September 5, 2019
In previous posts, we’ve discussed the qualities and skills needed to manage a remote workforce (read here). Now, let’s take a closer look at the qualities of a good remote employee. Employees who work from home require a specific skill set and need to possess a particular work ethic and attitudes. You have to be able to trust them to deliver the desired results without the day-to-day oversight that an office worker receives.
The first step is to ensure your candidate has all the skills and abilities your specific position requires. However, this is only part of what you should look for. Here are some of the other qualities and characteristics you should look for in the next person you hire.
A remote worker needs to be a self-starter and keep moving forward without someone looking over their shoulder. They need to be judicious with their time and energy, and that can be difficult when working from home. That’s why strong self-discipline is so important. Even though they are working from the comfort of their own home, there needs to be clear distinction between working hours and time off the clock.
Along with good self-discipline, excellent time tracking and organizational abilities are a must. A remote employee’s day is almost entirely up to them. In order to make sure they get the most from it, they need to to keep to a regular rhythm, document all deadlines, keep detailed tasks lists and a constantly updated calendar. When the need to collaborate with others comes about, they must be able to rely on an accurate calendar.
As mentioned above, it’s important to have an accurate and updated schedule, especially when working remotely. However, it’s also important to be open to changes, based on the needs of the job. There will be impromptu conference calls, new high priority tasks and both slow and busy work times. A good remote worker knows how to prioritize and take advantage of slower times to stay on task.
A remote workforce gains flexibility to adapt their work schedule to their personal life, but with that comes a responsibility to be available and flexible to work outside of the typical schedule. A remote worker must be a master at moving around the chess board of life.
When an employee works from home, the majority of their communication is going to be in the form of email or other text platforms. That’s why the right remote worker should excel in all forms of communication. The opportunities to check in or clarify aren’t as prevalent as they are with in-office employees, so it’s crucial your remote workers know how to get their point across.
This is a non-negotiable and critical skill. A remote worker must be able comprehend and communicate with everyone on the team. They need to be clear and concise without leaving room for miscommunications is vital.
Remote employees should have a knack for independent troubleshooting. There will be daily hurdles to overcome and no one around to help with them. Of course, all remote workforces should have a community where they can interact with coworkers, but it should not be relied up for everyday issues. Critical thinking skills should be expected.
Personal issues can derail your work day as easily as increased workload. A good remote employee keeps from getting distracted as much as possible. When troubles arise they need to be able to research solutions and document them on their own. If the same problem arises again, documentation will be handy and should be shared with anyone on the team for whom it’d be relevant.
A remote worker cannot be someone who is constantly second guessing themselves. They need the ability to make thought out and informed decisions about their work without having to run things by a committee. They also need to be able to do this in a reasonable time period.
It’s imperative that their self-confidence is not misplaced as well. The decisions that they make need to be good ones. You should be able to rely on their abilities to do the right thing and get the job done. Everyone can make mistakes at some point but overall a remote workforce needs to be able to achieve on their own.
These are just a few of the great traits you’re looking for when hiring remote employees. For more information and to plan for future success, download or Organizational Effectiveness for 2030, or connect with us here at Aspirant.
Judy partners with executives and leadership teams to engage and inspire employees in a way that delivers sustainable strategic results. She brings deep expertise and creative ideas to solve organizational effectiveness issues and closely collaborates in a way that builds internal capabilities. Judy has spent over 25 years consulting in a variety of industries, bringing her expertise in behavior to a wide range of organizational issues including organizational behavior change, leadership, change management, culture and engagement.