21ST CENTURY JOB SKILLS BLOG


Skills you need to work from home | 21st Century Job Skills


Dec 28, 2020






The top 4 must-have skills you need to work from home

 

Future-proof your career by skilling up for the new remote workplace

 

COVID changed everything.

 

And one of the greatest changes has been in the way we work. Businesses were forced to adapt- and quickly. Before we knew it, a global remote workforce was born.

 

Some employees were already working flexibly, but for others it was their first real taste of working from home. And now they don’t want to go back to the way it was any time soon.

 

One of the largest post-COVID surveys on workplace trends (Isometric’s/Global Workplace Analytics’ Global Work-from-Home Experience Survey, June 2020 ) found that 76% of global office workers (82% of US office workers) say they want to continue working from home after the pandemic.

 

And they predict that by the end of 2021, 25-30% of the workforce will be working from home multiple days a week.

 

So what skills do you need to keep working from home on a more permanent basis?   

 

Master these top 4 skills: time management, virtual communication, collaboration and adaptability, and you’ll be in a stronger position to negotiate your dream job. 

 

  1. Time management

 

Managing time is your #1 challenge.

 

When you’re working with your boss in the next room and surrounded by other employees, it’s not hard to stay on task. But when you’re working from home on the dining table with noise and other distractions, it can be a juggle to find the right balance between work and home life. 

 

If you’re not highly disciplined and can’t manage your time well, you’re simply not going to be as productive at home as in the office.

 

To master remote work, you’ll need to be self-motivated, stay focussed, use your own judgement and get highly disciplined with your time.

 

Time management hacks for remote work:

 

  • Set goals: at the beginning of the week get clear about what you need to achieve. But keep it simple- writing a long to-do list can be overwhelming. Be sure to limit it to three main goals per week and break this down into three main goals per day. That way if you complete more it’s a bonus.

 

  • Chunk out your time: work out the smaller steps you need to take to achieve your main goals. Then organise each working day by ‘chunking’ these tasks into 1- 2 hour blocks and scheduling these into your calendar. But make sure you’re realistic about what you can get done.

 

  • Use a time tracker: an easy way of staying on track with micro tasks is by using free time tracking software such as Toggl or Timeneye. You might be surprised to see how you’re really using your time and can make adjustments. You can even create a report if you ever need to show a breakdown of your working hours.

 

  1. Virtual Communication

 

One of your greatest remote working challenges will be around virtual communication skills. How you communicate with customers and colleagues will be the most obvious change when working from home, and will also be one of the most important factors in your success or failure.

 

Without the face-to-face meetings, the casual brainstorming in the tearoom or the ability to walk straight into your manager’s office to ask for help, you’ll need to become a master of communication skills.

 

The hard truth is- if your virtual communication isn’t crystal clear, engaging, appropriate and timely, you’re going to face challenges in getting others to collaborate with you effectively. 

 

Tips to improve your virtual communication:

 

  • Pay attention to your voice: people will engage with you and focus on what you’re saying (or not), depending on your vocal cues in virtual meetings. Be sure to change your tonality, add more energy, and change pace from time to time.

 

  • Don’t complicate it: being clear is even more crucial in a virtual setting, where it’s easy for others to zone out. State your points in a direct way that is easy to grasp.

 

  • Increase your engagement: before getting down to business on a Zoom call, take a little time to ease people in. Engage with them by asking a couple of non-work related questions to encourage a more natural, free-flowing conversation.

 

  • Be mindful of communication turn-offs: A harsh or sarcastic remark, interrupting others or appearing distracted while someone is speaking will break down the communication and make it ineffective.

 

  1. Collaboration

 

With the unprecedented global surge in remote working and with the trend set to continue, it’s essential your collaboration skills aren’t letting you down.

 

Hand in hand with strong communication skills, businesses rely on their employees collaborating in the same way as the face-to-face workplace.

 

You’ll need to quickly grasp the best way to manage collaborations, adjust your communication style and embrace the increased use of technology- or be prepared for a fast upskill. 

 

Tackling remote collaborations:

 

  • Video conferencing: meeting online is now the new normal. During 2020 and onwards, videoconferencing tools such as Zoom skyrocketed in use (up to 30 times more users) and have become a standard for remote work. Your ability to communicate effectively through video as well as in the chat box is vital when it comes to effective remote collaborations. You’ll also need to learn to set up meetings, lead meetings or troubleshoot tech issues as they arise. They key is to always have a Plan B!

 

  • Collaboration platforms: all workplaces have their own internal communication systems, but you may find these won’t work in the same way outside the office unless you’re using something like Microsoft Teams or Slack. You may need to quickly adapt to using a new platform such as file sharing and storage platforms Google Drive or Dropbox. You’ll need to be clear how you’re expected to use them offsite, how to use them properly, be aware of any privacy issues and how to best collaborate as a team.

