Do you have what it takes to work from home? Working remotely requires a unique set of skills to achieve success, and not everyone is the best fit for this kind of job. The good news is, many of these skills can be gained through practice.
Whether you’re looking for a remote job and wondering what to emphasize on your resume, or you’ve already found a job and want to improve your abilities, read on for seven essential work from home job skills.
- Time Management
When you’re working from home as opposed to in the office, you’ll still be expected to meet deadlines and respond in a timely manner. The difference is you won’t have a manager or coworkers around to help keep you on track, so it’s up to you to create a schedule and stick to it.For some, being at home—and being surrounded by distractions—can make it a challenge to keep up with their work expectations. That’s why practicing great time management is key to success for any remote job.
Top tip: Research and practice time blocking techniques. For example, try batching your time into 25-minute increments, and work on only a single task during each increment.
Working from home means your success is highly dependent on you and your chosen working style. Organization must be a key piece of that working style. A big part of organization is, of course, time management. But more than managing your time, you also need to manage your tasks and priorities.One of the first things you should decide when starting a new job is how you’ll categorize tasks and how you’ll track progress. Leverage online project management tools, many of which are free, to help you do so.
Top tip: Spend five to ten minutes at the start of every workday updating your to-do list and selecting two to three highest-priority tasks to do first.
When working remotely, you won’t have the same visual and verbal cues you might get in the office. Plus, your manager won’t be able to actually see you working, so communicating your progress is really important. You’ll need to have excellent written and verbal communication skills, so you can share ideas, collaborate, and ask questions when you get stuck.
Top tip: On day one, come to an understanding with your manager and team on expectations around what kind of communication you’ll provide during your workday, and during which hours of the day. This will avoid misunderstandings later
- Computer Literacy
Regardless of what your remote job is, you should be well-versed in both software and hardware as you’ll be relying on technology throughout your workday.Working from home means setting up your own equipment and maintaining it, usually without the help of an IT person to handle any malfunctions. Keep any instruction manuals on hand to refer to when something goes wrong. You’ll also need to keep your own software regularly updated, so you should understand how the programs you’re using work and how to troubleshoot them.
Top tip: Familiarize yourself with popular office software, such as email platforms and remote learning tools, so you’ll be prepared for the tools used in your next job.
Working from home requires a lot of independence. It’s just you and your computer all day! There will be plenty of instances where you’ll have to find answers on your own, or learn independently through self-guided practice. If you’re a self-learner and a self-starter, you’ll likely thrive in a work from home environment.Self-reliance also means the ability to keep yourself on task, without depending on others to help you meet deadlines.
Top tip: Form habits now that foster your self-reliance. Start by testing time management techniques until you find the one that works best for you, then stick with it.
- Ability to Set Boundaries
You often hear the term work/life balance, but never is it more relevant than with a remote job. After all, how do you keep your work life separate from your home life when your home is your workspace?It’s important in a remote job that you’re able to set boundaries to help you stay focused. That means removing or staying away from any distractions, such as your phone, snacks, pets, or places where you may be tempted to nap. If you maintain these boundaries, you’re likely to achieve a much healthier work/life balance and be more productive overall.
Top tip: Set up your home office space away from distractions, ideally separate from your bed and kitchen, or areas in your house with a lot of activity.
Remote work requires an especially high level of self-motivation. There’s no one watching over you to make sure you’re being productive, and there are plenty of distractions at home to keep you from accomplishing your goals. Individuals who can overcome these challenges through internal motivation are much more likely to succeed in a work from home job.It’s also important when job seeking to look for remote positions that excite you. If you’re interested and engaged in the work you’re doing, you’re naturally more motivated to do it.
Top tip: Create your own motivations by rewarding yourself throughout the day for small and large achievements. An example of a reward could be a snack or a short break.