8 Critical Skills for Remote Work Success | Distribute Consulting | Skillshare

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8 Critical Skills for Remote Work Success

teacher avatar Distribute Consulting, Remote Work Experts

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

10 Lessons (1h 2m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Class Project Overview

    • 3. History of Remote Work

    • 4. The 8 Critical Skills for Remote Work Success

    • 5. Remote Work Killers & Keys to Success

    • 6. Communication & Empathy

    • 7. Trust & Accountability

    • 8. Critical Thinking & Adaptability

    • 9. Discipline & Self-Motivation

    • 10. Conclusion

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About This Class


Whether you’re a new or seasoned remote worker, this class will help you develop and master the 8 essential skills required for remote work success. You’ll learn the importance of each skill and how to apply them by developing your own personal remote work success plan.

Meet Your Teacher

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Distribute Consulting

Remote Work Experts


About Distribute Consulting:

Distribute Consulting is the world's foremost thought leader and consulting firm specializing exclusively in remote work. Our team of international telework experts help businesses start, strengthen, and leverage virtual workforces to solve corporate and socioeconomic concerns. Through webinars, sprints, and consultations, we eliminate virtual worker discrimination, prevent policy retraction, increase remote job accessibility, train distributed leaders, and design economic initiatives.

Contact us at info@distributeconsulting.com, or connect on linkedin. 


About Laurel Farrer: 

