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10 Underrated Remote Work Skills


Underrated Remote work skills

What are remote work skills?

Remote work skills are those skills that remote workers especially benefit from. These aren’t necessarily skills that you won’t need anywhere else. Communication, for example, is one of the most important remote work skills but then again, communication is a great skill for life. Not just remote workers.


So, remote work skills may be skills that you use everywhere else but become crucial if you’re working remotely.


In this blog, we’ll look at 10 underrated remote work skills.


Why underrated? Because people don’t seem to talk enough about it.


We’re a job board and we post hundreds of jobs a week and even companies that are hiring remotely don’t mention these skills a whole lot. So, we’re writing about them today.


Let’s get started.


Underrated remote work skills:

Adaptability

Simply put, adaptability is your ability to adjust quickly to new circumstances. In a remote work setup, this can mean adapting to different communication platforms, shifting project timelines, new teammates, or even changes in the work itself.


It's about being comfortable with change and maintaining productivity regardless of what's thrown your way.


So why is adaptability underrated? Probably because it's a soft skill. It's less tangible, and harder to measure than, say, your proficiency with Excel or your ability to code in Python.


Yet, it's just as, if not more, critical in a remote work environment.


When you're working remotely, change is a given. Your ability to adapt can mean the difference between getting bogged down or thriving amidst those changes.


Despite its importance, adaptability isn't something that's usually taught.


Seriously. Think about it.


When was the last time someone tried to sell you a course on how to be adaptable?


Thankfully, you don’t need a course for it.


Here are some tips to boost your adaptability in a remote work context.

  • Embrace a Growth Mindset: A growth mindset is a belief that your abilities and intelligence can be developed with effort, learning, and persistence. Embrace challenges as opportunities for learning instead of seeing them as obstacles. By adopting a growth mindset, you'll be more open to changes and more willing to adapt.

  • Stay Curious: The more you know, the more adaptable you become. Make a habit of learning new things—be it about your industry, a new tool, or a new skill. This will not only make you more adaptable but also make you more valuable as an employee.

  • Practice Resilience: Challenges and setbacks are inevitable. Resilience is about bouncing back from these setbacks and moving forward. Developing resilience will help you adapt to changes and uncertainties in your work.

  • Nurture Emotional Intelligence: Emotional intelligence helps you recognize your emotions and those of others, allowing you to manage them effectively. This understanding can help you adapt to social changes in the workplace and deal with any emotional upheavals change might bring.

  • Be Proactive: Instead of waiting for changes to happen, anticipate them. Stay abreast of trends in your industry and proactively seek to update your skills. This will put you in a position where you're driving the change, not just reacting to it.


Digital Literacy

Digital literacy is your ability to use, evaluate, and create digital information using a wide range of digital technologies.


It's not just about being able to use a computer or smartphone; it's about understanding the digital world and using this knowledge to perform tasks effectively.


So, if you can navigate various software, use cloud services, protect your online privacy, or evaluate the credibility of online information, congrats! You're digitally literate.


In a remote work setup, digital literacy is more than a plus - it's a necessity.


Think about it: remote work lives and breathes in the digital world.


Without a basic understanding of digital tools and platforms, you would be swimming against the current.


It’s rarely enough to just know the tools that you use in your job. Yes, they take precedence. But just knowing work tools won’t help you a whole lot when you’re faced with an error. And if you have work tools, you know that it’s not very uncommon for that to happen.


So, how do you improve digital literacy?

  • Learn the Tools of the Trade: Remote work involves a wide array of tools and platforms. Start by understanding the basics of commonly used ones like Google Workspace, Zoom, Slack, Asana, or Trello. There are tons of tutorials online that can guide you.

  • Stay Safe Online: Cybersecurity is a key part of digital literacy. Understand how to protect your data and privacy online. Learn about secure passwords, phishing scams, and safe internet practices.

  • Engage in Online Learning: Numerous platforms offer courses on a wide range of digital topics. Websites like Coursera, Udemy, or Khan Academy can help you build your digital literacy skills.

  • Practice, Practice, Practice: The best way to become digitally literate is to get your hands dirty. Don't shy away from new apps or platforms. The more you use them, the more comfortable you'll become.

  • Stay Updated: The digital world is evolving at breakneck speed. Keep yourself updated with the latest digital trends and developments.


Self-motivation

Okay, this one’s not all that underrated. But people still don’t talk about this enough. When you’re working from home, your boss isn’t hovering around your shoulder, checking if you’re really working.


When you’re working from home, it’s just assumed that you’re working. Lack of oversight can be very freeing, and rightly so. But it can also become a problem if you lack self-motivation. Procrastination has an effect in the long term.


