Remote Work: Tips to remain relevant in the Future Economy

Most of us are familiar with the changes that increase has brought. So it’s no surprise that in the last decade, the number of employees working remotely has increased over 100% globally.

Jobs ranging from salesperson to receptionist can be done from just about anywhere. Other roles, like customer service representative, are often exclusively remote work nowadays.

Onsite work has its time and place.

Companies are finding new and better ways of working. These ways now can save money and even give companies access to rare talent when they use remote workers, as they now have a global pool to source from.

Remote work doesn’t just benefit companies, though. Many individuals can’t afford or don’t want to live in a large urban city, where the best opportunities are. Remote roles also allow these people to learn more skills while earning wages well above what they could get locally.

All that said, remote work isn’t simply a nice option to have or a way to make/save a few extra bucks. It’s the norm now, for both job seekers and those trying to grow a company. Which means that learning how to conduct remote work is not so much about bettering yourself or your company as it is about survival.

The future of our economy dictates that we stay relevant, if we want a part of it.

Some things to consider:

1. As a remote worker you need collaboration tools

Your survival in this area depends on two things: mastering the basics and learning the tools your company or clients use.

The basics are tools like Google Docs and Calendars, project-management software like Trello, and communication platforms like Slack.

Company- or client-specific tools are a little more varied and are industry specific, such as accounting software.

Take the time to master the basics and give yourself an idea of how collaboration tools generally function.

2. The importance of Relationships

You have to connect and sometimes it will be necessary with strangers online, whether that’s through cold email or reaching out to people via social networks like LinkedIn and Twitter – you will need to be comfortable in doing this.

You never know what doors these conversations can open. And the bigger the company, the greater the chances you won’t get to meet everyone in person.

The same rules we use in offline relationships apply: be thoughtful, ask questions, and try to add value. Just because Slack makes it easy to send a bunch of dopamine-fuelled responses in a hurry doesn’t mean that’s great behaviour to adopt. If you want to develop strong relationships online, you have to treat those conversations with as much importance as you would a face-to-face one, and know when to move the interaction to a different medium.

3. Time Management

There are news stories out there about larger companies using things like motion sensors and wearable devices to manage their employees’ whereabouts. Besides being completely creepy and possibly unethical, it also feels counterintuitive to the idea of remote work, where knowing how to manage your own time is crucial for success.

There’s no one trick here. Put parameters in place that will help manage your time.

Many companies help their remote employees with remote work through metrics, which track numbers and other Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Some also set incremental goals for a project. Measures like these allow a company more visibility into their employees’ progress; they also help individual workers feel more on track with their work.

But at the end of the day, if you can’t get work done without having a manager looking over your shoulder, you won’t be able to find or keep a job for long.

4. You never too Old to Learn

The world is changing faster than ever before, and it’s only going to keep speeding up — especially where our work lives are concerned. If you stop learning, you’re going to fall behind. The only hope to get work in the future economy is to keep learning and embrace change.

And change….can be good for you.