As the Founder of Distribute Consulting and the Remote Work Association, Laurel Farrer starts, strengthens, and leverages virtual wor... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Hi, my name is Laurel [inaudible]. I'm an internationally renowned remote work expert, and I am here to teach you about the critical skills for remote work success. Whether you're new to working from home or you're just traveling more often from your job or you are starting to either that new local co-working space. These are skills that will really make or break your success in working in work environment that's outside of an office. I have been working remotely for over 14 years. So I like to say that I had been working remotely before it was cool that entire time, I had been taking companies from physical to virtual as an operations manager. Then about five years ago I founded distribute consulting, which has become the foremost consulting firm in the world that specializes exclusively in remote work. We are honored to be able to serve governments and more than 500 companies on what it takes to optimize remote work in their organizations. So I've been hiring hundreds of remote workers over my decade plus of remote work experience, and really no overtime what it takes and what I should be looking for as I'm interviewing new candidates, would it really breaks down to, are these skills, are you able to self-manage? Are you able to be in control of your workday? Are you able to supervise yourself effectively? Those are the skills that we're going to be teaching you. We're going to be teaching you how to be a reliable virtual team member and how to stay productive without the supervision of peers or a manager around you. That's what we're going to be discussing and perfecting in this course. I'm excited to learn with you and let's get started. 2. Class Project Overview: In this course, Critical Skills for Remote Work Success, we're going to be going through the following workflow. First, we'll start by discussing the deliverable of this course or the course project, which is called a remote work success plan. This is an individual success plan or a leadership development plan that you need in order to identify what your goals and objectives are for working remotely. How are you going to set the structure in your life in order to make remote work work? Then finally, we'll get into the bulk of the course content, which are those eight critical skills of remote work success. They will be bundled into pairs, two skills per module, and we'll be going through all eight. They are; communication and empathy, trustworthiness and accountability, critical thinking and adaptability, and discipline and self motivation. Let's get started. The remote work success plan is the individual form of that policy. A policy is between an employer and employee, but the remote work success plan is for anybody that chooses to work remotely to set and enforce expectations for themselves. This is going to be applicable if you are a freelancer, or an entrepreneur, or a team member, or even a leader or executive of large corporation. If you are working remotely, you'll be able to find a good use for this success plan. It can be used just on an individual basis, or it can be plugged into training and on-boarding, or it can be enforced with your clients. However you choose to use it is up to you, but just know it's going to really help articulate what you need as an individual professional to make remote work work. Well, that's it for an introduction. Let's go ahead and get started into module 1, and let's dive deeper into that remote work success plan. 3. History of Remote Work: All right, so now it's time to talk about the history of remote work. Now you might think that remote work is just a trend, this is something that you've just started hearing about in the past few years and so it may be surprising to see it done in such a huge scale all of the sudden, that is not true or accurate, even a tiny little bit. Let's bust that myth right now and talk about what the real history of remote work is. Now, if you're not a history buff that's okay, stick with me. I don't really like history either but this is important information to know for any remote worker because it tells us why these skills are so important to us in this type of work environment. What we need to do first is go all the way back a few hundred years to the Industrial Revolution. All right, so if we go back to the Industrial Revolution, that's important because that was the birth of the centralized workplace. This is when people started coming together in the same place, at the same time to get work done. This was the birth of the factory. Because of that we had everything physical all the physical workflows, physical workplaces, physical equipment, physical workers, physical processes, everything was physical because we were producing physical goods, physical products. This is how work operated for the next several hundred years as we had all of these physical processes and that we needed to manage. Now, what happened is in about 1970 was the birth of telework. Yeah, 1970 a half of a century ago is when teleworking, telecommuting, remote work as we know it today, was originally introduced. This was the beginning of all of those physical processes that used to happen now starting to become virtual. We have virtual work forces, we have virtual workplaces, we have virtual processes, we have virtual equipment for tool management styles like that's where everything started to change over. That is the bridge that we need to gap in our own mindset is converting everything in our habits and in our workflows and management styles from physical into virtual. How do we as individuals operate in this new virtual industrial revolution? Now, going back to that 1970 piece let's zoom into that a little bit more. Teleworking, telecommuting really became a possibility in the 1970s and grew in popularity in the 1980s and 1990s. However, the technology was still pretty expensive at that time. It was fairly inaccessible and the internet connections were pretty slow. If any of you remember what it was like back then, if you're my age or older, you remember that, eee-ahhh, right. That kind of noise. It was not an easy thing to log onto the Internet and then therefore do your work and via the Internet. What has really grown and really fueled the progress and development of remote work is the accessibility of the technology and the equipment that enabled remote work. In the 2000s that's when we saw the rise of remote because that's when smartphones came out that's when Wi-Fi became publicly accessible. It really enabled the work from anywhere mentality because that technology and equipment was also mobile. We didn't have to be tied into expensive equipment in a specific location. That's really when the conversation really started to gain some traction and then in 2020, that's when we hit a peak. Now in 2019, we as remote work advocates and thought leaders knew that 2020 was going to be a big year. We knew that a lot of media outlets were starting to cover remote work more often, there