7 Soft Skills Employees Must Have to
Succeed in Today’s Remote Workforce
Before COVID-19, there were 4.7 million remote workers in the US alone, which is equal to 3.4 percent of the entire workforce. This pandemic has accelerated the adoption of remote work. According to Kate Lister, Global Workplace Analytics President, “Our best estimate is that 25-30% of the workforce will be working from home multiple days a week by the end of 2021.”
From an employee standpoint, it is good news because it provides them a better work-life balance, more freedom increases their productivity, satisfaction and saves them from the hassle of commuting for work. On the flip side, employers now have a larger pool of talent to choose from. They can hire remote workers or freelancers by paying lower salaries and can save a lot of money in terms of heating, cooling, lighting, and office rent. In short, it is a win-win situation for both parties.
Employees must up their game to stay relevant in the competitive remote workforce environment. To stand out from the crowd and get hired, employees need soft skills to go along with their technical skillset. Here are seven soft skills employees need to succeed in a remote work environment.
- Flexible Mindset
If you have a rigid mindset that is not ready to adapt and change according to the changing dynamics of the workplace, you will struggle to compete with others in today’s workplace. Josh Christopherson, CEO of Achieve Today, a skill-building platform shares his experience, “I have learned the value of ‘intellectual humility,’ or the ability to have ideas tomorrow that can contradict ideas today” He further adds, “Essentially, it is the flexibility of mind. The more you practice this mindset, the more flexible you’ll be as a manager and leader in any situation that arises.”
Suzanne Bates, CEO of Bates Communication, which is an executive coaching and assessment company thinks that if there is one soft skill which employees should master, it is authenticity. She says, “Leaders who are high in authenticity build trust and put others at ease by sharing their own emotions and experiences and revealing stories and lessons that resonate with others’ own situations.”
Another advantage of remote work is that it has removed all the hurdles which prevent employees from being authentic. According to her, “We have had to tackle difficult issues in a real way, and in many cases, as leaders, we are sharing more about our feelings and experiences than we usually share because we are also going through such a challenging and unprecedented time.”
Resourcefulness is not about having the best HOSTNOC dedicated servers. It is more about the state of mind. Kimberly Roush, Founder of All-Star Executive Coaching has a unique take on resourcefulness. She thinks that empathetic, playful, confident, energetic, curious, joyful, engaged, and grateful are some of the states of mind associated with resourcefulness while stress, doubt, and fear are linked to the opposite. According to her, “People are often unresourceful when they feel overwhelmed, or when they become judgmental.”
Due to remote work, employees can no longer have a conversation at the water cooler or conduct work desk check-ins. This means that remote workers should stay available for collaboration and percolate actively in virtual meetings. Establish a two-way communication channel connecting remote employees with their employers. This is especially important when you must connect on a human level.
Sara Tallion, Engagement Manager at Theorem suggests that managers should, “offer to brainstorm over video chat if a colleague is facing a task roadblock, and don’t be afraid to turn to your team if you need help, too.”
Suzanne Bates shares the secret of how you can influence people. According to her, “Telling stories is a great way to create mutual understanding and mobilize people. Presenting them with a challenge and then sharing a story about overcoming it helps you to get out of telling mode and create meaning behind what you say.”
She shares a perfect example, “Instead of just saying I believe in my team,” a leader should go above and beyond and say. ‘I believe in this team because a year ago we faced a similar challenge when we got behind in delivering on customer orders. We rose to the occasion then, and we did it because all of you dug deep and were resourceful. You got together and removed some of the red tapes, and we ended up exceeding our goals. And this is what is going to help us move forward during this challenging time.”
Small changes to your sentences can make a huge difference when it comes to motivating your team. When things are not going your way, tell your team members how you overcome the biggest hurdles and come out successful. Your past successes will drive you through tough times in the future.
David Suzuki summed it up brilliantly when he said, “The human brain had vast memory storage. It made us curious and very creative. Those were the characteristics that gave us an advantage – curiosity, creativity, and memory. And that brain did something very special. It invented an idea called ‘the future.’”
It is a curiosity that opens new avenues of knowledge, persuades us to explore the unexplored. Ask questions whenever there is a doubt but make sure these questions are specific instead of generic. This can help you learn a lot of things that you did not know before.
Martyn Newman defines optimism as, “Optimism is a strategy for sensing new opportunities, seeing over the horizon and developing deep emotional courage and resilience in the face of setbacks.” Optimism is an important part of emotional intelligence, which is a soft skill every employee must-have.
Kimberly Roush raises two important question,
- Do we want to go through life in a cautious, negative state, always looking out for something bad that is going to happen and perhaps even bringing it on?
- Do we rewire ourselves so that we see it all as part of the ride?
According to her, “What we can control is how we respond. We can choose the mindset and the mood that we wake up with every morning.”
Which soft skills do you give the most weightage when hiring remote workers? Let us know in the comments section below.