It’s easy to fall out of prioritizing people skills when working remotely. That’s one of the disadvantages of remote work. If you’re working at home, you’ll not likely meet up with colleagues the way you normally would when working in an office. You won’t have to worry about facing your boss at work every day or be conscious of their constant presence throughout the day. You’ll also be spared from most of the politicking that usually happens in regular offices.
Nevertheless, working in the comforts of your home at your own time and pace doesn’t mean you can let your people skills wither away. In fact, it is more critical for you to keep it shiny and sharp as you work remotely. Here are five good reasons why:
Remote jobs rely heavily on communication.
Video conferences, chat, task organizers, and frequent check-ups are common in remote job settings. There’s no denying how communication is what keeps remote-based companies alive and running. Operations and any projected goals and accomplishments are only possible with ample and efficient communication.
As a remote worker, your communication skills should not only be satisfactory. It needs to be superb. You have to be able to relay information accurately, without overloading your team with information. You need to convey your thoughts and emotions effectively. That means convincing others, and stirring up urgency when needed. On top of all that, you have to be able to communicate effectively on all the types of media you and your teammates use. Facial expressions and body language matter when communicating through video. The tone of voice and proper stressing of words are important when calling. Moreover, your choice and order of words hold significant weight in emails and chat.
You might have to deal with different cultures.
A team of remote workers is most likely composed of people from different places and cultures. Thanks to technology and ease of connectivity, the world has easily gotten small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. It is easier to outsource employees from all over the globe. Therefore, a team can most likely comprise of different nationalities with different languages, beliefs and ways of life.
Being culture-sensitive and open to differences is important in such situations. Remote work may mean that you won’t have to deal with them in person within the same physical environment. However it still means that you will have to collaborate with them. It might even prove to be more challenging since your means of communication are solely confined online. That makes things like email etiquette vastly important.
One of the things you can do to ease your relationship-building efforts with team members of different cultures is to research their practices ahead of your interaction. Another thing you can do to supplement your research is to ask them. Try to do so with all honesty and genuineness if there is something you wish to clarify. It would also help if you communicated with them normally, even if English is not their native language. Always remember that other nationalities may not be able to articulate their thoughts with you superbly. However, this does not usually reflect their level of understanding and cognition.
No one is watching.
Integrity is one of the most valuable people skills in the world of remote work. You won’t have a supervisor or manager present as you do your job each day. You might meet regularly, maybe once a week or so. But other than those meetings and random chats, you’re on your own. What you do with your own time within your own space is all up to you. In many instances you might be tempted to do things that your manager will disapprove of if he or she finds out.
Things like wasting time on social media, entertainment, or other non-work distractions that eat up a lot of your working hours can disrupt your work performance. Making use of company assets for personal gain is another grave issue of integrity. Such an offense can damage your reputation and cost you your job, along with future job prospects. Taking care of your integrity while working remotely ensures that you keep your employer’s trust. It also helps you maintain a spotless record for future reference.
Changes tend to be more aggressive in remote settings.
The ability to get along well with anyone and everyone is an excellent gift for someone who chooses to work remotely. Often, companies that source home-based employees, especially start-ups, experience more aggressive changes, and faster turnovers. Being flexible and adaptable to new situations and unfamiliar faces is very helpful. It lets you get on with your job without being too affected by your ever-changing environment.
Growth and development are all coupled with some form of change. Changes can bring about strain and stress within an organization. To cope up with such developments, an employee should be resilient enough to adapt. It’s easy to spot a worker who is finding it hard to settle into a new environment. They tend to be sluggish and noncompliant. Their performances are usually not up to par. They are typically withdrawn and not as outspoken or as participative as they usually were before the said change.
You won’t have the luxuries of an office.
If you need a quick chat over a coffee break, or a short hang-out in the washroom, even just some small talk beside the printer, you won’t get much if you’re only at home. These are the little luxuries that office-based employees enjoy every day. If you want a quick word with your colleague or your boss, a little strut towards the next cubicle, and they’re right where you need them.
When working remotely, people might have varying schedules, especially if they live countries apart. Your urgent concern may not be answered until twelve hours later—not unless you have workmates who operate in shifts to cover 24 hours a day. This means that you have to become more resourceful to troubleshoot your urgent matters by yourself. You also have to be more amiable. This way, people are less likely to put you off as the last priority in their list of tasks despite not being physically acquainted with each other. Remember that chores usually become less burdensome if done for a friend.