To succeed as a remote worker, you need to be self-motivated. While some employers monitor their distributed workforce more than others, every employer wants to see that their workers can hit their goals without micromanagement.
If you’re not feeling driven to show initiative in your work, the first question to ask is, “Do I need a new job?”
IMPORTANT: If your job isn’t the problem, you may need some new habits. Try setting small goals, working in short bursts, or tackling tasks in batches.
Many interviewers will ask the question, “Are you self-motivated?” The answer should be a resounding “Yes”—but don’t stop there. Be prepared to offer specific examples of how you keep yourself motivated.
A Willingness to Ask for Help
Asking for help can be challenging in any work environment. When you work remotely, it can be even more difficult to swallow your pride and admit that you need clarification, assistance or a second set of eyes on a problem. On the other hand, if you’re good at recognizing that you need a hand, you’ll have a massive advantage over those who difficulty reaching out for help.
If you find it awkward to reach out for assistance, start by lending others a hand. Not only will this build morale and improve your relationships with your coworkers, but it will buy you some goodwill.
IMPORTANT: If you become known as someone always willing to help others, you’ll find you have plenty of people ready to assist you when you need it.
Hiring managers often ask candidates to share their biggest work-related challenges and how they overcame them. This is a tricky question because you don’t want to dwell on your failures, even if they’re long in the past. But if you share a story about how you reached out to a colleague to learn a new skill you can demonstrate that you’re self-motivated and eager to learn, and a good team player.
Teamwork and Collaboration
Being able to get along with others and cooperate to achieve a goal is essential in any job. But when you’re working remotely, it’s even more important to prioritize collaboration and communication among teammates.
In practice, this means being proactive about reaching out to your colleagues. If you’re a manager, setting and keeping regular one-on-one meetings should be part of your approach.
IMPORTANT: If you’re an individual contributor, it’s important to understand how your manager and colleagues communicate best.
The easiest way to do this is to reach out and ask your team-mates, “What works best for you—Slack, email, or Zoom?”
It’s also essential to respect other points of view during your communications with teammates. You’re not going to agree on every issue, and that’s for the best: hearing multiple opinions and perspectives will allow your team to find the most effective solutions. The best teams are the ones that expect and manage conflict.
Respect for others is essential for remote work. Also, it’s helpful to practice giving others the benefit of the doubt. Especially when you’re communicating via messaging or email, it’s easy to mistake people’s tone. Clarify before you assume.
Interviewers ask questions about teamwork to determine whether you can work well with groups and what kind of role you generally adopt in team settings (leader, follower, mediator, etc.). Practice answering these questions in a way that demonstrates you’re emotionally intelligent, collaborative, and flexible.