Nowadays, it’s common for companies to list “tech-savvy” on their open job descriptions. As remote work becomes the norm, employers will be looking for specific remote work skills – such as intentional communication – so their virtual teams can thrive.
Here at NoHQ, we believe remote work skills are vital to supercharge any career today. To help you level up your virtual game, we’ve hand-selected eight must-have skills, as well as pro tips for improving each of them.
What are remote work skills?
Remote work skills allow virtual employees to seamlessly get work done and collaborate with team members in other locations. These skills not only support key work, but also maximize productivity and task quality.
Why is it important to have remote work skills?
Remote skills are integral to any career, especially for knowledge workers. Besides helping you land a remote job, a virtual skillset is important because:
- Remote teaming is here to stay. Companies are starting to shift to a remote-first mindset. In fact, 74% of companies are transitioning at least some employees to remote work post-pandemic.
- Get core competencies to succeed. Virtual work is unique and requires skills you may need to brush up on.
- Supercharge your career opportunities. Your career path may be decided by your ability to achieve results and lead teams remotely.
- Remote work is for everybody, even those in the office. Virtual work is also becoming the norm for offices, as employees are increasingly getting work done in remote silos – even with co-workers nearby.
8 must-have remote work skills
A self-starter is somebody who’s able to get work done with little guidance or management. For remote work, it’s essential to work proactively and independently because there’s no boss looking over your shoulder.
Teams that are spread across time zones will also benefit from self-starters who don’t wait for a response 24 hours later, but instead get to work and find work-around solutions as needed.
To develop self-starter traits, you should reflect on when you felt stuck in a project or uncertain about next steps so you didn’t take any. What could you have done instead to keep the project moving?
2. Technical prowess
Technical prowess doesn’t mean you have experience with every tool out there. Instead, it’s the mindset of being able to learn new technologies quickly on your own.
As you can imagine, technical prowess is a key skill for collaborating and communicating remotely. Adapting to new technologies as they emerge in the workplace is vital.
Developing technical prowess is all about having a can-do attitude to explore new tools. You may also consider taking an online course to boost specific tech abilities.
3. Intentional communicator
Communication has always been important for office work. Now that the majority of collaboration happens through online messaging, written communication skills are especially important. In addition, companies typically document key processes in writing, so that all virtual employees can access one source of truth.
In fact, every remote worker should be a writer who is able to clearly communicate information and mindfully craft messages. You can improve your skills by writing every day, revising as often as possible and getting feedback from your peers.
4. Emotional intelligence
Remote workers working independently and managing their own projects must be mature. Emotional intelligence is all about being aware of your emotions and building interpersonal relationships with empathy.
Without emotional intelligence, it can be easy for remote work relationships to go haywire. Just look at Basecamp’s scandal revolving around inappropriate joking and lack of diversity sensitivity.
Learning to be aware of others’ feelings takes time, but it can help to reflect often and get feedback.
5. Time management
Remote workers also have to take control of their time. In the office, micro-management and check-ins are the norm. For virtual work, every employee has to find their own way of prioritizing tasks.
First, you can boost your time management skills through tools such as Toggl or Friday. At the same time, you can stay organized by having a routine for prioritizing daily work, such as choosing three tasks to complete at the start of each day.
6. Cross-cultural literacy
These days, it’s common to have co-workers across the world. For cross-border teams, it’s especially important to have cross-cultural literacy. Cross-cultural literacy is the ability to successfully collaborate with those from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds.
Remote workers with cross-cultural literacy will find common ground with others, be open to diverse viewpoints and listen to their co-workers. It’s also characterized by not making assumptions about other places and cultures. In turn, this skill can be useful for business planning, such as analyzing target markets for your next product.
As we’ve seen with the pandemic, staying adaptable at work is a must. Remote workers have to often pivot or shift their mindset. Adaptability means being able to change without push-back. It also involves problem-solving unexpected issues without panicking.
Remote companies are often new businesses who have to adjust quickly to problems. Change is constant in this scenario and virtual employees who are proactive and resourceful will wow their employers.
8. Work-life balance
Employee health should always be a top priority. For remote workers, it’s even more essential. Virtual teaming can be difficult, as the boundaries between your personal and professional lives can blur.
When hiring, companies are looking for employees with a strong sense of work-life balance, so that they stay healthy and productive. This includes the ability to set boundaries and avoid burnout from endless working hours.
Work-life balance is best learned by sticking to a routine and prioritizing your tasks so that you’re not tempted to work overtime all the time.
Tips for improving remote work skills
Boosting your remote work skills should be on the top of your list. While we’ve mentioned a few ways to improve each skill, here are some general guidelines for boosting them all:
- Prioritize the skills you want to improve.
- Cultivate a learning mindset.
- Be open to feedback.
- Get out of your comfort zone.
- Take time for regular self-reflection.
- Find a mentor or coach.
At the end of the day, remote work skills should be particular to each employee. Personalize your remote professional development according to your specific needs.
Boost your remote skills with NoHQ
Start upskilling your virtual work today. From this list of must-have remote work skills, identify the ones you want to improve and use our tips for developing them. In no time, you’ll be a remote-fluent worker!
As you boost your virtual skills, don’t forget about other areas of remote work. You can get even more remote-first resources on NoHQ’s blog.