were some really large prominent employers that were starting to be much more public about offering jobs remotely. It was starting to become a very competitive advantage in retaining talent and in acquiring new talent and in such a big war for talent during a big economic bubble, it was a really big, big conversation. We knew that 2020 was going to be a big year for remote work. We just didn't know how big of a year. Obviously the global pandemic of coronavirus in March 2020 really made the entire concept of remote work boom so much larger and in such an unexpected way. Within the matter of two weeks, over 60 percent of the world's workforce was working from home. It became a critical component to economic resiliency and business continuity. Not only was this a conversation about convenience and should we, could we is it even possible? But it became a critical contingency plan for almost every single business on the planet. We either need to figure out how to work from home and how to enable remote work in our organizations or our businesses may not survive. It became a transition from a want into a need that made remote work into an international conversation. That's where we are today, is that most of us, including you, are probably thinking about remote work and converting to remote work because of the transitions and because of the events that have taken place over the past 50 years. From the equipment becoming more accessible to the conversation being much more credible. That's why you have permission to work remotely today. 4. The 8 Critical Skills for Remote Work Success: The research about the eight skills that are critical to remote work success can be credited to our dear friend, Roberta Sawatzky from the Okanagan College of Business in Canada. She is a remote worker herself, as well as the mother of a remote worker in digital nomad, so she understands the importance of this work model and has dedicated years of research to understanding critical objectives and components of success in a remote work environment. What were your primary findings? What did this reveal? There is a competencies that bubbled to the surface. We rated them based on the percentage that remote worker said, these are crucial. We really need these. The top line widths communication, 100 percent communication and in all aspects of communication. The second one was self-leadership. That idea of managing yourself, leading yourself. The third they said was being trustworthy. We hear that so many times that the foundation for successful working in remote and teams anywhere is that trustworthiness. Fourth was discipline. Fifth was taking initiative and being curious. Six was adaptable and then finally the seventh was confidence. That whole idea of self-efficacy came into play. When we were asked to produce a course about the absolutely essential information that you need to know as a remote worker, a lot of people assumed that the content would include tech instructions, right? The tools that you need to know and how to set up your workspace and what equipment you need in order to enable a work from home environment. However, we as advocates and as consultants and as experts understand that tools are just tools. A paintbrush is a tool but you're going to get very different results from that paintbrush based on how you're trained to use it. That's why we want to focus on the soft skills that are critical to remote work because you can have any setup that you want. You can invest thousands of $ into equipment or you can just be working off your smart phone on a couch and neither of those things have anything to do with making or breaking your success as a remote worker. They're going to help but remember, remote work has been happening for over 50 years. We didn't have video calls back then. We didn't have Wi-Fi, Cloud Dock. We didn't have any of those things, but we were still able to work remotely because of how we worked, so what we want to do with this course is teach you how to use those tools in an optimized way. How you need to change as yourself, as you being a tool in order to be the best remote worker that you can be. That way tools are going to be something that enhance and supplement your success. But you're not going to be dependent on tools in order to be successful and productive in your role. That's the importance of soft skills in remote work. They are the training on how to use the tools. Remote work is not dependent on tools themselves. 5. Remote Work Killers & Keys to Success: I often find that it's easier to understand what something is when I first understand what it isn't. To get this conversation started about how critical these skills are, I'm first going to tell you what you're trying to avoid as a remote worker. What are the three most common killers of remote work that are most likely to sabotage your success. The first killer is isolation. We understand that isolation is not so much social as it is informational. What this means is that people don't necessarily miss sitting next to somebody, they miss having access to somebody. Because in our jobs, people are a resource and so when we have the accessibility to our coworkers to say, "Hey, can you look at something really quick?" Or, "What would you do then this situation?" Or, "Did you see that?" Or, "Do you think I should apply?" All of those questions. Just having access to other people. That is really an enabler in our ability to do our work well. When we feel cut off from those people in our work, we feel cut off from our ability to do our job well. The second killer that we want to avoid is burnout. Most managers have this fear about when they allow their team to work remotely, that they think that the workers are never going to work, right? If they send them home from the office, that the workers are just going to end up watching Netflix and eating popcorn all day. In actuality, remote workers on average work more than office workers. They're working a lot more. An average of two hours a day more than office workers. Now that's great for productivity and so a lot of managers see those results and think that's fantastic. Let's keep working from home and everyone keep these great results coming. Then what that turns into is this pressure to perform and so workers that were already working more feel a pressure to work even more than they already were and so that creates a very vicious cycle that leads to burnout. What we want to avoid in remote work is working all the time. It's so easy because we have constant accessibility to our offices and that very quickly can lead to burn out. What we want to do instead to prevent that is really create a strong sense of work-life balance and we'll talk extensively about that later. The third killer of remote work is micromanagement. Like I said, a lot of managers feel the sense of stress and loss of control when they send their workers outside of the office. They can't see work happening. Remember all of that physical workflow and all of those habits that we've developed from the Industrial Revolution, well, those have evolved into work as we know it today and so managers are