With the fourth Industrial Revolution called “The Internet of Things” currently rising, it’s not a surprise that employability trends like remote working are being favoured by companies. This happens because companies are looking to integrate technology along with healthier work and business practices. Professionals, on the other hand, seek careers that allow them to be anywhere they want, while still delivering on business objectives. Recent research stated that over 23% of workers complete at least some of their work during the week remotely. The benefits of remote working have been linked to increased productivity and employee engagement. Remote working has now been recognised as the working trend of the future. In order to give your best performance working remotely, you have to be familiar with the most in-demand set of soft skills.

Virtually stay in touch and collaborate

Even if you work remotely, the most important part to know and realise is that you are not alone in the process. Your team and organisation are also online, continuing to collaborate and achieve business goals. The days when people were able to tap their colleague on the shoulder when they needed a favour or consultation on something are definitely over.

Virtual collaboration and clear communication are imperative if you want to be productive and successful in your role. Focusing on engagement and productivity is what’s going to make you or break you in this environment. Of course, it’s not always about being stuck in front of the computer and deliver at any cost. Many remote businesses and teams have regular happy hour events or themed virtual parties in their working agendas. As an example, a friend organised a virtual barbecue meet up with the team. Yes, they probably weren’t able to prepare an actual barbecue at home, but they cooked their favourite recipe, had a beer and played this funny Sausage Party slot game that fits nicely into the party theme.

Leverage digital platforms

Email works pretty well but will only get you so far. Many digital platforms offer far more potential than most organisations currently use and are familiar with. Be sure that you have the necessary technology and tools to perform outside the office. Furthermore, be aware that working remotely introduces additional challenges around data and security, so it’s very important for an IT and cybersecurity team to be involved in the process of finding an appropriate sustainable solution.

Once the basics are set up, there is an array of online platforms available for communication (Skype, Hangouts), information sharing and collaboration (Google Documents, Microsoft Teams) and project management (Trello, BaseCamp). The remote working environment is an ideal opportunity to see how you will perform outside the typical working environment.

Be explicit about your requirements

Remote work at its worst generates inefficiency, prolonged working hours, duplicates effort, increases uncertainty and connection and causes low morale. At its best, employees are more productive, connected and appreciative of the flexibility that remote working provides. To avoid pitfalls and drive best practice, it’s very important to set up clear expectations.

Make sure you and your team agree on the priority deliverables and actions and clearly communicate work requirements, accountability and deadlines. Recognise that other team members may have a stuffed workload, make sure to create rapid load-balancing measures and set expectations for extra “downtime” (professional development, side projects, mandatory training etc). Moreover, prepare an aligned key process document and protocols in order to evolve and maintain the homeworking environment at the highest level possible. These documents and guides should be available to all who need them.

Be dependable and trustworthy to get the job done unsupervised

Remote work provides us with the opportunity to manage our own time and do things at our own pace. But, there’s a catch that might backfire. If your manager begins to have doubts that you can’t complete the tasks in the predicted deadline, you’ll soon find yourself being micro-managed in the wrong way.

Be online and available throughout the working day and make sure to set up a period of the day where you’ll be answering messages and e-mails. Keep your team posted about your tasks and tell them if you don’t want to be disturbed in order to stay focused and concentrated. People and management might easily become frantic if a problem came up that needs to be solved and they can’t reach the person who can provide the solution. If you say you’ll deliver on a deadline, you have to stand for that, because out of sight is certainly not out of mind when it comes to remote working rules.

Author's Bio: 

I am a doctor who enjoys helping people discover how to live more productive and healthy lifestyles.