So, how do you keep yourself motivated when working from home?

  • Set Clear Goals: Knowing where you're going provides direction and helps keep you motivated. Make sure your goals are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound).

  • Break it Down: Large tasks can be daunting and demotivating. Break them down into smaller, manageable parts. Each completed task fuels your sense of achievement and propels you forward.

  • Create a Routine: Structure breeds productivity. Create a daily routine that suits your natural rhythm. This gives your day a sense of predictability and helps keep you on track.

  • Celebrate Wins: Don’t wait till you've reached your final goal. Celebrate small wins along the way. It can be as simple as crossing off tasks from your to-do list or treating yourself to a cup of your favorite coffee.

  • Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance: All work and no play can drain your motivation. Make sure to take breaks, pursue hobbies, and spend time with loved ones.

  • Stay Positive: A positive mindset can be a powerful motivational tool. Maintain a can-do attitude, and remember, it’s okay to have off days.


Effective Virtual Communication

Everyone talks about the importance of communication. But with remote work, it’s different. It’s not about body language or subtle signals or non-verbal cues. It’s about how effective you are when you’re communicating digitally.


Virtual communication, by definition, involves interaction over digital mediums. It includes video meetings, emails, instant messages, social media posts, and so on.


But effective virtual communication goes beyond just sending and receiving messages—it's about expressing your ideas clearly, understanding others, and fostering positive relationships, all through digital channels.


Without clear communication, collaboration grinds to a halt, misunderstandings can occur, and productivity can take a hit. Basically, good virtual communication makes your remote work world go round.


Also, remote work communication isn’t all about writing good emails. While that's a part of it, virtual communication is multi-faceted, spanning a variety of platforms and mediums.


Here are a few guidelines:

  • Clarity is Key: Whether it's an email, a chat message, or a video call, make sure your communication is clear and concise. Avoid jargon and ambiguity. When in doubt, it's better to over-communicate than to leave room for misinterpretation.

  • Master the Tools: Familiarize yourself with the communication tools your team uses. Whether it's Zoom, Slack, Teams, or Google Meet, knowing the ins and outs will make communication smoother and more effective.

  • Listen Actively: Good communication is as much about listening as it is about speaking. Pay attention to what others are saying, ask clarifying questions, and show that you value their input.

  • Mind Your Tone: In digital communication, tone can easily be misinterpreted. Be mindful of how your words may come across. When appropriate, use emojis or exclamation points to convey tone.

  • Respect Time Zones and Boundaries: If you're part of a global team, be aware of different time zones. Respect your colleagues' work hours and personal time.

  • Practice Empathy: Behind every screen is a human. Empathy can go a long way in enhancing communication, building trust, and fostering a positive remote work culture.


Setting boundaries:

You might be wondering, "What do boundaries have to do with remote work?"


Well, a lot more than you might think. In a traditional office, boundaries are physically apparent—the distance of the commute, the office door, and the clock-out time. However, in remote work, these lines blur.


Hence, the need to consciously set boundaries. Let's unpack why it's critical, why it's underrated, and how you can set effective boundaries.


Setting boundaries in remote work means delineating your professional and personal life. It involves defining when, where, and how work happens for you.


It's like drawing an invisible line that separates 'work you' from 'home you'. This is incredibly important because it protects your work-life balance, prevents burnout, and contributes to your overall well-being.


Despite this, boundary setting often takes a backseat.


It's easy to underestimate its value when the line between home and work is just a few steps, not a few miles.


You might think, "What's the harm in answering one more email during dinner?" or "Why not finish up that task from my couch?" But these blurred lines can slowly erode your work-life balance and lead to stress, fatigue, and even burnout.


Hence, boundary setting is not just about maintaining professionalism; it's about safeguarding your mental health.


So, how do you set effective boundaries in remote work? Here are some practical techniques:

  • Create a Dedicated Workspace: This doesn't have to be a separate room. It could be a specific desk or a corner in your home. This physical separation can help cue your brain when it's time to work and when it's time to rest.

  • Define Your Work Hours: This can be the traditional 9 to 5, or hours that suit your productivity peaks. Let your team know your work hours and try to stick to them as closely as possible.

  • Take Regular Breaks: Don't chain yourself to your desk all day. Take short breaks to stretch, hydrate, or just rest your eyes. And don't forget to take a proper lunch break!

  • Manage Your Notifications: There's no need to be 'on' 24/7. Set 'do not disturb' hours on your communication apps. Outside of your work hours, mute your notifications or better yet, turn off your work devices.