very subconsciously dependent on what they can see work happening. However, we understand in remote work that you can still be productive without somebody watching you. But that's a difficult transition when our companies are structured in the way that they are. A lot of managers tend to overcompensate when they send remote workers away from the office and they tend to over control results so that they still feel like they have that sense of supervision and control that they had in the office. Why I got into consulting is because I was being managed this way myself. This is very common and it's very dangerous to morale, efficiency, and productivity. This is the rise in importance of autonomy. That we want to replace management with self-management. That we are empowering and leading a workforce of self-managers. That's exactly why this course exists with the importance of soft skills. That's why these skills are critical is because we want to enable every single remote worker to be able to self-manage. Remember the first killer was isolation. How do we prevent isolation? Well, we want to prevent isolation with connection. Remember that informational isolation is not about being with people, it's about collaborating with them, connecting with them. How you can prevent this at an individual level is first you can build a network. Make sure that you have access to people in your job, either locally or online with social media or just with virtual networking. But build a network of people around yourself that can help support your career development and decision-making. Next, you want to equip for self-help. You don't want to be dependent on other people. If you are, then that's when you're going to feel much more isolated than you did before. If you are feeling isolated informationally, make sure that you understand what you're missing and then ask your boss for that or your coworkers or your vendors. Make sure that you are willing to say what you need, identify what you need, and really work on finding a solution for yourself. Then finally, you're going to show it and say it. True connection has nothing to do with proximity. We can develop very close and genuine relationships with people while they are thousands of miles away and then on the other hand, we can also feel completely alone and disconnected when we're sitting just a few feet away from somebody else. Remember, true connection has nothing to do with proximity. Make sure that as you are building relationships with people, be authentic, be genuine. Really show your appreciation by saying it. Be transparent with your communication. Give feedback frequently. That's going to help you feel much more connected to people regardless of location. I've been working remotely for over a decade and I still struggle with burnout on a regular basis. It's so challenging to set those boundaries and enforce those boundaries of starting work on time, ending work on time, and keeping your mind out of work outside of business hours. But I promise it's worth it. You will feel happier and healthier when you're willing to enforce those boundaries for yourself. That's one of my tips for preventing burnout with self-management. The third one is enforcing boundaries. Really draw that line for yourself. But in addition to that, clarify what your OKRs and KPIs are. Now, if you're not familiar with these terms, OKRs mean objectives and key results and KPIs means key performance indicators. This is what are the goals and objectives of your job and how you measure and show productivity in your job. The more that you understand what these are, the more that you'll be able to, at the end of a day or at the end of the week, look back and say, "Have I fulfilled my OKR? Have I fulfilled my KPI? Yes. Then my workday is done." You get that rush of dopamine that comes from checking something off of a list, and then you give yourself that psychological permission to unplug at the end of the day. Those are very important. You need to understand where the finish line is in order to cross it. Then the last is to measure your results. Understand what progress looks like for you. Don't just have a list, check it off, and throw it away at the end of the day. Because what that means is that over time you're going to feel a sense of stagnancy. That you're in the same place, nothing is really changing, there's no environmental cues to show that you are progressing. This can contribute to impostor syndrome, which is a high risk in remote work. Make sure that you're measuring your results both short-term and long-term, so that you're tracking your success and are able to celebrate your progress over a long period of time. Now some tips for preventing micromanagement. Now remember that micromanagement is typically between a leader and employee. But if you work alone, if you're an entrepreneur or a freelancer, micromanagement can still be a problem. You can over structure your day and if you don't meet every single thing on your to-do list then you feel deflated and disappointed at the end of the day so it can be a problem even if you're working alone. How you prevent micromanagement regardless of what size of team you work in, is with communication. I have a saying that is in remote work over communication is just communication. My three tips here for every individual that's getting started in remote work is number 1, over communicate. Like I just said him in that idiom, over communication is so important. It feels like it's too much at first. You feel like you're bothering people. You feel like you're just doing nothing but talking and typing all day long. But if you're feeling uncomfortable, that's probably just the right amount. You may even want to go a little bit further. Next, you're going to want to strengthen your reporting. Remember, every single manager in the world is worried that their team members are not going to stay productive when they're working remotely. So if you want to prove that you are working remotely, you need to tell them that you are and this is how you tell them is through reporting. Then the last is to practice empathy and here in remote work, we are very reliant on written communication because we don't have in-person communication. We don't have non-verbal cues and contextual criteria in order to supplement our messages. We are very dependent on what we say and what we write. It's important that as you're writing messages, that you exercise a bit more empathy than usual. That will take you very far, I promise. That is exactly why the eight skills are so critical in remote work is because this higher level of emotional intelligence enables you to be able to make a difference and make a change in your life as a self manager. It's time to get started with those eight skills and discuss what they are and how you can strengthen them in your professional life. The first two that we'll be discussing are communication and empathy. But before we do that, make sure that you complete the killer section of the Remote Work Success Plan. This is an opportunity for you to self evaluate and measure what your current scores in all of the killers are