Confinement due to the coronavirus has forced many companies to favor telecommuting, but working from home requires some special skills. Find out which ones.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many companies to respond quickly by adopting new technologies and new ways of doing things so that their employees can continue to operate from their homes. While many praises the way they managed to make the transition, telecommuting isn’t just about working from home. It requires employees to work differently, says the Harvard Business Review.
Teleworking is, therefore, not a simple relocation, but also imposes a different relationship with work and the employer. Four characteristics strongly impact the employee’s activity:
- Autonomy: it is more challenging to call colleagues for help or ask them for advice from their home. Most of the time, the teleworker has to make his own decisions.
- The schedule: telecommuting offers certain flexibility. The teleworker can organize time as he wishes. He is no longer subject to the rhythm of the company and other employees, such as during lunch breaks. This freedom can sometimes be scary and unproductive. Also, the teleworker has to deal with his family, which is not necessarily obvious.
- The interdependence of tasks: like any employee, the teleworker needs others to work. He must, therefore, ensure that he can communicate with his colleagues and manage to coordinate with them even if they do not work in the same place.
- Isolation: working from home deprives the employee of many social interactions and the support of his colleagues. In telecommuting situations, requests for help are less spontaneous and much more formal, which deprives the employee of a lot of free information, which helps him to understand the daily life of the company.
The necessary skills
Telecommuting begins by getting used to a new context in which interactions are limited. The characteristics of this new environment require the teleworker to master specific skills that allow managing the absence of colleagues and his usual work environment.
Harvard Business Review has identified six behavioral skills that have a significant influence on the performance of a teleworker:
- Understand your organization: know the rules and strategy of the company you work for
- Understand the needs of others: understand the needs of internal or external customers
- Solve complex problems: be able to analyze a complex issue and find solutions
- Know yourself: recognize your skills, your influence and what you can bring to the company
- Identify resource people: know the importance of colleagues and identify how they could contribute to our success
- Ensure the successful promotion of action, service or product
A successful teleworker as investment synonym thus has specific skills but also knows the resources of his organization. He is also able to promote his achievements so as not to be forgotten and to show that his actions help in the daily life of the company.
He also refrains from trying too hard to innovate. To be visible, people at the company need to understand what they are doing. Above all, he must be respectful of the company’s processes and show conformity, says the Harvard Business Review.
The biggest threat to the teleworker is to go under the radar of colleagues and superiors, and their tasks will not be recognized. This leaves the field open to the imagination. Not knowing what he is doing, other members of the company might wonder if he is working.