This informal CPD article Remote Working: The Skills You Need to Thrive was provided by Alison, Free Online Learning Provider. Regardless of your job, applying the specific skillset you've acquired to perform it successfully is really only half of the work you do. It goes without saying that programmers need to be able to programme, and of course, copywriters need to be able to write copy. But all workers, no matter what field they work in, also need to have a second vital skillset: to be able to work with people.
Being able to successfully negotiate the social space of the workplace and work with others is essential to almost every job under the sun. People skills allow us to manage colleagues, clients and managers and facilitate us being able to carry out our work professionally.
These soft skills are usually built up over the course of a career and through the experience of the workplace. However, the covid-19 pandemic has radically changed the workplace many of us now inhabit. Remote working means an entirely new "workspace", with its own dynamics and with a new set of soft skill requirements.
Cut each other slack
If all of a sudden you've found yourself working exclusively online, having never worked remotely before, then the chances are that the people you'll be interacting with online are in the same boat. This shift has been far from easy for many people and, even a year into the pandemic, there are those who still just feel like they're getting the hang of things. It's crucial that you recognise that remote working has been a real struggle for many of the people you find yourself interacting with and so compassion in the "remote workplace" is more important than ever.
New Ways of Communicating
Online communication is completely different from interacting with others in an office space. Speaking together in the same room means that misunderstandings in communication can be worked out easily, as you can re-explain a situation to someone and make sure they understand you. Written communication online doesn't allow for this, as you don't get to observe the reaction of the person you're interacting with. This means it's crucial that you communicate as clearly as possible when working online.
New Ways of Dealing with New Forms of Stress
Whether it's online or offline, workplaces can be stressful environments and one of the essential skills in any industry is stress management. In a digital workspace, it's much harder for colleagues or employers to check in with how you're doing so it's vital that you're managing your stress yourself. Be able to switch off the computer for a break if you feel you need it. It can be harder to reach out for help through a screen so pair up with a colleague and arrange to check in on one another regularly.
More Diverse Than Ever
While on the one hand, remote working means being stuck at home, on the other, working online means that people on the other side of the world seem as close to you as your colleague down the road. You may find that your "remote workplace" is more diverse than your office ever was. If engaging with new clients or colleagues from other cultures is a new experience for you, then spending some time learning about the professional and social etiquette of those cultures is vital.
Working from home can often feel like "living at work". With your domestic, social and professional worlds all converging into one, it's easy to feel like there aren't enough hours in the day. Timetabling your workday correctly is more important at home than at the office because there are far more distractions in your living room. You also have to make sure that, at some point, you do "leave the office" otherwise you might burn out.
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