Remote employment is here to stay, and it’s growing quickly as millennials and Gen Z embrace the flexibility that comes with the remote lifestyle. In fact, there’s a growing shift from the traditional office environment, both for individuals and companies.
What does this increase in remote workers mean to businesses?
- Wider hiring pool. You no longer need to search for local talent—you now have an entire world of talent to choose from.
- Fewer office and utility expenses. With a smaller office and fewer employees driving to work, you use fewer utilities, pay less rent, and generate a smaller carbon footprint. Also, if you find your dream talent in Argentina, you can hire them on without needing to pay for travel and relocation expenses.
- Increased job satisfaction. Employees given the option to work remotely report higher job satisfaction and boosted productivity.
With technology enabling more and more distance jobs, it makes sense for the hiring process to change alongside. Often, the qualities of great in-office workers might not be the best in remote employees. This is because remote employees thrive in an independent environment without much direct oversight. Here at Maestro, we’re growing the number of our remote employees. We have remote and world-traveling employees who do their part (and do it well!) from Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Florida, and (occasionally) even South Africa. Because of this, we have a lot of experience finding remote employees who fit into the team, even from thousands of miles away.
Here are eight important characteristics to look for in remote employees—right from one of our talented world-travelers, Liz.
1. Proactive initiative-takers
Remote employees have the confidence to take initiative. Since they’re rarely (if ever) in the office, it’s easy for management to overlook them when scheduling meetings and projects. But great remote employees won’t wait for management to fix this problem. They’ll keep an eye on the calendar and inter-office communications, such as Slack, invite themselves to meetings, and ask about helping out on current or upcoming projects. And if they don’t have any tasks for the week, they’ll look for new ways to increase efficiency on future projects.
2. Punctual communication is their specialty
Remote employees focus on clear communication. Out-of-sight, out-of-mind is a problem for all remote workers, and they’re aware and ready to find solutions. They’re not afraid to send multiple emails to in-office coworkers, then follow up with chat messages to remind coworkers to check their email. Sound obnoxious? At first, that might be true. But as the office gets used to remote employees, people develop better habits for efficient communication and collaboration.
And because remote employees are proactive initiative-takers, they’ll find out what communication techniques work best for each coworker. For example, if the marketing director responds fastest to chat messages, the remote employee will always prioritize that method for future communication.
3. Skilled time management, regardless of time zone
The main draw of remote work is independence, and remote employees don’t always have someone checking in to make sure they’re on task. If a remote employee misses a meeting because they miscalculated time zones, that’s their mistake. So, great remote employees usually have a sharp sense of time management.
When managing remote employees, it’s also a good idea to set accountability or progress meetings. At each meeting, work together with your remote employees to create a list of tasks to complete between each progress meeting. Clearly stating expectations helps everyone (remote and in office) must be intentional with their time.
4. Solve problems for the best solutions
Nothing is more annoying and inefficient than being stuck in a 50-email-long conversation about what would normally be a short, in-person chat. Remote employees understand the importance of bulletproofing their work (such as triple checking for typos, bugs, errors, and more) before presenting. This way, when revisions start, the email chain stays manageable for the sake of everyone’s sanity.
5. Passionate about the work and company culture
Some people view work as commuting to an office, sitting for eight hours a day, getting paid, and going home. But just clocking in eight hours a day doesn’t lead to efficient or effective work—or a good fit with the culture of the company. Great employees have passion and drive for their work. They understand what the company stands for, and they live out that culture in every project.
This is even more important when working remote. The boss isn’t walking by every so often catching remote employees on social media, and they’re usually a solo representation of their company. So, great remote employees find motivation in the work they do and the company they work for, not just because they’re filling their eight-hour quota.
6. Tech wizards in their own right
Remote employees don’t have an in-office IT specialist when things go wrong, and finding help locally takes time away from productivity. It might sound straightforward, but good remote employees have the skills to resolve their own internet issues and IT problems.
7. Comfortable not always knowing the inside jokes
Remote employees miss out on a lot of the inter-office events, friendships, inside jokes, and water cooler gossip. But while they have passion for their work, great remote employees accept their differences from in-office employees and guard against isolation by developing a healthy personal life outside of work.
8. Always focused on growth and improvement
Think for a moment about a fixed mindset vs. a growth mindset. A fixed mindset operates according to preconceived notions, and does not embrace change or self-improvement. A growth mindset is the healthy opposite and always looks for ways to keeping improving. While a growth mindset is critical for any employee, it’s essential for remote employees. For example, if a remote worker feels their ideas are not being heard during video meetings, they have two possible mindsets:
- Fixed Mindset: I’m bad at speaking. I’m going to just listen.
- Growth Mindset: Since I’m having trouble explaining this, I’m going to sketch a concept of my idea and screen share to make my ideas clearer.
Good remote workers see project setbacks, coworker difficulties, or other issues as opportunities for improvement.
Tying it all together
Great remote employees are independent and growth-minded, and when armed with the right collaboration software, they’re also talented team players. The next time you’re ready to hire a remote employee, keep these eight traits in mind, and find someone who fits right into your company culture.
After all, you now have a whole world of talent to choose from.
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