7 Qualities of the Successful Remote Worker
Remote work is not for everyone. Our previous experiences, our values, our temperament and personality, what we expect from life and from a job – we must take into account all these when choosing a remote position or when hiring a new colleague for a remote position. And you will know immediately when you’ve made the wrong choice.
I’ve always wanted a job that could offer me the flexibility to work from either my home or the office. There are days when I need my space, a quiet corner where to concentrate. There are days when I’m not the most sociable person in the world, when I can work efficiently on my tasks only if I’m curled up on my couch with a blanket wrapped around me.
There are also days when I miss socializing, the ritual of getting ready for work or simply collaborative work, getting all my team mates around a big table and tossing out ideas for our new project.
I don’t know how many people like working remotely but what I do know is that remote work is not for everybody.
Here is a list of qualities that I noticed lately at the people who are successfully working remote. Do you find you have any of them? Do any of your colleagues have them?
If you answered „no” to those questions that might explain why you are finding it so difficult collaborating with each other. None of you is to blame for the fact that your work styles don’t match. It may be the context that has changed (before, you had to work from the office, now you have to work remotely). Or it may be that these qualities have not been taken into account when your new colleague was recruited for the new remote position.
- Autonomy and responsibility
In the old days, people used to learn by looking at other people while they worked (for example, during the apprenticeship period). When working remotely, this is a bit more difficult to implement.
You have to trust your own vision without constantly asking for validation and answers to your questions – however legitimate they might be; you have to be able to independently fulfil your tasks based on the information you have despite sometimes not having all the details that you might need. There are circumstances when no one can show you how things are done so you must be willing and able to take on the possibility of getting it wrong.
Most living creatures use curiosity in their fight for survival, but it is only us, humans, that have curiosity at the basis of all our connections and interactions.
Human curiosity is basically manifested in three main directions:
- Curiosity towards the self: we investigate our mental states and the gestures we perform in certain circumstances, self-knowledge;
- Curiosity regarding the personality and goals of others: we seek to understand other people’s reactions, the way we relate to each other;
- Curiosity towards the reality – we ask ourselves questions regarding certain situations: „why”, „with what purpose”, „what is the reason”, „how can I do that”?
The level curiosity that someone manifests is directly related to their desire to learn and to constantly develop their potential, and this is the basis of the remote style of working. You cannot work remotely if you are not curious to discover new things, if you are not proactive, if you cannot propose solutions based on your experience and the knowledge you have accumulated. You cannot work remotely if you are always waiting for answers from other people.
For all activity, one needs focus. When it comes to working remotely one needs even more focus. You have to be able to withstand distraction and focus on the tasks at hand, regardless of whether you are home alone, in a busy cafe or at the office.
- Initiative and self-motivation
We all have those days when it’s difficult to get out of the bed in the morning or when we simply don’t feel like working or don’t like the task for that day. When working remotely, if you don’t choose to work in alternative spaces, you have to be comfortable with the idea that each day can feel like the Groundhog Day: the same home, the same desk, the same tasks. How do you whip up your enthusiasm? How to deal with roadblocks? What motivates you? If you need your direct manager to constantly remind you what you have to do, then maybe a remote job is not the best option for you.
- Flexibility for change and an open mind for new experiences
Just the other day I was talking to one of my colleagues about how important it is to be able to escape a rigid mindset and choose growth instead. The first step towards a growth mindset is to open oneself to new experiences and to understand that change is in the nature of all things.
We, as individuals are constantly changing (today we might like one thing, next year we might be attracted to something else); seasons change, like everything on this planet. Therefore, if one small detail in a project changes from one day to another, why should you get angry or frustrated about that?
The way you organize your time, plan your tasks or even group files in a folder – it all adds up when it comes to fulfilling the proposed objectives. Why do some people manage to meet their goals while other don’t get much work done during the same period of time? Besides focus – mentioned above at point 3, you need organization and prioritization.
New research in the neuroscience field shows that approximately 98% of people have empathic abilities but most individuals don’t know how to use this potential.
There are very few people willing to invest in empathy because they cannot see immediate, tangible results. That is a pity because, I really think that in the future, when most of the tasks in a workplace will be automated, empathy will become one of the most sought after abilities since it will be one of the key elements to make the difference between a person and a robot.
Here are three tips that can help you improve your empathic capabilities:
- Acquire a habit of listening carefully to the people around you, do not interrupt and reflect on what they are saying so that you can really understand their point of view and show them that you are really paying attention.
- Carefully observe all the people you interact with during the day, grow an awareness for all the aspects of the human interaction. For example, when the people who work in the creative industries design a banner or write copy for a magazine they put themselves in the shoes of the person who will see their work for the first time and they try to imagine the reaction of that person.
- Reflect on the way you look at people you don’t know and make a choice to transcend the prejudice we all have about the others.