The COVID-19 pandemic changed trends in remote work, e-commerce, and automation. Consequently, up to 25 percent more workers had to switch occupations. It was the birth of a new generation of remote employees. Also, the pandemic forced companies to reinvent their workspace to accommodate remote employees.
Since it was a bumpy transition, many people thought remote work would only last a short period. So far, that hasn’t been the case, as many companies have adapted and reorganized the way they work. Many companies have seen benefits to remote work.
This includes less chaotic offices, less capital investment in office equipment, and so on. Remote employees like myself have also seen the benefits of working remotely. Considering the high unemployment rate in Nigeria, remote work was an escape from unemployment for me.
While in Nigeria, I work for African Vibes which has its office in California, USA. Without the concept of remote work, it would have been virtually impossible for me to travel to the United States to write for African Vibes.
Is remote the same as working from home?
As more of the world takes work online, the phrases ‘remote working’ and ‘work from home are becoming more popular in professional conversations.
You might be asking, what is the difference between working from home and working remotely? Is there a difference between the two? When someone says, “I am working from home,” what comes to your mind?
You probably picture someone in pajamas hunched over a computer, anywhere around the house, with a cup of coffee. We rarely picture chic home offices, multiple screen setups, and an ergonomic desk chair.
Working from home
As the name suggests, working from home is when you do the work you are supposed to be doing in the office at home. Employees working from home may be occasionally required to show up physically in the office. Those who work in an office may sometimes take permission from their superiors to work from home when they are sick or
When you decide to work from home, you might decide to bring your work laptop home and set it up on the kitchen table or at your desk. Overall, it represents a significant change from your normal routine and pace of work.
Working from home doesn’t have to be just for fully remote employees. It can be for regular staff. The biggest advantage of working from home is that you can work from your personal space and miss the office commute.
For remote employees with kids, working from home offers an excellent opportunity to look after their kids without compromising their work.
Remote working is when the employee has no physical access to the office. It requires a different set of skills, abilities, and resources. It also requires an insane level of time management skills.
Remote employees often have to provide all the tools they will need for the job by themselves. It also means working from anywhere other than the office, which can be your home, café, or coworking space.
Instead of coming to the office and interacting with team members face-to-face, remote workers use digital tools to handle tasks and communicate with the team. You can work remotely anywhere with a stable internet connection and a laptop.
Employees can be fully remote or partially remote. A fully remote employee doesn’t have to be in the office, but a partly remote employee might be required to be in the office at least a few times a month. Again, a partly remote employee is required to live close to the office.
The most significant advantage of remote work is that you can create your work environment according to your taste/style.
Skills to boost job success rate as a remote employee
There are a few soft skills that are crucial for every remote employee to have. Unlike in an office setting where your colleagues can be your source of motivation, a remote employee must look elsewhere for motivation.
The tips below have helped me to overcome some of the challenges that come with working remotely and also improved my job success rate.
Workplace adaptability has to do with adapting quickly to organizational changes. For a remote employee, this means adjusting to new workflows, instructions, personal changes, or other shifts in the process without losing productivity or motivation.
One of the best ways to build adaptability as a remote employee is to understand the working protocol of the organization you intend to work for or you are working for. Different organizations have different work requirements.
As a remote worker, you will likely be jumping from one organization to another. Understanding each organization will affect how fast you adapt to its systems. Adaptability also means you have to be a fast learner and ready to learn how to use different apps quickly.
2: Effective communication
Another essential skill I use to increase my job success rate as a remote employee is practicing effective communication with my co-workers. When working with people you don’t see at all (or don’t see often), you need to learn how to communicate clearly.
When you don’t understand a portion of a project assigned to you, reach out to a co-worker who was assigned a similar project to understand the requirement. If there is still confusion after your discussion with your coworker, ask your superior for further explanation.
Learn to utilize every communication channel available to you in the establishment to find answers to any difficulty you may encounter. Never base your judgment on assumptions. You may end up wasting your time only to have your work rejected.
Motivation as a remote employee has to do with having the drive to get things done. Unlike working in the office, there will be no boss breathing down your neck to get things done. Therefore, you have to look for ways to organize yourself to get the job done.
Firstly, it is important to only take up tasks around topics that interest you. It is easier to stay motivated when doing what you love. Also, thirty minutes of exercise before you jump into your daily task can help to boost your motivation for the day.
4: Time management
Another great strategy is to organize your personal tasks such as household to-dos so that they don’t encroach into your work tasks. Don’t let miscellaneous household tasks dictate your workday. You need to know that constant interruptions can impede your productivity.
With no physical boss monitoring you and asking for updates, you may be easily distracted and spend more time on a particular task than usual. Use time management tools like Rescue Time to keep you on track and help you meet your deadlines.
Also, always divide your tasks into ‘Urgent’ and ‘Important’. Start your day by tackling the urgent tasks first before moving to the important tasks. That way, you will never miss your deadlines.
Another vital skill that has proved invaluable to me is being creative when working. This involves completing daily tasks as a remote employee without needing assistance. This is important for remote teams — especially those distributed throughout the globe that isn’t in the same time zone.
To build your creativity as a remote employee you have to learn how to do research and take relevant courses. Look for answers to any questions you have in internal documents or training materials. Employers always love employees that use initiative to solve problems.
Being creative requires practice. Like any muscle, you need to train your mind to ask the right questions and explore options whenever you confront a problem. Creativity is a skill that can be built with research. The more you know, the more creative you will become.
6: Take breaks
Taking a break intermittently during work is vital. I’m sure you wouldn’t want to get overwhelmed with the daily tasks that you forget to take launch or stretch your body in-between tasks. Taking breaks is good for health reasons too.
Sitting still in a position for too long can lead to heart problems. One thing you can do is to set the alarm to remind you to take occasional breaks. This will help you feel refreshed to be efficient and effective.
7: Create a dedicated workspace
Setting up a dedicated workspace for your work will help eliminate distractions. Find a space or room not used for anything else and turn it into a workspace. When your office is in your home, you also have the freedom to switch it up occasionally and finetune it to your taste.
Interestingly, a dedicated workspace doesn’t have to be an entirely different room in your home. It can simply be a corner with your table and desktop or laptop and a few other accessories that you need for your work.
8: Build a network beyond your remote workspace
Just because you are not physically working with people doesn’t mean you should ignore building your network. Get outside of your home office once a week — whether it’s a client lunch or an industry conference. Be intentional about meeting new people.
Building a social network gives more opportunities for learning and development. Once I had a challenge with a task I had taken up but found the answer while I was hanging out with a friend. Answers to problems are around you. Get out and find them.
9: Be collaborative
Being able to work together as a team is something that cannot be taught very easily to a remote worker. Be ready to share ideas with your co-workers if you have a joint task. Being able to collaborate with your colleague will always help boost your job success rate as a remote employee.
Remote work is attractive for employees and managers alike. Despite how attractive and flexible it is, there are days when you might be unable to stick to your schedule. That’s understandable. However, such days should be an exception rather than the norm.
Let’s face it, remote work is risky because employers find it easier to lay off remote employees than those physically present. However, by maintaining a high job success score and proving yourself a professional, you can make it harder for your employee to think about laying you off.
Do you have any other ways through which you increase your job success score? Please let us know in the comment box below.
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