 

  • Communicate like a boss: as we saw above, you’ll stand out from the crowd if you have mastered the ability to communicate effectively. One of the most frustrating things about collaborating is when individuals don’t pull their weight. Make sure you’re not one of them! Always respond to meeting invites and if you can’t make the meeting, be sure to catch up on what was covered. Ensure you read and respond to all emails from your team leader and never miss a deadline. To really shine, bring new ideas to the team to help your project succeed.

 

  • Be open to different working styles: work habits vary from one person to another. These differences can cause friction and misunderstandings, leading to tension and mistrust. No collaboration effort will succeed unless all members involved are open minded, flexible and adaptable to different styles.

 

  1. Adaptability

 

Even if you have all the right time management, communication and collaboration skills to work remotely, you’ll still need another very special skill to bring it all together- the ability to be adaptable.

 

Adaptability is going to be one of the top skills in demand in 2021 onwards as the workplaces gears up for rapid and continuous change. This is one of the softer skills that can be harder to learn. But when you’re working by yourself with a number of changes happening at the same time, you’ll need to find ways of being adaptable if you want to thrive as a remote worker.

 

Tips to improve your adaptability:

 

  • Change your mindset: expect and accept in advance that things can and will change. Be prepared to learn new ways of doing things, to use new tools, or to work with people you’ve never met in person. And be prepared for unexpected challenges. Treat every new situation as a problem-solving exercise and keep emotions to one side.

 

  • Keep your emotions in check: the most challenging obstacle to adaptability is your emotions. Left unchecked, your emotions are going to stand between you and seeing the real potential of the changes you are experiencing. Negative emotional reactions will dampen your motivation. As you won’t be constantly supervised, you’ll need to adjust to working from home, to taking the initiative and being proactive in the way you work. Showing that you can be independent and productive is a highly valued skill and will demonstrate your motivation.

 

  • Cultivate resilience: just as you need endurance to do work you find difficult or unpleasant, you also need to cultivate a healthy degree of resilience to help you keep going even when you’re feeling down, lonely or unmotivated. When issues arise, accept them as challenges. Focus on the bigger picture, stay calm, create a plan and avoid procrastination. Resilience is about keeping moving despite the challenges and it’s a vital skill in the remote working environment.

 

Conclusion:

 

In this article we’ve looked at the top 4 skills you need to make your dream of working from home a permanent reality:

 

  • Managing your time and getting organised to get more done
  • Communicating effectively to help your career thrive
  • Collaborating to become a powerful team player
  • How being adaptable can help you sustain remote work

 

Of course, there are other work-from-home skills you can cultivate which are specific to your job role. But if you focus on developing these core soft skills, you’ll be ahead of the pack and in a stronger place to negotiate working from home on a more ongoing basis.

 

We’d love to know- which tips are you going to try out?

The top 4 must-have skills you need to work from home

 

Future-proof your career by skilling up for the new remote workplace

 

COVID changed everything.

 

And one of the greatest changes has been in the way we work. Businesses were forced to adapt- and quickly. Before we knew it, a global remote workforce was born.

 

Some employees were already working flexibly, but for others it was their first real taste of working from home. And now they don’t want to go back to the way it was any time soon.

 

One of the largest post-COVID surveys on workplace trends (Isometric’s/Global Workplace Analytics’ Global Work-from-Home Experience Survey, June 2020 ) found that 76% of global office workers (82% of US office workers) say they want to continue working from home after the pandemic.

 

And they predict that by the end of 2021, 25-30% of the workforce will be working from home multiple days a week.

 

So what skills do you need to keep working from home on a more permanent basis?   

 

Master these top 4 skills: time management, virtual communication, collaboration and adaptability, and you’ll be in a stronger position to negotiate your dream job. 

 

  1. Time management

 

Managing time is your #1 challenge.

 

When you’re working with your boss in the next room and surrounded by other employees, it’s not hard to stay on task. But when you’re working from home on the dining table with noise and other distractions, it can be a juggle to find the right balance between work and home life. 

 

If you’re not highly disciplined and can’t manage your time well, you’re simply not going to be as productive at home as in the office.

 

To master remote work, you’ll need to be self-motivated, stay focussed, use your own judgement and get highly disciplined with your time.

 

Time management hacks for remote work:

 

  • Set goals: at the beginning of the week get clear about what you need to achieve. But keep it simple- writing a long to-do list can be overwhelming. Be sure to limit it to three main goals per week and break this down into three main goals per day. That way if you complete more it’s a bonus.

 

  • Chunk out your time: work out the smaller steps you need to take to achieve your main goals. Then organise each working day by ‘chunking’ these tasks into 1- 2 hour blocks and scheduling these into your calendar. But make sure you’re realistic about what you can get done.

 

  • Use a time tracker: an easy way of staying on track with micro tasks is by using free time tracking software such as Toggl or Timeneye. You might be surprised to see how you’re really using your time and can make adjustments. You can even create a report if you ever need to show a breakdown of your working hours.

 

  1. Virtual Communication

 

One of your greatest remote working challenges will be around virtual communication skills. How you communicate with customers and colleagues will be the most obvious change when working from home, and will also be one of the most important factors in your success or failure.

