The unexpected change in working environment arrived came into effect almost overnight, but it’s a common consensus that it won’t be going away anywhere nearly as quickly—if at all.
According to job-finding platform Indeed, the most valued skills in a resumé today include time management, communication, and interpersonal skills. As businesses globally both allow and prepare for future remote working scenarios, the importance of mastering the work-from-home skillset is becoming one of the most sought-after of them all.
- What the WFH skillset entails
- What great work-from-home skills look like
- How to develop this skillset
What’s in the WFH skillset?
Working from home for three months has taught us that there are skills that great WFH workers need to have.
These skills include:
- Time management
- Ability to proactively seek feedback and support
- Able to prioritize projects and tasks
- Work/life discipline
- Communication skills
- Team player, knowing how to make the best use of internal talent
While most of these skills are good practice for any employee to master, they’re can’t-miss for WFH employees.
What does work-from-home success look like?
When you work from a laptop, why does where you work matter?
The research is showing that, contrary to many employers’ fears, employees are more productive and effective while working from home.
Additional research has shown that the independent work ethic that is so important to successfully working from home particularly helps with creative and strategic tasks. However, what it also does is allow for some extreme procrastinating when it comes to putting off tasks perceived as mundane or dull.
Additionally, there’s the issue of burnout. Since March, employees in the US have reported logging on for an additional three hours a day (a 40% increase!). How do you navigate the often muddled line between work and home?
To work long hours for a few months is one thing; to make a career from working from home, however, necessitates the need to be able to navigate this safely and mentally to avoid burnout. WFH employees need to know how to manage their time (aka quit checking Facebook and WhatsApp), what to say no to, and when to sign off.
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How do you develop the ability to work from home?
Working from home demands discipline. This involves going back to basics:
- Removing distractions from around you
- Trying to separate your workspace from your home space
- Creating a routine that you can stick to, including defined work and break periods
It also means being able to switch off and establish boundaries, letting your colleagues know when you are and are not available. To bring your best self to work, you need to make sure your best self gets a breather too.
Managers, listen up. One of your key responsibilities is to help develop and grow those people in your team to build out their skillset. Seeing as working from home is rapidly joining that list, now’s the time to start leading by example and setting boundaries, signing off intentionally, and speaking up when workloads get too overwhelming.
Set aside time with your team to understand what actionable steps they need to take and to build a development plan to improve. Not only will you provide more flexibility within your own team, but you will also be having a tangible impact of their future careers (and remember, not developing key skills is one of the top reasons employees will look elsewhere).
The world has been forced to adopt the reality of the work from home to a series of necessary capabilities. Now is the time to perfect it, just as you would any other skill. Ensure you focus on every part of your job, not just what you like, and coach both yourself and your team to be their best selves.