Five more skills that drive remote work effectiveness

By Mike Erlin

By Mike Erlin

Co-Founder & CEO

It’s Groundhog Day up and down the east coast of Australia. Lockdowns are likely to continue for weeks, if not months, and employees everywhere are once again working from home.

It may be tempting at this stage to just hope for the best and let the team cope (remotely), as well as they can. After all, we’re predicted to hit 80% vaccine coverage by mid-November. But a mounting pile of evidence is pointing to the fact that workers – empowered by an unprecedented skills shortage – will insist that remote working is here to stay. Companies who offer genuine flexibility as part of their employee value propositions will be in a much stronger position to retain their top talent.

There is nothing an employer can do about lockdowns, but there is plenty to do in terms of setting your team up for remote-working success. This includes regular mental-health check-ins, adjusting management styles, ensuring workers have access to the right tools, and so on.

The most impactful step you can take is to map out your team members’ capabilities to understand who has the potential to thrive in a remote environment, and who may require extra support.

AbilityMap gives managers an understanding of the skills that drive remote-working effectiveness and helps inform hiring decisions for future roles that are (increasingly) certain to involve remote work.

AbilityMap’s eight skills driving remote work effectiveness 

In our previous article on this topic, we discussed three key skills: operating independently, adapting to change, and coping with pressure.

Below, we explore the remaining five skills that drive remote work effectiveness. Remember, mapping your team’s abilities in this area is not only important for identifying top remote performers; it’s crucial for pinpointing team members who will need extra support and attention during the tough weeks ahead.

Showing professionalism

High scorers behave as professionally as they do at the office

According to AbilityMap’s Human Capability Framework, high-scorers in this capability will do their utmost to honour all commitments, even though they are virtual or remote calls. They log on to appointments on time, rarely turn up late or cancel at short notice. They dress appropriately (from the waist up, anyway), they are non-judgemental of others, and they can plan their time effectively even when removed from the watchful eye of their manager. Finally, they respect authority and different ways of working. 

Low scorers will need help with independent work

One of the most obvious signs of slipping standards is when an employee begins to dress inappropriately for video calls. While this isn’t an issue at all in some workplaces, other work cultures may take this more seriously; particularly with client-facing roles.

Other signs of slipping professionalism involve a lack of concern for confidentiality and little interest in the organisation’s values or the culture they are trying to build.

Displaying initiative

While an office-based worker with low initiative can be frustrating, they can become a major challenge in a remote setting where check-ins and direct management are limited. These employees can sometimes seem a bit robotic: they won’t act unless instructed to do so, and will rarely surprise you by solving a problem on their own. 

High scorers don’t wait for instruction

“There was a problem with the code, but I’ve already fixed the issue and alerted the rest of the team.”

High scorers enjoy tackling problems and do not wait to be instructed to achieve goals. They can throw new light on a situation and think of new ways of doing things. Workers with high initiative are curious to find new ways of addressing challenges and can take calculated risks when doing so.

Low scorers need prompting

“There’s a problem with the code, so I haven’t been able to get any work done on it today. What do you want me to do?”

Low scorers may need prompting to get things done, and often have no special urge to do something original. They are attached to conventional ways and do not have a good imagination, meaning they are unlikely to come up with creative solutions and put them into action.

Displaying integrity

Integrity is important in a remote workplace because there’s a great deal of trust involved.

High scorers do what they say they will do and stay the course

Workers with high integrity act according to their conscience; they follow the rules and do things by the book, even when away from the watchful eye of their manager. They have no sympathy for rule-breakers, and will not change their values or behaviour to suit the situation. Integrity is also linked to stamina, or the ability to pursue one goal for a long time. 

Low scorers do not follow through

It’s often impossible to know if a remote worker is slacking off until the time comes for them to deliver on their commitments. Workers with low scores in this area will make plans but not follow through on them. They may switch loyalties, and may adjust their values and/or behaviour to suit the situation.

Accepting responsibility

Accepting responsibility is about taking ownership of a project. High scorers in this area see things through to completion while low scorers leave it to others to complete unfinished work, creating extra work for their colleagues.

High scorers take the time to finish things properly

People who score highly in accepting responsibility complete their activities as soon as possible and will follow through on commitments despite any obstacles in the way. They’re hard workers and set high standards for themselves and others. Importantly, they accept the consequences of their actions.

Low scorers avoid taking ownership of projects

Low scorers in this area may leave things unfinished and are happy for others to do the work. They don’t always practice what they preach, may back out of commitments at the last moment, and avoid committing themselves to work.

Managing resources

Closely aligned with displaying initiative, managing resources involves the ability to set goals, focus on what matters, and get things done.

High scorers know how to get things done

High scorers in this capability area are able to deal efficiently with practical matters and can accomplish work on time. This enables them to control the outcome of events and complete tasks successfully. High scorers can effectively link facts together and achieve the desired outcome.

Low scorers need help to set goals and stay on-track

Workers with low capability in managing resources typically show little interest in understanding a work process or adapting plans to achieves outcomes within agreed timeframes. They tend to set goals that are either too easy or too difficult to achieve. Low scorers may occasionally become side-tracked on less important matters when obstacles present themselves and may complete tasks late or with poor quality due to a lack of planning.

Map your team’s remote working effectiveness and take action

Contact AbilityMap today to discover how our next-generation software can be used to objectively evaluate your team in these key areas, then use this information to take action.  

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