The world is advancing and the workforce is going hybrid.
Do you have the skills needed to keep up?
The world is advancing and the workforce is going remote. Do you have the skills needed to keep up?
The COVID-pandemic and rapid digitalization have flipped the way we work on its head! There’s no longer choosing between in-person or remote work. Companies have embraced the best of both worlds to create hybrid or even fully remote working models.
This hybrid model in particular has received great feedback. A Statista study reported that 83% of companies deemed collaboration on new projects good or better than it was prior to the pandemic. Workers are also able to save money on commuting, have greater flexibility when taking meetings or completing tasks, and truly embrace a healthier work life balance.
Remote work has become increasingly popular in recent years, as both employers and employees alike, reaping the benefits of flexible schedules, increased productivity, and cost savings. While remote work offers numerous advantages, it also requires workers to possess certain skills to ensure their success.
Do you have the necessary skills to succeed while working remotely?
Keep reading to find out!
What are Soft Skills?
Soft skills are a set of personal attributes, abilities, and traits that help an individual effectively interact with others. These skills are non-technical in nature, such as communication, problem-solving, collaboration, time management and leadership. In the workplace, these skills are essential for successful remote work.
The distinction between a Technical Skill and a Soft Skill
In essence, hard skills are technical skills obtained via education or training, while soft skills are personal traits and interpersonal qualities not necessarily taught in a classroom or through formal training.
Hard skills are technical or specialized skills acquired through education or training. These are measurable and quantifiable abilities that can be easily demonstrated or tested, such as coding, accounting, or engineering.
Soft skills are more subjective and relate to personality and interpersonal skills. These non-technical abilities are not taught in school. Soft skills are traits that help people get along. Communication, teamwork, time management, problem-solving, leadership, and flexibility are examples of soft skills (more on this below).
Soft skills are essential for building relationships, collaborating, and creating a happy workplace. Most companies feel that a mix of technical and interpersonal abilities makes for a more productive and effective workplace, so they look for applicants with both.
Why are Soft Skills Important for Remote Workers?
Soft skills are important for remote workers because they enable effective communication, collaboration, and problem-solving in a virtual work environment. Remote workers need to be able to communicate clearly and effectively with team members and clients through digital channels, such as video conferencing, email, and instant messaging.
Remote workers also need to be able to collaborate with others online, often across different time zones and cultures. This requires strong interpersonal skills, such as empathy, active listening, and conflict resolution. Additionally, remote workers need to be self-motivated, adaptable, and able to manage their time effectively.
Top Soft Skills for Remote Workers
- Communication Skills
- Interpersonal Skills
- Emotional Intelligence
- Time Management
- Project Management
- Collaboration and Teamwork
Effective communication skills are especially important for remote workers as they face unique challenges in communicating and collaborating with colleagues and clients virtually. To succeed in a remote environment, remote workers must be proficient in active listening, strong written and verbal communication, non-verbal cues, and eye contact in virtual environments.
Active listening helps remote workers understand and respond. Active listening entails paying attention, giving feedback, and asking questions.
Good written and verbal communication is especially important for remote employees because they use email, video conferencing, and instant messaging to connect with coworkers and clients. Remote professionals must be able to write and speak properly and adapt to varied audiences and situations.
Nonverbal cues are vital in efficient communication, especially online. Remote professionals should be aware of their body language and facial expressions during virtual meetings and presentations, and attempt to portray confidence and professionalism through their non-verbal clues.
Maintaining eye contact during virtual meetings builds rapport and engagement. Remote workers should make an effort to maintain eye contact with colleagues and clients during virtual meetings, even if it feels awkward at first.
Interpersonal skills are vital for remote workers to succeed in a virtual work environment.
Building trust and collaboration in a virtual work environment requires human ties. Remote workers should get to know their colleagues through virtual social events or one-on-one interactions to build rapport and community.
Remote teams also need conflict resolution solutions since misunderstandings and conflicts can happen more easily online. Remote workers should be prepared to handle disagreement constructively and respectfully, using communication and active listening skills to comprehend diverse perspectives and identify common ground.
Remote workers should also know how to actively participate in virtual meetings and conversations by offering their thoughts and ideas, asking questions, and giving feedback.
