Not everyone is cut out to be a great remote IT worker. It requires a specific combination of skills and a commitment to the organization. Even as more positions are identified for their potential to be performed remotely, you may need to demonstrate you are the right kind of employee for the job. If you want to show management you have the right knowledge and mindset to work remotely, here are four ways to get you started.
Telecommuting means you are often left to your own devices. You will be solely responsible for managing your workload and must be accountable for anything that slips by you. This requires strong organizational skills to properly manage your tasks and deadlines. You won’t have someone checking in on your assignments at the same frequency and may miss out on some of the tools that are available in formal work environments.
To make a remote position work, you must prove you can manage your space and time effectively. You need to show you have the wherewithal to be responsible at a level beyond the standard IT employee to guarantee your work will be completed to the same standard as it would in the office. At times, this will include managing your priorities while understanding that there might not be anyone available to back you up if you fall behind.
A drawback of working remotely is the difficulty of effective communication. This means remote workers need to focus on communicating with the team as often as possible. Initially, this is an area where less is not more. You need to touch base with co-workers and regularly and participate in group decision making whenever possible.
Luckily, the number of video conferencing, messaging and presentation solutions make this a simpler task than it was even a few years ago. During work hours, go out of your way to be accessible on as many shared communication platforms as possible and respond quickly. After an adjustment period, you can modify your methods to meet the needs of the team, but erring on the side of caution in the beginning is wise.
A common concern about remote employees is the likelihood they will be distracted by other activities in their purview. While telecommuting can allow you to better manage your work and life obligations, you need to show you can work without distraction whenever required. This may involve creating a dedicated home office space that can be secluded from other household happenings.
For example, having an office with a door will allow you to shut out extraneous sounds during conference calls and create a serene environment for heads-down work. If such a space is not available, working remotely may not be the best solution for you.
Telecommuting means you may miss out on training and learning opportunities. You will not be on-site for vendor product demonstrations and may not have as much hands-on experience with certain software-based solutions. It is also more challenging to get help from co-workers since you don’t share a space.
To compensate for not being in the office, work with your manager to create a career development plan that can be managed remotely. Find out about webinar opportunities and conferences in your region. If an individual article has value, ask that it be forwarded along. You may have to explore options on your own for staying abreast of industry developments.
Once you have those key areas covered, you can demonstrate your readiness to work as a remote IT employee to management. However, if you live near an office location, be prepared for the arrangement to change if the results are not ideal.