Whether you started working at home over the last few years or you’ve been doing it for a longer time, there are certain skills you would have learnt throughout this time. It’s easy to downplay your achievements, especially because a lot of us were simply forced to work remotely. However, being able to look at your achievements, how you adapted to change and learnt skills on the go is a really important thing to shout about during interviews. If remote working didn’t work, it would have ended as soon as it could've. So what have you learnt and what should you be mentioning on your CV and during interviews?
Working on your own can be seriously undervalued when talking about your skills. Working in a team, in a workplace day to day is its own skill, but being able to work on your own is a whole other kettle of fish. You are independent. You get your work done. There are so many distractions (just like in the office) but you make yourself accountable and do your work. It can also be really difficult for some people to keep morale high when working on their own. Being able to get into the swing of things every single morning and work remotely with a team of people, should be discussed more widely. The truth is, you have to work like this when around your team, but to be able to get into the right headspace every single day, is harder than it may seem for some. This skill allows you to have initiative, be resourceful and think on your feet.
As mentioned above, when you work remotely, depending on the environment, you have to really motivate yourself. You’re not surrounded by your colleagues every single day and there’s no one but yourself to hold you accountable for the work you’re producing. You have to rely on your own schedule, work with your other colleagues in a way that suits them also and be able to stay focused. There are just as many (if not more) distractions in your home or remote office, as there would be in your company's workspace. Keeping yourself motivated is a highly sought after skill.
Whether you work for a full remote employer or you have a workspace you visit on a weekly or monthly basis, communication with your colleagues and line manager is going to be different to those that work in-person every day. You aren’t able to walk around or lean over and ask your colleague a question. It’s likely they’ll still be there to talk to, but just not in-person. You also may not know what they’re doing and when they’re busy. So it can make communication a touch more difficult. If you need an answer there and then, you may need to solve it yourself. Which is where problem-solving skills come in!
A lot of daily communication from home is done over teams, zoom, Skype etc. So, you’re able to still see and speak to your colleagues but in ‘meeting’ form. Often having to schedule these in, it can seem more formal than the typical ‘coffee chat’. It can feel like a change and being able to carry on when your question can’t be answered straight away is something you’ve probably learnt to deal with.
This was mentioned briefly above, but being able to work on your own and solve problems can be a massive asset to employers. They don’t want you to say that you work on your own and solve every problem that way, but being able to say and explain when you’ve shown initiative or solved a problem when no one else was able to help, you’re displaying a skill they really want in candidates.
Ability to say no
This one may be seen as a negative but it’s all about prioritisation. A lot of people may find it more difficult to say no to a colleague, whether that be for help or an issue, if they’re asked in person. I’m not talking about saying no to helping, just because you don’t want to. It’s about understanding your capacity, prioritising what you’re currently working on and checking to see if you can assist, without your own work being jeopardised. Some people find this much easier to do when working remotely, mainly because you don’t physically see the person you’re ‘disappointing’. It can be easier to get into a habit once you’ve started working in a certain way. So, when you work in a workspace with other colleagues, you’re able to use these skills in person.
When working remotely, you’re responsible for your time. When you work in a workspace or office environment, you’re able to start and finish at a time that suits the employer. When working remotely, it’s likely you’ll still have to work appropriate hours for your role, but you may have a bit more leeway with the hours you do work. If you have other responsibilities, you can go and fulfil those and come back to your work at a later time in the day. However, it’s important to not get caught up in other things and forget to fulfil your work duties. This may be okay every now and then but it can result in a lot of catching-up. Managing your time when not being pressured by the colleagues around you can be great but you need to make sure you’re taking control of your time and completing what’s expected. Remote working can really allow you to develop this skill, have you noticed a difference throughout your time working from home?
Working remotely isn’t just waking up and starting work in your pyjamas. It’s also not as simple as that. You need to adapt and learn a whole new set of skills in order to have the same achievements and standard of work that you’d create in the workplace. If you’re not shouting about these skills in interviews, start doing so now! and use examples to really back up your claims. If you’re applying for a role that offers remote working and it’s new to you, it may be a good idea to mention these skills anyway. How you’re looking forward to learning and developing during your remote time.