Recently, someone asked me about the attributes commonly found in good teleworkers. Obviously, the attributes that you would expect to find in any good employee applies to teleworkers. However, I believe there are 5 key attributes that can contribute teleworker success:
- Problem solving/resourcefulness – Teleworkers and remote workers often have to resolve problems on their own. It can be a little more challenging than asking someone in the office next door for help. Teleworkers have to work with autonomy and in some cases, fend for themselves. From handling the technical challenges that may arise in their home office to navigating the virtual workplace, teleworkers should be able to work through problems and find solutions on their own.
- Communication skills (verbal and written) – Considering that teleworkers communicate primarily over email or the phone, written and verbal communication skills are a necessity.
- Self-discipline/organized – Many people can’t work from home because they are easily distracted by the home activities around them or they lack the ability to create and follow a daily plan. Good teleworkers can manage their time effectively, can focus on the tasks that need their attention, and meet deadlines.
- Assertiveness – Extroverts usually make better teleworkers than introverts. Why? When you are dealing with people through cyberspace, it’s easy for others to forget you if you don’t make your presence known (a.k.a. “out of sight, out of mind”). Good teleworkers stay engaged and ensure others know they are part of the team by building a virtual presence.
- Relationship oriented – Teleworkers are not soloists. Often they work within or lead virtual teams. Team building when team members are just a voice on a conference call can be daunting and it takes skill and talent to overcome the natural distance to pull people together. Teleworkers may rely on a mix of direct and indirect (matrix) relationships to get their job done. Therefore, building relationships is a necessity.
What’s on your list of needed attributes?