How to Build the Soft Skills All Remote Workers Need

Posted on
August 3, 2020
Billy Mike
from myQuest

When preparing to enter or rise within the workforce, both employers and employees often focus on hard skills: the teachable and measurable abilities that are more obvious and quantifiable than soft skills. However, soft skills, the skills that relate to work habits and personality, are just as important as hard skills, especially since working became remote. 

Soft skills can help employees accelerate their career, accomplish their goals, and make them stronger future applicants. Some examples of important soft skills are:

  • Organization 
  • Independence 
  • Personality 
  • Communication 
  • Teamwork 
  • Leadership 
  • Time management 
  • Teamwork 

Due to the current global situation, soft skills are now used and displayed in different ways. Since people are working alone from home, the soft skills regarding personal work ethic and independence have increased in importance. There is no longer supervision or in-person communication or contact, causing people to be more self-reliant when working. Having strong soft skills, specifically organization, independence, personality and communication, set employees, and therefore your organization, apart from other companies in the industry. 

Efficiently communicating through screens 

Communication may seem like an obvious skill that everyone has, however, there is more to the word communication than just speaking with others. Moreover, since face to face interaction has temporarily stalled, it is important to develop a strong routine regarding checking messages and conversing with fellow employees. Communication includes, but is not limited to, response time, diction and having successful conversations through various channels.

With employees now working remotely, it is vital to have a quick response time. No one has the ability to walk to someone’s office and get their question answered on the spot, which can consequently delay many employees' projects or work days. Having a quick response time benefits your coworkers and contributes to having the company, as a whole, run more smoothly and efficiently. 

Additionally, diction now has a strong effect on coworkers. When communicating with employees through email, messaging, or texting, things can be easily misinterpreted due to the lack of body language, tone and facial expressions. Therefore, word choice and syntax have become essential in making coworkers feel comfortable and supported. 

The constantly progressing technology world has also given us many different means of communicating. There is now email, texting, discussion boards and more to learn how to use and check throughout the day. While it can be stressful or time consuming to continuously check messages and learn how to communicate in different ways, it is key in being successful when working from home. 

Teaching employees how to rely on themselves

Before the pandemic hit, having independent workers was greatly desired; since employees are currently out of office, there is now not a want, but a need for employees to be independent. Working from home has caused employees to have different work schedules, a lack of supervision, and communication through technology only. If an employee lacks independence, these changes can be detrimental to their success on the job.

Employees should take initiative when starting new tasks, be on top of their own schedules and look to find answers to their own questions. Due to the differentiating work schedules among employees and not having face to face communication, there is often a delay in answering questions. If employees are independent, they will still be able to have a successful work day regardless of the answering time of their peers or managers. 

There are alternatives when an employee is unsure about a task or has a question. Having the independence to either research the answer to your own questions, start the task in a different way, or move on to another project has become increasingly important in a solo work environment.

Since working from home does not give employers a chance to overlook their employees directly, performing well is crucial to the success of the company. The lack of supervision that accompanies working alone should not be a problem if you are independent. Employers should be able to trust their employees enough to not feel as though they need to watch and chaperone them. Showing your employer that you can successfully work alone also benefits them and therefore makes you a desirable and high-level employee.  

Organizing the workspace 

Changing work environments can be stress-inducing and messy for anyone and everyone involved. Creating a schedule and an organized work environment will help employees succeed when working from home. 

Organizing one’s work area will not only benefit the employee directly, but will also help their coworkers and company. Organization gives employees the ability to easily contribute to conversations and ideas, streamlining projects. It also benefits other employees because when they reach out to their peers asking for a document or more information, they are able to get a quick and concise reply - an important, aforementioned soft skill. 

Organizing the work computer, desk and surrounding area will also help employees gain control of their work life during this uncertain time. Some stress of this uneasy, fluid time will be unintentionally subdued when one’s work environment is arranged well and systematized. 

Additionally, separating work from home environments will cause clarity and lessen overlap between the two realms of life. Studies consistently show that it is beneficial to work in a different place than where you eat, sleep and lounge. If you create an organized, designated workspace, it will help you be successful and efficient and even overall benefit your life. 

Encouraging employees to be themselves

Being personable is a great and sought-after trait that makes employees stand out. When working remotely, it can be hard to show emotion through a screen, however it's important to display engagement and excitement when working. People who are able to express themselves in this way not only make friends in the office and boost morale but also make projects or tasks more efficient. When someone is friendly and not afraid to show their personality, it allows coworkers to be more comfortable around them which can translate when working together. 

A comfortable and happy environment is critical in running a successful business and personality positively helps this environment. Being personable and showing your personality will cause you to be well-liked by your peers and will benefit you in the long run. 

How to support and build your employees’ soft skills 

Although soft skills can come naturally, it is important to encourage your employees to continue building up their soft skills. Delivering soft skills training programs to your employees will help them invest the time needed to build those skills and realize how important they are. 

When delivering soft skills training, try to use a platform that allows constant communication and collaboration. Encourage employees to discuss and share their experiences, as well as practice what they have learned in real-world situations. 

Want to learn more about how myQuest helps to grow and support soft skills? Book a call with us today.

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