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Skills Needed for Successful While Working Remotely

The COVID-19 pandemic forces many people worldwide to work remotely, which was a bit of a luxury in that many others lost their jobs outright as businesses like restaurants, dependent on in-person customers and staff, were forced to close. More than a year later, businesses are opening back up, and employees return to their job sites. However, some choose to continue working remotely for safety concerns or simply because they prefer working remotely now. The problem is, many employees struggle with working from home, whether due to a lack of sufficient resources or due to missing the networking and collaboration they receive at their work sites. With this in mind, several skills are needed for those seeking to work remotely if you want to be successful with your remote work.

Technology Knowhow. Working remotely is highly dependent on a solid, dependable Internet connection, a computer loaded with essential and updated software, and in many cases, a webcam to engage with clients and colleagues in business meetings. That said, having the right technology and high-speed Internet access are absolutely a necessity. Employees need to know how to work with software programs such as Zoom, Collaborate Ultra, Microsoft Teams, Skype, or Google Voice, and the like. Using this technology includes managing the camera and microphone options and utilizing the messaging/chat features these programs often come with. In keeping with the technology, it is important to use Zoom or similar programs in an organized and professional-looking space; you certainly do not want a messy living room or home office to show up behind you when in a virtual meeting. Fortunately, some programs will create a background for you that masks whatever shows up on the screen behind you. On top of all of this, you need to learn to diagnose technological issues that come up and address them quickly. Many connection issues routinely happen and are relatively easy for non-computer specialists to manage. A lot of free courses are available online to help with this, along with countless YouTube videos.

Great organization and planning skills. When working remotely, it can be easy to become distracted by things happening in your home, between pets knocking over plants, children running around in the background, or your favorite movie playing on television. You have to be able to focus on your job responsibilities. In this regard, employees who work remotely need to maintain a solid schedule that accounts for meetings and working time. Having a week planned out in advance is an essential first step to organizing and planning for the week. There will always be surprises that come up, but those who are organized and plan ahead usually are better able to manage a surprise or crisis that shows up out of nowhere.

Adaptability. What if your Internet goes offline? What if your computer crashes? These concerns are important to prepare for. Access to other technical outlets is something to consider. Worst case scenario, you should have a plan for getting to the office to access the Internet or your office computer so you can get work done. Accept the fact that your ability to work remotely will be impacted at some point. Have backup plans in place beforehand.

Meet regularly with supervisors and colleagues. Employees must maintain contact with supervisors and fellow staff members to ensure projects remain on target and within budget. For those who thrive on contact with colleagues, weekly virtual meetings are crucial to maintaining personal health and well-being, in addition to reducing stress. Make such meetings a weekly or bi-weekly routine to make sure you are successful in your remote work.

Maintain boundaries. Everyone needs downtime. Without lunch breaks and vacation time, stress builds quickly, leading to job burnout and potential health issues. Organize your week to include clearly defined work times so that you do not overwork. It is often difficult to do this as someone working remotely may feel they are not giving work 100% of their attention. When working remotely, remember that time outside of work is vital to our well-being. Work has its place, as does our private time.

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