  • Communicate Your Boundaries: Be clear with your colleagues about your boundaries. Respect their boundaries too. It's a two-way street.

  • Prioritize Personal Time: Make time for hobbies, exercise, relaxation, and family. This time is just as important as work time.


Time Management

"Time management" is a phrase that's thrown around a lot in professional circles, but it's not just corporate jargon.


It's an essential skill, especially in a remote work context.


Time management, in simple terms, is about using your time effectively to achieve your goals.


It's about planning, prioritizing, and organizing your tasks to optimize productivity. In remote work, effective time management can be the difference between a balanced, productive day and a chaotic, unproductive one.


Why is it so crucial in remote work? Because in a remote setting, you're in the driver's seat.


There's no structured office routine, no boss checking in on you, no fixed lunch breaks. This autonomy is liberating, but it can also be a double-edged sword if not managed well.


Poor time management can lead to missed deadlines, low productivity, and work-life imbalance.


Despite its importance, time management is often underrated in remote work. People may assume that working from home automatically means having more time.


But without effective time management, the day can quickly slip away, consumed by endless emails, meetings, distractions, and "urgent" tasks.


Here are a few tips to manage your time effectively:

  • Prioritize Tasks: Not all tasks are created equal. Some are important and urgent, some are important but not urgent, and some are neither. Understand this distinction and prioritize your tasks accordingly.

  • Plan Your Day: At the start of your day, or the night before, outline what you want to accomplish. This gives your day structure and purpose.

  • Use Time Management Tools: There's an array of digital tools to help you manage your time. From Google Calendar for scheduling to Trello for task management, find what works for you.

  • Eliminate Distractions: Identify what typically distracts you and find ways to eliminate or reduce these distractions during your work hours.

  • Set Time Limits: Assign a specific amount of time to each task. This creates a sense of urgency and can prevent you from getting stuck in perfectionism.

  • Take Breaks: This might seem counterintuitive, but taking regular breaks can actually enhance your productivity. It refreshes your mind and prevents burnout.

  • Learn to Say No: Time is a finite resource. If your plate is full, don't hesitate to say no to additional tasks that could derail your schedule.


Proactivity

Proactivity in a remote work context means taking initiative, anticipating problems, and acting before being asked or forced by events.


It's about self-starting, forward-thinking, and being solution-oriented. In essence, proactivity turns you into a remote work superstar, able to independently manage your work, solve problems, and contribute effectively to your team.


Why is this trait so important in remote work?


Because remote work thrives on autonomy and independence. There's no immediate supervision or physical cues from a boss or colleagues to direct your work.


A proactive worker doesn't just wait for instructions but looks for ways to contribute, anticipates obstacles, and addresses them ahead of time.


Despite its importance, proactivity is often underrated in remote work. There’s an underlying assumption that as long as you’re completing your tasks and meeting deadlines, you’re doing just fine.


While that's crucial, taking that extra step to be proactive can set you apart and ensure smoother, more productive work processes.


Here are a few practical ways to be proactive in a remote workplace:

  • Understand Your Role: Having a clear understanding of your role and responsibilities sets the foundation for proactivity. Know what's expected of you and strive to fulfill those expectations without being prompted.

  • Plan Ahead: Look at your tasks and projects and anticipate what might be needed. This could mean starting tasks early, identifying potential issues, or thinking about the next steps.

  • Take Initiative: If you see a problem that needs solving or a process that could be improved, don't wait for someone else to handle it. Propose a solution or take steps to fix it yourself.

  • Seek Feedback: Regularly check in with your supervisor and colleagues for feedback. This can give you insights into areas where you can take more initiative.

  • Continuous Learning: Proactive people are lifelong learners. Invest time in learning new skills, tools, or concepts that can enhance your work.

  • Communicate: Proactivity isn't just about doing; it's also about communicating. Keep your team informed about your actions, ideas, or any issues you foresee.


Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence (EI), once a buzzword in the psychology world, is now making waves in the remote work world.


So, what’s EI all about?


In a remote work context, Emotional Intelligence refers to the ability to understand and manage your own emotions, and those of others, even through a digital screen.


It involves empathy, self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, and social skills. These skills are essential for building positive relationships, managing stress, making decisions, and navigating the emotional landscape of a remote team.


Why is EI so important in remote work? In the absence of face-to-face interaction, emotions can often be lost in translation, leading to misunderstandings and conflict.


EI helps bridge this gap by enabling you to pick up on emotional cues, communicate effectively, and foster a supportive and inclusive virtual environment.


Despite its importance, EI is often overlooked in remote work. The focus is generally on more tangible skills like digital literacy, time management, or communication. Yet, EI underpins all of these skills and has a significant impact on teamwork, productivity, and job satisfaction.


