Hard skills and business domain expertise make us successful employees but there is a core mix of skills I find that make remote and hybrid workers truly successful. In this post, I identify the 6 skills that are the most critical for remote knowledge workers.
Virtual Communication Skills
Communication skills fall into categories such as verbal, non-verbal, and writing. These are essential skills regardless of whether you’re in the office or remote. But given our dependence on technologies that communicate across space and time, there are a whole new set of skills that fall into a category of their own: virtual communication.
The skills in this category include:
- Virtual presence skills – involves understanding how to present an authentic version of you in all forms of digital communications
- Audio visual skills -maintaining and troubleshooting audio, video and lighting tools
- Writing skills for asynchronous communications – ability to clearly document information using techniques that make detailed information easy to read, search and understand
- Communication delivery skills – think of this as more akin to public speaking. Understanding how to communicate your message through techniques such as eye contact, tone, and pace of your speech.
Remote workers cannot be successful if they can’t organize the information they are collecting. They just can’t. That’s why this is at the top of my list.
I don’t equate “organization” with having a clean desk (mine is terrible). Organization is an important component of communication. An organized worker can take information and structure it in a way that is easy for their audience to interpret.
You must be able to accept feedback if you want to grow, learn and advance. Being coachable is the single-most telling skill that will indicate how far a knowledge worker can advance in her career.
The qualities of being open-minded and willing to learn, essential to accepting and incorporate feedback, are the foundation of being coachable. If you can’t accept feedback, can’t learn from the experience of others, you’ll only get so far in a project and in life.
In the office you might be able to reach out to a colleague to get an answer. Working remotely means you may need to rely on your own skills for how to do something. Being able to search and learn quickly is a core skill that can help you work independently.
Call it agile (lower case “a”) or creative or an optimistic-mindset. When you’re working remotely, anything can happen. Being flexible allows you to find an alternate path or plan a different approach on your own.
Are you able to get work done when a manager is not around? Remote workers must have the ability to complete their work without someone asking you to complete it. A self-motivated remote worker is also compelled to take action to grow and clear their own obstacles.