We recently wrote about job opportunities for folks that wish to work from home on a part time or full time basis. Now we’d like to focus on the types of skills important in being successful when you work remotely. There are a number of different challenges that remote workers face that are very different from going to an office every day. It requires a unique skill set in order to be successful. If you are considering working remotely, there are a few things you should consider.
Independence When You Work Remotely
Working independently requires a considerable amount of self-discipline and motivation. You won’t have a boss directing your daily activities if you work remotely. You will be responsible for managing your schedule, determining your daily activities, setting your goals and keeping yourself on track. There are so many opportunities to become distracted by personal obligations and family. You have to set some boundaries to ensure other family members understand that you have a work schedule you must adhere to and specific work responsibilities you need to perform to the best of your abilities.
Structure and Space
Set schedules are important similar to when you are going to an office. You set your working hours, stick to them and schedule breaks as well. There should be a designated space for your work as well to support an optimal level of productivity. You must ensure you have reliability equipment and internet access.
So much of communication is body language. Working at a home office, you don’t have the luxury of those face to face interactions. That being said, your communication skills must be very clear because you lose the ability to gage facial expressions and body language in general. You need to become more aware of tone of voice, pitch and listen carefully to your audience when having phone interactions. In addition, you should embrace Skype for those important discussions.
It can get lonely working from home. You may feel less engaged with your team and believe you are on an island by yourself. It does take getting used to for many folks. That’s why it’s essential to build your own social network of family and friends that you can help you feel a sense of belonging that you may be missing working from home. Perhaps finding opportunities that have you working from home part time and in the office the rest of the time helps some people strike a balance where they still have that sense of comradery. Joining groups that have a similar type work arrangement can be a big help.
Ask some objective colleagues if they think you are suitable for a flexible work arrangement in which you work remotely. Take some time to carefully assess yourself as well to determine if you would be a good fit for such an arrangement. Do you have the self-discipline? Can you overcome the various distractions that negatively affect your productivity? Will you enjoy working independently? These are some of the questions you should ask if you plan to seek flexible work arrangement.