems overbearing. I typically like to ensure that the important things are taken care of first. Making sure that you provide a schedule for when you will go online and when you will be done for your day is a key skill to make sure that you will be successful working from home. So the key skill here is scheduling and discipline around your schedule. Schedule smart.
Another skill you should have is ensuring you know how to develop healthy habits. This is not just about getting exercise throughout your day, although is this important. This is about making sure that you have a healthy mind, a healthy body, and a healthy spirit when working from home. Your well being is important. And many times, when you work from home, you don’t have the people that you normally have talking to you about health and well being throughout the day. So you need to be accountable for yourself and develop the skill to form healthy habits while working at home. This means, you take proper breaks, get exercise during your day, drink water, and give your brain a break once and a while. All of these things you know, but now you have to have to do it for yourself.
Even though you now work from home, you still need to have the skill of networking with other people. Just because you were at home doesn’t mean that you stop making connections! There are many ways to make connections online. You can participate in online or digital events, you can share information on LinkedIn. You can also make connections with other suppliers and vendors. Facebook groups are very good for networking too. Always have your networking antennas up, have your e-business card information readily available, and have your information updated so that you can easily share it. You never know who you will run into online.
If you are an event planner, most likely you are pretty detailed and organized to an extent. However, when you are working from home you need to make sure that you have some sort of organization for your home office. Whether you are working at the kitchen table, on the living room sofa, or you have a dedicated office space, you need to make sure that there is some order about your space. Make sure that you set an organization system for your files, your printing, your supplies, books, notebooks, journals, or anything else you need in order to work. Having an organized space whether it’s in a brick and mortar or at the home office is super important.
When you were working remotely, gone are the days that you can get in touch with your IT provider to help you right away. Many times you have to submit a ticket for support, and that support doesn’t happen right away or happens at an inconvenient time. So knowing how to triage your technical difficulties is super important. Simple things to try like turning off your computer and restarting it or knowing how to clear your browser cache. Knowing where your resources are for the technology that you’re working with can be helpful at times. Also, simply knowing you to do good internet searches to find the information you need to help yourself through technological challenges can save you valuable time.
While you’re at home you’ll have the opportunity to work a lot on your own. So you should be a self-starter. However, there are going to be times where you are called to collaborate with others, especially if you are a manager or leader in your organization. So knowing how to cultivate relationships while you are remotely is very important. This doesn’t mean that you have to talk to people every day, but it does mean that you need to show up and be visible. Make sure that you’re attending the meetings that you need to attend. Make sure that you’re communicating, participating, utilizing the digital resources to engage with others. Also, it’s important to get up to speed on certain tools that are used to collaborate, like Microsoft Slack, Microsoft OneNote, or Google Docs. All of these different tools are encourage collaboration and unique collaboration spaces that foster creativity.
Self-Starter and Motivator
I remember when I was working at a brick and mortar location. My teammates always tapped my shoulder because I was zoned out in my work to ask me if I wanted to go to lunch. Then in the afternoon, those same teammates encouraged me to take a walk. Or perhaps, we would spend a good 30 minutes the next morning talking about our weekends. When you’re working from home it’s hard to get that engagement from others. You aren’t able to see when your coworker is about to take their lunch, or even go for that afternoon walk. So a unique still to have to work remotely is being a self-starter. Now if you can’t do it on your own, or you run into difficulties, then create a team of support and accountability. This may mean that you have a virtual co-working lunch session or take a call with your coworker while going on a walk. Maybe instead of your co-workers, you engage your neighbors that are also working at home and keep them company on your breaks. Find unique ways to keep you engaged while working from home.
When you were working virtually you need to be very crystal clear about your communication. Yes, and every job no matter where you’re located you need to know how to send an email, send out invitations and make sure that your professional about the things that you are writing. However, it is different when you are online and working remotely. When you join meetings with people at times, people cannot see your facial expressions. Experts suggest that 70 to 93 percent of communication is nonverbal so people typically aren’t seeing when you are shaking your head, we’re rolling your eyes behind the computer. So making sure that you communicate professionally how you feel about a comment or a meeting or a task is very important so that people know how best to collaborate with you and so that you show your unique perspective.
These are the skills that I have learned that are extremely valuable when you are working remotely. If you are considering working remotely, or you have newly come dig into the virtual workforce, take note of the skills and try to make them stronger for yourself. If I were to pick two of my favorites on this list that would be scheduling smart and collaboration.
I hope that you were able to get at least one good piece of information out of this post that you can apply to your life. If you have any tips for working remotely, please let’s keep the conversation going by posting in the comments below.
P.S. Looking for some more tips on working virtually? Check out my podcast episode here for my top 10 tips.