There are many advantages to working from home. For example, you have more flexibility in choosing when and from where to do your work and you can cut down on commutes, which are often time-consuming and costly.
In fact, 80% to 90% of the U.S. workforce indicates that they want to work-from-home at least part-time. Meanwhile, new technologies are making it more cost-efficient for employers to benefit from using a distributed workforce.
However, not everyone is prepared to work remotely. If you want to land your dream job working from home, you need to hone in on some specific skills that employers look for in remote workers.
6 Key Skills You Need To Get Hired As a Remote Worker
Besides experience and skillset required for the specific role you’re applying for, what do employers look for in remote workers?
Here are the skills you need to successfully land a work-from-home position:
1. Strong Communication Skills
Miscommunication and lack of clarity often lead to delays, errors, and frustration. You need the ability to communicate with your team and/or customers effectively in both verbal and written forms using various tools such as voice and video calls, email, text, messaging apps, and more.
You should be familiar with the popular communication and collaboration platforms used by remote teams (e.g., Skype, Slack, Zoom) and demonstrate your ability to use them effectively. Also, when you communicate with a potential employer, make sure your messages are clear, concise, and correct.
2. Time Management and Organization Skills
The freedom to work from anywhere and flexible working hours also comes with the responsibility of keeping your work organized so you can stay on top of your assignments and keep your projects on track.
You should be comfortable with using project management and organization tools (e.g., Trello, Basecamp, Dropbox) to manage your workload and keep all the information and files coordinated with in-house team members.
Time-consciousness means more than how you manage your own time and extends to your interactions with others. Remote teams often work in different locations so you should pay attention to time zone differences. In addition, respect other’s time and be mindful about time limits in virtual meetings.
3. Independence and Self-Motivation
Employers expect remote workers to have the knowledge and experience to meet expectations with minimal handholding. You need to be resourceful, self-sufficient, and able to solve problems independently.
Since there’s no supervisor to keep tabs on you frequently, you need to stay focused and get your tasks completed on time. You should also be proactive and take initiatives to go above and beyond what’s required by the “job description” to add value and drive meaningful results.
4. Customer Service Skills
Many remote positions (e.g., customer support, sales) require the skills to manage and communicate with customers and prospects effectively over the phone, chat, and email. You should be able to interact with customers on a personal level and build rapport with them quickly while helping them resolve issues efficiently.
You should also understand how to improve customer satisfaction (CSAT) and how employers track CSAT score for individual team members so you can hone in on the specific skills and knowledge you need to excel in any customer-facing role.
Gaining specific or technical knowledge can also help you become a more valuable team member as more companies are using advanced routing rules to send callers to agents with the appropriate expertise.
5. Knowledge of the Industry and Willingness to Learn
You should have basic knowledge about the employer’s products, target audience, and market trends, as well as be willing to continue learning about the industry, the latest developments, and best practices.
In addition, you need the ability to quickly adapt to new methodologies and technologies that companies use to facilitate team collaboration so you can stay productive as a team player and engage with your colleagues to improve results cost-efficiently.
6. Cybersecurity Savviness and Reliable Equipment
Data security is a major issue for corporations due to the increasing cost of data breaches. Companies rely on every employee to take the necessary precautions to stay safe and endpoint security (e.g., on employees’ desktop computers and mobile devices) is of particular concern.
As such, employers tend to look for remote employees who can demonstrate that they have the knowledge and proper setup (e.g., network setting, equipment) to stay safe online.
Some of the key security measures you should have in place include a good VPN, a secure browser, an effective ad blocker, and a solid anti-virus solution. You should also demonstrate the willingness to adhere to your employer’s security protocols, participate in cybersecurity training, and work with the IT department to set up necessary access controls.
6. Collaboration Skills and Result-Driven Mindset
Working on your own doesn’t mean you’re not part of a larger team. Since you aren’t in the same physical location as your colleagues, it’s even more important that you have the right skills to work with your team effectively.
Many employers hire remote workers to access the best talent regardless of geographic location. Since you may be working with team members from all over the world, you need great communication skills and cross-cultural literacy to develop good working relationships and ensure seamless collaboration.
Also, without a supervisor looking over your shoulder, you’re responsible for the results you achieve. Instead of punching the clock, you need to understand your employer’s business objectives, adopt a result-driven mindset, think out of the box, and take initiatives to deliver the best outcome.
As more organizations are recognizing the benefits of using a distributed workforce and more job functions can be performed remotely thanks to new collaboration technologies, there are more opportunities for those who want to advance their careers as remote workers.
If you’re pursuing work-from-home opportunities, be sure to highlight the key remote-working skills employers look for in your resume and during interviews so you can demonstrate your ability to do your job effectively.