Are Remote Workers Born Or Made?
For some remote workers, remote working is code for skiving while for others it means getting a lot done in a short space of time.
The question of nature or nurture is as old as the hills but when it comes to remote working this breaks down into two parts – the employer and the employee this blog will focus on the latter.
There are skills required to be an effective remote worker – self-sufficiency, focus, the ability to break down a complex task into smaller elements and to communicate effectively without the luxury of reading your colleague’s body language and facial expressions in person. There is also the added dimension of being able to manage collaboration technologies such as email, LinkedIn, skype, twitter and slack (and probably others that have been created since this blog has been written!).
There are other softer skills such as self-confidence to do what is needed without face-to-face validation, effective verbal communication which can be taught but is often nurtured from a young age. But how do you know if you have what it takes to work remotely?
Think back to when you were a child; were you the one who relished the prospect of doing a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle for hours away from siblings or adults? If this is you, it would probably explain why your current career preference is for remote working. Whilst if you were a teenager that constantly needed reassurance and the company of others to complete even a small piece of homework you might find that career-wise you are better placed in an office or work environment with others. Conversely, research and tests of remote working have found that extroverts work much better remotely. They are more likely to reach out and create social groups within the pool of other remote workers, they are more likely to maintain a high profile, regardless of the fact that they aren’t in an office environment and are less likely to suffer loneliness.
The truth is the nature of work has evolved as technology has become more pervasive so the ability and need to work remotely has increased. Similarly, the skills required to be an effective remote worker have also evolved. The need to be self-sufficient, focus on the task at hand and the ability to break down a complex task into smaller elements is as important as ever. However, the ability to switch off in an ‘always on’ digital age is something that for some can be really hard as the distraction of a ping or flash can reduce the productivity that remote working offers.
As with all of these questions, the truth is somewhere between the two but the real issue is knowing your own skill set and how to make the most of your talents in the work environment whether that is done remotely or not.
Guest Blogger: Marc Duke is a consultant and trainer specialising in business-to-business marketing primarily with emerging technology companies. A CMO in a box, he offers a blend of strategic and tactical experience with a strong emphasis on creating opportunities and delivering results quickly. He has almost 20 years marketing experience helping businesses grow through generating brand awareness by understanding their products/technologies while providing the marketing know-how to reach their customers in a focused and cost-effectiveway. He has worked with accelerators, start-ups and established vendors including yada, Optanon, Lexoo, bodalgo, Pelipod, Sentiment, Certivox, Comeet, Loquiz, IdeaPlane, PNMSoft, QualiTest, Ensighten, Demandware, Palmtree Technology, Celltick, Celaton, Clearswift, and Adobe. He also has a wealth of agency experience having worked for Lewis Communications, Hill & Knowlton, Porter Novelli, Brands2Life, and Sunesis.