Top Skills to Hone in the Remote Work Environment

The alarm clock buzzes. You wake up, stretch, and eventually manage to pour yourself a cup of coffee. After a sip or two, you grab the laptop and press the power button. And, just like that, your work mode is “On.” This style of “working remotely” has brought up challenges that many of us have suddenly come face to face with for the first time over the past ten months.

With many companies announcing the extension of their work from home policies, it’s clear that remote work isn’t just a trend and is here to stay. The bad news, though, is that many of us are already tired of navigating challenges that remote work can sometimes bring. As more MSPs transition teams to remote arrangements, it is worth learning that it takes a different skill set to ace “working from home.” To succeed and thrive in a remote work environment, I suggest you focus on honing some already ‘sought-after’ skills.

Communication and collaboration

The ability to communicate and collaborate are essential skills to remain accountable in a remote setting. Working remotely doesn’t always mean working alone. You still need to be successful at connecting with teammates and your reporting manager. Think email, Teams chat, and Zoom meetings to stay connected.

To sharpen your ability to collaborate and communicate, make the most of project management tools your MSP uses, shared documents and folders, and Teams channels where you and your coworkers can chat without any noise.

Organization

The clock is ticking and each tick brings you closer to crucial deadlines or an important virtual meeting. Can you handle all these in a way so as to sign off at 5 PM as scheduled? Time management and multitasking are all about combining and organizing tasks and being on time – if not ahead. When you work from home, you have to be more disciplined in your organizational and scheduling skills. Work to build a schedule and make a ‘to-do’ list to maintain momentum and progress.

Having a decent workstation setup can also help. Make sure you have a good (and consistent) place to work. Maintain your focus by blocking out some of the distractions. Remove as much clutter from your space as possible so your focus is only on work. Embrace the fact that there will be interruptions. All you need to do is not dwelling on an interruption when it happens.

Customer care

As a technical support engineer, you will be involved in everything from resetting passwords to managing software licenses, helping clients deal with technical issues on the fly. During this process, you may sometimes have to deal with angry and impatient customers. This is where honing your customer care skills will help.

Carefully listening to customers’ concerns, figuring out exactly what the problem is, and calmly fixing the issue require a lot of patience and understanding. While working on each ticket, practice attention to detail, deep focus, and commitment. Soon, you will notice a positive change in your customer care abilities.

Resourcefulness and self-sufficiency

Self-efficacy and resourcefulness are by far the most important soft skills for a remote engineer (which are difficult to learn too). They both help you focus on the tasks at hand and execute them independently.

Remote employees need to be proactive and take initiative to get things done without being constantly reminded, monitored, or pinged for updates. So make sure you remain disciplined enough to meet your deadlines. Remember, many measurable skills come along with self-control, motivation, resilience, and discipline.

Adaptability

Remote jobs offer a lot of flexibility, but that flexibility goes beyond simply being able to choose your work location. Be ready to adopt new ways of working and sporadic changes. Display a willingness to learn and show a genuine interest in the latest MSP trends, honing skills critical to technical MSP jobs.

If you’re assigned to work with a new team, you might need to adapt to the way that team works. Unexpected challenges may also arise such as connectivity issues, server glitches, and failure of multi-factor authorization. Be prepared for these situations, know who to escalate them, and have a backup plan. Sometimes it takes a bit of creative problem solving to find a solution. Interestingly, that’s all part of being adaptable.

Balance

Working remotely can improve your work-life balance, but if you don’t have the discipline or set up to follow through, you won’t feel the benefits. With inconsistency, it might even get tricky to separate work life from home life.

It’s also easy to get carried away and either work too much or too little. Finding that sweet spot where you put in the right hours doing work and staying away from it is essential. So, differentiate between the time you should work and the time you should relax and take your mind off your to-do list.

Final Thought: Working remotely might be a challenge for some, but it is a great opportunity to gain valuable firsthand stress management experience and hone some in-demand skills. If done right, the overall experience can offer you a chance to evolve, both personally and professionally.

More from ITBD

leadership style

Your firsthand guide to choosing the right leadership style

There was a time when organizations thrived with their comfortable hierarchies, everything moving up the chain of command and decisions…

Read Full Story

Becoming Invaluable at Work | 6 Hacks to Fast-track Your Success

Even in today’s economy, there are plentiful opportunities for professionals with top-notch tech skills and a strong value system. But…

Read Full Story

Turning your passion for technology into a successful career

When I interviewed candidates for engineering roles, one attribute I assessed them on was their "passion for technology." I am…

Read Full Story
Arrow-up