 

Without the face-to-face meetings, the casual brainstorming in the tearoom or the ability to walk straight into your manager’s office to ask for help, you’ll need to become a master of communication skills.

 

The hard truth is- if your virtual communication isn’t crystal clear, engaging, appropriate and timely, you’re going to face challenges in getting others to collaborate with you effectively. 

 

Tips to improve your virtual communication:

 

  • Pay attention to your voice: people will engage with you and focus on what you’re saying (or not), depending on your vocal cues in virtual meetings. Be sure to change your tonality, add more energy, and change pace from time to time.

 

  • Don’t complicate it: being clear is even more crucial in a virtual setting, where it’s easy for others to zone out. State your points in a direct way that is easy to grasp.

 

  • Increase your engagement: before getting down to business on a Zoom call, take a little time to ease people in. Engage with them by asking a couple of non-work related questions to encourage a more natural, free-flowing conversation.

 

  • Be mindful of communication turn-offs: A harsh or sarcastic remark, interrupting others or appearing distracted while someone is speaking will break down the communication and make it ineffective.

 

  1. Collaboration

 

With the unprecedented global surge in remote working and with the trend set to continue, it’s essential your collaboration skills aren’t letting you down.

 

Hand in hand with strong communication skills, businesses rely on their employees collaborating in the same way as the face-to-face workplace.

 

You’ll need to quickly grasp the best way to manage collaborations, adjust your communication style and embrace the increased use of technology- or be prepared for a fast upskill. 

 

Tackling remote collaborations:

 

  • Video conferencing: meeting online is now the new normal. During 2020 and onwards, videoconferencing tools such as Zoom skyrocketed in use (up to 30 times more users) and have become a standard for remote work. Your ability to communicate effectively through video as well as in the chat box is vital when it comes to effective remote collaborations. You’ll also need to learn to set up meetings, lead meetings or troubleshoot tech issues as they arise. They key is to always have a Plan B!

 

  • Collaboration platforms: all workplaces have their own internal communication systems, but you may find these won’t work in the same way outside the office unless you’re using something like Microsoft Teams or Slack. You may need to quickly adapt to using a new platform such as file sharing and storage platforms Google Drive or Dropbox. You’ll need to be clear how you’re expected to use them offsite, how to use them properly, be aware of any privacy issues and how to best collaborate as a team.

 

  • Communicate like a boss: as we saw above, you’ll stand out from the crowd if you have mastered the ability to communicate effectively. One of the most frustrating things about collaborating is when individuals don’t pull their weight. Make sure you’re not one of them! Always respond to meeting invites and if you can’t make the meeting, be sure to catch up on what was covered. Ensure you read and respond to all emails from your team leader and never miss a deadline. To really shine, bring new ideas to the team to help your project succeed.

 

  • Be open to different working styles: work habits vary from one person to another. These differences can cause friction and misunderstandings, leading to tension and mistrust. No collaboration effort will succeed unless all members involved are open minded, flexible and adaptable to different styles.

 

  1. Adaptability

 

Even if you have all the right time management, communication and collaboration skills to work remotely, you’ll still need another very special skill to bring it all together- the ability to be adaptable.

 

Adaptability is going to be one of the top skills in demand in 2021 onwards as the workplaces gears up for rapid and continuous change. This is one of the softer skills that can be harder to learn. But when you’re working by yourself with a number of changes happening at the same time, you’ll need to find ways of being adaptable if you want to thrive as a remote worker.

 

Tips to improve your adaptability:

 

  • Change your mindset: expect and accept in advance that things can and will change. Be prepared to learn new ways of doing things, to use new tools, or to work with people you’ve never met in person. And be prepared for unexpected challenges. Treat every new situation as a problem-solving exercise and keep emotions to one side.

 

  • Keep your emotions in check: the most challenging obstacle to adaptability is your emotions. Left unchecked, your emotions are going to stand between you and seeing the real potential of the changes you are experiencing. Negative emotional reactions will dampen your motivation. As you won’t be constantly supervised, you’ll need to adjust to working from home, to taking the initiative and being proactive in the way you work. Showing that you can be independent and productive is a highly valued skill and will demonstrate your motivation.

 

  • Cultivate resilience: just as you need endurance to do work you find difficult or unpleasant, you also need to cultivate a healthy degree of resilience to help you keep going even when you’re feeling down, lonely or unmotivated. When issues arise, accept them as challenges. Focus on the bigger picture, stay calm, create a plan and avoid procrastination. Resilience is about keeping moving despite the challenges and it’s a vital skill in the remote working environment.

 

Conclusion:

 

In this article we’ve looked at the top 4 skills you need to make your dream of working from home a permanent reality:

 

  • Managing your time and getting organised to get more done
  • Communicating effectively to help your career thrive
  • Collaborating to become a powerful team player
  • How being adaptable can help you sustain remote work

 

Of course, there are other work-from-home skills you can cultivate which are specific to your job role. But if you focus on developing these core soft skills, you’ll be ahead of the pack and in a stronger place to negotiate working from home on a more ongoing basis.

 

We’d love to know- which tips are you going to try out?



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