I'm still amazed almost every time I'm on a video call or even just checking into our chat room here at Skillcrush — and not only because of the awesome work everyone is doing. You see, our whole team works remotely. We're located everywhere from the U.S. to Germany, from Argentina to Canada, and from Finland to Nepal. Not to mention several other points in between.
And we all love the benefits of working remotely — living where you want to or need to, having a flexible schedule, seeing your family and friends more often, doing hobbies you love, and sometimes traveling the world.
So, how can you get in on all this work-life balance goodness? Here are three skills that are must-haves if you want to land a remote job — plus practical tips on how to develop them right away so that you can go for that dream position as soon as you find it.
Wishing you didn't always hear co-workers gossiping in the hall or just dying not to have your supervisor "pop by" your desk every twenty minutes with changes to your projects? If you work remotely, you'll be able to enjoy peace and quiet while working from home or maybe even the sounds of nature while working from your favorite park. But that means you'll have to keep yourself focused and on schedule since nobody will be around to do that for you.
You can start developing your discipline now by getting familiar with tools like Trello or Todoist for tracking your tasks and apps like Toggl or Harvest for tracking your time. Showing you're a pro at staying on top of your time already now will make you an attractive candidate when you're applying for remote jobs.
Although you won't be sitting in the same office as your co-workers, you'll still need to keep in touch with them. And, since you won't have the advantages face-to-face meetings can give, you'll need to be a real ninja when it comes to making yourself understand in both written and spoken form across the miles and miles of the Internet.
To get yourself ready for the challenges of online communication, you'll need to master some collaboration software and services. That means getting to know video conferencing via, for example, Google Hangouts or Skype, feeling comfortable using team chat services like Slack or HipChat, and knowing the in's and out's of collaboration apps such as Google Drive or Dropbox. If you aren't already using tools like these in your current job, consider suggesting them for your team or using them with volunteer or hobby groups you're in. But even just digging into them on your own will get you one step closer to having the skills you need for remote work.
Beyond using online tools for time management and communication, you can really stand out when you're applying for remote jobs by having fundamental tech skills down pat. Remote jobs are abundant in the tech industry itself, but feeling comfortable with some code can help you in any field and almost any job nowadays.
For example, if you can find your way around a content management system like WordPress, you can help companies (or clients) anywhere maintain their websites, blogs, or online stores. Or, if you know some HTML and CSS, you can create beautiful marketing emails that will win over new customers. And, with some understanding of a programming language like Ruby on Rails, you can be the one to come to the rescue when there's a glitch in the corporate software.
Whether you dream of working from the comfort of your couch or exotic locales around the world, remote jobs are a terrific option for having a life you love while still earning the money you need. And, by using the tips here, you can learn the skills to get a great job you can do from anywhere.
Adda Birnir is a member of the DailyWorth Connect program. Read more about the program here.