As businesses around the world adjust to the fairly new remote work setting, organizations are equipping themselves with best practices, remote work skills and competencies. They are gauging employee readiness to ensure business continuity and productivity of remote workers.
Remote work skills and competencies, once considered to be ancillary, are now at the forefront due to COVID-19. At different levels, employees need distinct skills to steer their way through the present remote working environment. Team leaders need to be able to lead their teams effectively. Individual contributors need to be accountable for their work. First-time managers need to be better at planning and organization. Every employee needs to acquire skills to work remotely, it could be to better their communication skills, to organize their work or manage time better.
Businesses need to create the requisite comprehensive framework of remote work skills and competencies to drive their businesses during these difficult times, to achieve the same levels of productivity of remote workers as in a brick-and-mortar office setup. These competencies can be unique to a company’s culture and vision. Organizations should reach out to assessment partners to create a customized survey and assessment or design their own for the purpose of not just gauging the productivity of remote workers but also to understand how to bridge the gap.
With nearly all industries across the world forced to transition to remote working, we asked seasoned professionals to share with us the types of skills they desired in a remote worker or what they found to have contributed the most to the productivity of remote workers.
While hiring or developing employees to work in the new ‘normal,’ the following are the most sought-after skills and competencies:
Demonstrating the ability to put across one’s thoughts and ideas clearly and succinctly using appropriate language.
The need to put across one’s point in a clear, concise, and succinct manner has never been more critical than during the remote work setting. Effective communication is the foundation for collaboration and teamwork and ensures trust and transparency.
Demonstrating the ability to adjust and adapt oneself to change and not bog down in dynamic, ambiguous, and constantly evolving situations.
The sudden transition to work-from-home has been a real test of adaptability for most people. The ability to quickly adapt to this new ‘normal’ with continued enthusiasm is a highly desirable skill in employees in a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) world.
Demonstrating a strong will to achieve the aimed goal. Focusing one’s energy and resources to finish what one has started.
With no continuous supervision, self-discipline, perseverance, self-motivation, result orientation, and passion are salient characteristics that can help achieve the same outcomes as in an office environment. Every organization needs these characteristics in their workforce.
Demonstrating resilience in the face of challenges or adversity and being able to manage one’s emotions positively and effectively.
With people under lockdown in their homes, mental health is bound to get affected with increased levels of stress, anxiety, emotional distress, and even cabin fever in some cases. Employees who can demonstrate resilience in the face of stressful situations and think clearly, can remain calm and stable and manage their emotions, prove to be more productive. Although, it must be noted that the role of leaders and organizations is equally important to tide over this phase.
Demonstrating the ability to take responsibility for one’s actions and decisions. Following through on the commitments, without passing on the blame to others in case of failures.
Takes ownership of one’s work, working independently, rectifying mistakes quickly and learning from them to make remote work easy for all involved stakeholders. It builds a culture of trust without the need for micromanagement.
Demonstrating the ability to detail out the steps required to accomplish one’s objectives and an understanding of the resources needed to achieve them. Demonstrating the ability to prioritize tasks and shuffle between tasks to maximize efficiency.
Much like in a brick-and-mortar office setting, completing work in an organized manner by prioritizing tasks by optimally utilizing time and resources, and understanding the impact of one’s work on others, is a crucial component of remote workers’ productivity.
Demonstrating the ability to work effectively with one another to accomplish common goals and objectives.
Being able to envision themself as a part of a team, understanding common goals and objectives, and making joint efforts towards them, are the foundation of collaboration. Virtual collaboration between employees and teams is key to driving every business forward as a vast majority of the workforce operates remotely.
Demonstrating the ability to commit to learning new skills and effectively modifying one’s knowledge with the availability of further information.
Employees need to quickly assimilate new ways of working with the same effectiveness and be willing to adopt new ways, skills and technologies. Remote working needs employees to be agile and proactive to keep pace with dynamic situations.
Mercer | Mettl is your one-stop-solution for scientific assessments if your organization is looking to assess its workforce based on the competencies mentioned above or by introducing an assessment in your recruitment process to evaluate candidates on remote skills.
Our subject matter experts can help your organization to identify and define competencies and skills in line with your vision. It can also customize assessments that are unique to your remote work challenges and circumstances.
Originally published June 22 2020, Updated December 6 2023
Bhuvi is a content marketer at Mercer | Mettl. She's helped various brands find their voice through insightful thought pieces and engaging content. When not scandalizing people with her stories, you’ll find her challenging gender norms, dancing to her own tune, and crusading through life, laughing.
Remote work assessment is designed to help organizations gauge the readiness of their 'work from home' employees. The evaluation measures specific competencies such as self-direction, stress management, accountability, collaboration, etc., necessary for the efficiency and productivity of 'work from home' employees.