Here’s how you can better your EI effectively:

  • Practice Self-Awareness: Start by understanding your own emotions. How do you react to stress or criticism? How does your mood affect your work? Reflecting on these questions can increase your self-awareness.

  • Empathize: Try to understand things from other people's perspectives. This is particularly important in a remote context, where your team members might be dealing with different challenges related to time zones, cultures, or personal circumstances.

  • Communicate Effectively: Be mindful of your words, tone, and body language during virtual communications. Be clear, respectful, and responsive.

  • Manage Your Emotions: Practice techniques to manage stress and negative emotions. This could be through mindfulness, exercise, breaks, or any other method that works for you.

  • Foster Positive Relationships: Make an effort to connect with your team members on a personal level. This could be through casual conversations, virtual team-building activities, or simply by showing kindness and support.

  • Seek Feedback and Learn: Ask for feedback on your emotional interactions and be open to learning and improving.


Cultural Sensitivity

Workplaces are global, now. Yes, a lot of companies operated with teams around the world even before the pandemic. But, what’s really new here is that small and medium-sized businesses are now global.


If you’re part of a global team, cultural sensitivity is something that you should be paying more attention to.


Cultural sensitivity, also known as cultural competence, refers to the ability to respect, understand, and adapt to cultural differences.


In a remote work context, where you might be interacting with team members from different countries and cultures, this skill becomes indispensable.


The importance of cultural sensitivity in remote work lies in its potential to foster understanding, respect, and harmony in diverse teams.


It enables effective communication, reduces conflict, and boosts collaboration, all leading to enhanced productivity and job satisfaction. It allows teams to leverage the richness of diverse perspectives and ideas, leading to innovative solutions.


Despite its significance, cultural sensitivity is often underrated in remote work. There’s a common misconception that because remote work happens in a virtual environment, cultural differences are less relevant.


However, cultural norms can heavily influence communication styles, work habits, decision-making processes, and etiquette, even in the digital world.


So, how do you improve your cultural sensitivity?

  • Educate Yourself: Learn about the cultures of your team members. This could involve researching their country’s customs, norms, and etiquette or asking them directly about their cultural preferences.

  • Respect Differences: Remember that different doesn't mean wrong. Be open-minded and respect cultural differences, even if they’re outside your comfort zone.

  • Adapt Your Communication: Different cultures have different communication styles. Some may be direct, while others may be more indirect. Try to adapt your communication to avoid misunderstandings.

  • Be Aware of Time Zones: Scheduling meetings? Be considerate of different time zones. Try to find times that work for everyone or rotate meeting times to share the inconvenience.

  • Celebrate Diversity: Make an effort to acknowledge and celebrate different cultures. This could be through multicultural virtual events, acknowledging cultural holidays, or simply by showing appreciation for diverse viewpoints.


Tech Troubleshooting

Tech fails. Pretty much all tech that you have ever used and will ever use will fail at some point. If you’re in an office, you can simply ask your colleague. There’s always someone who knows exactly what to do. When you’re working remotely, that’s obviously not possible.


So, learning how to troubleshoot is super-important. It can save you time, reduce stress, and keep your work flowing smoothly, minimizing downtime. Additionally, it can make you more self-reliant and less dependent on external tech support.


So, how do you get better?

  • Know Your Tools: Familiarize yourself with the digital tools you use regularly. The more you know about a tool, the better you'll be at diagnosing problems when they arise.

  • Learn the Basics: Understand common tech issues like internet connectivity problems, software crashes, or device malfunctions, and learn how to fix them.

  • Google it: If you encounter a problem, chances are someone else has had it too. Use search engines to find solutions. Online forums, tech blogs, and help centers can be rich sources of information.

  • Stay Updated: Keep your devices, apps, and software updated. Many technical problems arise from using outdated technology.

  • Backup Regularly: Regular backups can save you a lot of trouble in case of serious tech issues like data loss. Make it a habit to back up important files regularly.

  • Learn from Experts: If you have access to a tech team or know tech-savvy people, learn from them. Observing how they solve tech issues can help improve your own troubleshooting skills.

Conclusion:

So, there you have it — underrated remote work skills. Each of these skills is fast becoming a necessity for remote workers. So, make sure you spend some time honing these skills.


In the meantime, if you’re looking for remote jobs, check out Simple Job Listings. We only list verified, fully-remote jobs. Most of these jobs pay really well. What’s more, a significant number of jobs that we post aren’t listed anywhere.


Visit Simple Job Listings and find amazing remote jobs. Good luck!


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