Emotional Intelligence (EI) is the ability to recognize, understand, and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. It has become increasingly important in the workplace, especially for remote workers.
Remote workers often work with people they may not have met in person, making it harder to build strong relationships. Having good EI helps remote workers build better relationships by providing them with the ability to communicate effectively, empathize with their colleagues, and handle conflicts constructively.
This leads to better collaboration and increased productivity.
Remote work can also be isolating, and it can be difficult to stay motivated and focused without regular interaction with colleagues. EI helps remote workers manage their emotions, reduce stress, and stay motivated, which can lead to better work performance.
For remote workers to stay productive, meet deadlines, and strike a healthy work-life balance, time management skills are essential. By using effective time management, remote employees can increase their performance while reducing stress and burnout.
Some essential elements of time management abilities for remote employees include the following:
- Setting Objectives and Prioritizing Tasks: To keep on track and make sure they are making the best use of their time, remote employees should prioritize their tasks and set clear goals. This entails prioritizing the most crucial tasks and concentrating on doing them first in order to avoid getting distracted by less vital tasks.
- Establishing a Personal Routine: To keep focused and prevent distractions, remote workers should set up a regular work schedule. To encourage work-life balance, this involves keeping regular working hours, taking breaks, and allocating time for exercise or other activities.
- Handling Distractions: Distractions for remote workers include email notifications, social media, and household chores. Remote employees should disable notifications, dismiss tabs that aren’t necessary, and establish limits with family members or roommates to prevent these distractions.
- Utilizing Technology: There are several tools and apps available to assist remote employees in efficiently managing their time. They consist of calendar apps, task management programs, and time monitoring programs. These technologies enable remote workers to stay organized and track their progress.
Remote workers, who frequently work on complex projects with several stakeholders and team members who may be in various time zones, need to have strong project management skills. Effective project management ensures that projects are completed on time, within budget, and to the required standard.
Remote workers must communicate efficiently to stay on track. This requires setting clear goals, regular check-ins, and ensuring everyone has the knowledge they need to perform their tasks.
To ensure that projects are finished on time and within budget, remote workers must also be adept at planning and organizing their work. This involves splitting projects into smaller parts, setting realistic deadlines, and determining the resources needed to execute each work.
Collaboration and Teamwork
Collaboration and teamwork skills are essential for remote workers who often work on projects with colleagues who may be located in different parts of the world. Effective collaboration and teamwork help remote workers to build stronger relationships with their colleagues, share knowledge and expertise, and work together towards a common goal.
Remote workers must also be flexible and adaptable to changing conditions. This includes being prepared to change their work schedules, processes, and communication styles to accommodate their coworkers who are in various time zones.
How to Develop Soft Skills as a Remote Worker
Developing these skills takes time and practice, but there are several ways remote workers can improve their soft skills:
- Attend Workshops and Training: To truly get a grasp of important soft skills, actual experience is required. People learn by handling real life scenarios. Wawiwa Tech, an Israeli tech training provider working with partners around the world, places a heavy emphasis on training students on soft skills, in addition to technical skills.
Programs are run in a hybrid learning setting, allowing candidates to immerse themselves in an environment that demonstrates communication, collaboration, project management, accountability, and a focus on deliverables through session learning objectives and hands-on homework.
- Seek Feedback: To determine areas where their soft skills may be improved, remote workers should seek input from their coworkers, managers, and clients. Remote workers can benefit from feedback by gaining an understanding of their strengths and limitations and pinpointing certain areas that need improvement.
- Practice Active Listening: Active listening is a crucial ability for remote workers. To make sure that everyone is on the same page, it entails paying attention to what others are saying, asking questions, and clarifying facts.
- Engage in Team Building Activities: To strengthen relationships and advance cooperation abilities, remote employees can participate in team building exercises with their coworkers. These could include online games, trivia competitions, and virtual happy hours as examples of virtual team-building activities.
Wawiwa Tech delivers tech training programs with built-in soft skills training, ensuring that its graduates can seamlessly integrate into the hybrid or remote workforce and deliver results aimed at personal and professional growth.
Find out more about Wawiwa Tech’s programs.