Everyone remembers entering their first professional role, but how many can say they did so in a fully remote work environment? As a recent college graduate and one of the newest additions to the Metis team, I can, and it certainly has been an unorthodox beginning to postgraduate life.
With over two years of the pandemic under our belt, companies across the globe have adjusted to remote work, many implementing hybrid schedules for employees. Still, while launching a career at this time has been a bit different, holding benefits and drawbacks, I’ve been able to identify a number of skills that are already proving essential to my growth.
The Top Five Essential Skills for Remote Jobs
In today’s world, anyone working in a remote environment needs to have sufficient digital literacy skills. To be digitally literate, one must possess stellar grammar and composition - a prerequisite for all PR professionals - and also the ability to produce text, images, audio and designs using many different forms of technology.
As a full-time college student during the pandemic, I found digital literacy can be learned and improved upon with practice. Taking free online training courses, subscribing to WIRED Magazine and other digital culture outlets, following technology trends and increasing my presence on social media platforms are a few of the things I’ve done to elevate my digital literacy skills.
Whether working in-person or remotely, distractions in the workplace are unavoidable. I’ve found keeping these distractions to a minimum is manageable with self-discipline and a game plan for the days I’m at my desk.
Throughout the remote years of college, and again in the first few weeks of my career, I discovered just how important it is to be my own supervisor. Remote environments come with many perks, but it requires self-restraint against distractions. There isn’t someone there to make sure I’m staying on task and being productive.
Working within my own timeline has been a major benefit when implemented responsibly, but it is just as easy to lose track of time without proper personal management. Setting reminders on my devices and using task trackers have been two great ways to ensure I am staying productive.
Open and honest communication
Since, in some ways, remote work requires one to become their own supervisor, it only makes sense that communication with your actual supervisor needs to be clear, honest and open.
In my time at Metis, I have learned that being proactive is just as essential to the job as completing my actual tasks. Without the in-person element, it can be difficult to collaborate with colleagues, so speaking up and expressing my needs has been key to getting the most out of the role while managing my workload.
Strong organizational habits
Did you know that our brains prioritize order and organization? According to a study conducted by the Princeton University Neuroscience Institute, constant disruptive visual stimuli - like clutter around our desks - drain our cognitive resources and reduce our ability to focus.
Digital technology can be prone to malfunctions, but keeping a clean and organized desk is one of the few things remote workers have complete control over. In my own experiences working at home with Metis, I find it most beneficial to use my desk space solely for work. That way, when I’m sitting in this space, I know I need to be in full-on work mode.
Passion for the job/industry
At the end of the day, there is only so much an email or Zoom call can relay. Yet, as PR and marketing professionals, we still know what it takes to ensure communication and collaboration is running smoothly and efficiently across digital platforms.
With the lack of in-person connection, I’ve learned above all else that the job I’m doing really does have to “spark joy” and fulfill my creative aspirations. When it comes down to remote work, I know I have to be passionate about my assignments and completing my day-to-day goals, otherwise, it can be hard to sit in the same place day in and day out - regardless of where the work gets done.
Working remotely can and has provided me with many roadblocks, but just as equally - if not more - it has provided me with opportunities. By developing these remote work skills, staying open to adapting, and staying inspired by my day-to-day work, I know working remotely will be a great fit for me and many others in my position.