and which ones you might need to be more particularly aware of and active in preventing in your business life. 6. Communication & Empathy: Welcome to the first module in which we'll be discussing the eight skills that are critical to remote work success. To kick us off, we're going to talk about maybe the two most important skills that you could have. The two that are the most important, are communication and empathy. How we stay connected and understand what each other's working on? What we have in common? How we align, and what values we share with each other? Is through communication and empathy. In remote work, we don't have a lot of non-verbal communication to rely on. We don't have contextual cues. We don't have body language, we don't have a lot of the components of traditional communication to help supplement what we're writing and saying to each other. That means that that 30 to 40 percent of verbal communication becomes 100 percent of the message that we're trying to say. We really have to lean into that verbal communication in order to convey our messages accurately. This means that we need to be much more transparent, much more frequent, and much more consistent than were traditionally used to. Don't feel like you're bothering everybody, really just focus on communicating more. If you get to the point that you are feeling a little bit uncomfortable, that you're communicating too much. That's probably just about right. That says how we stay connected as teams. If you're not saying what you're doing, then nobody knows what you're doing. It's critical for them to understand what you're working on. A common mistake that a lot of businesses make is to assume that work can only happen when people are together. When they transition to remote work, they try to jump too quickly into just having video calls all the time because that gives us a sense of togetherness. When we're working synchronously like that. It can lead to burnout because we're just gather all the time and we don't have that space that we need to get work done individually. Something that will help you as you are identifying when to collaborate with your coworkers and when not to, will be to segment your tasks and collaboration types into three different buckets. The first bucket is synchronous and collaborative. This is type of work that does need to be done as a group in real time. Synchronous means at the same time. These are going to be tools like video calls and phone calls. This is where we are going to work together as a group in order to produce a result collaboratively. The second type is asynchronous and collaborative. This is much more common in remote work because we do work across time zones. We need a way in which we can work together as a group, just not at the same time because scheduling conflicts are real and they're tough, the bigger and more distributed your team is. This is types of tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams or any chat based software in which we create a thread of written communication. This means we're having a conversation together and we're sharing ideas were sharing input and feedback. It's just not happening at the same time. The third bucket is asynchronous and Independent. This means that it's not done at the same time and it's not done as a group. It's something that can be done independently. You don't need to collaborate with other people and it can be done on your own time in your own location when you start to consider and organize all of your tasks and types of communication into these three buckets, your entire workflow of your day, we'll be able to be optimized. This means that you're not going to spend unnecessary time in a meeting. If you don't have to. Meetings can be shortened to just the type of communication that you need to have synchronously and collaboratively, while the rest of the meeting would be asynchronous and independent or asynchronous and collaborative. The reason that communication and empathy are bundled into the same module is because the go hand in hand. If we are thinking more empathetically as we over-communicate, as we increase our frequency, increase our consistency, increase our transparency. That will prevent us from being annoying or over-communicating to an unnecessary level. It will keep our communication in that necessary zone. Think empathetically before you send any message, just put yourself in the shoes of the recipient and think, is this helpful? Do they have everything that they need? Is there any information that's missing? Could this be misinterpreted? How is this going to impact their workflow? Do they have the time and headspace to think about this right now? Just do anything that you can to think empathetically about who you're communicating with. This will prevent a lot of miscommunication, but it will also make sure that you are being a very reliable and for lack of a better term, empathetic team member. A trick that I've found to strengthen empathy within my own communication is to consider the who, what, when, where, why, and how of every single message. It sounds like a lot, but don't worry, it becomes second nature after awhile. Let's think of the example that I'm asking Lance to send a proposal to one of our clients as quickly as possible. It's very, very urgent. I need to think about that. Who, what, when, where, and why of the situation, and who am I sending this to? I'm sending it to Lance. But who is Lance? What is his schedule like? What is his bandwidth like? Is he really busy? Does he have the space for this? Think about who you're sending it to as a person, not just a coworker, but then as an individual in their own remote working arrangement. Second, what am I asking them to do? How much time is that going to take? I'm I asking them to do three hours of work within 15 minutes? If so, that's not going to be received very well and that's probably going to cause some contention and frustration. Be considerate of what the message is and how it's going to be received. When, Again when are you sending it? If you're pestering them every 15 minutes with a paint. Then I remember that I probably should have checked his calendar and turns out that he's in an important meeting with another client, I made a mistake. That is definitely going to be annoying. However, if I had checked his calendar before and I didn't see anything on his on his schedule then yeah, maybe it would be a fine time to pester him with a bunch of questions. Think about when you're sending it and how it's going to impact their workflow and their headspace. Where is the next one? There is a lot of different options in our communication channels and remote work. There's so many different channels that are available to us. Sometimes it's hard to narrow down which one we should be using at which time. That can signify a sense of urgency to each of us. For example, in our team, we've identified that we never text each other unless it as an emergency. However, on the other hand, we know that email is really only reserved for clients, we stay out of email when talking to each other and that makes sure that all of us are in the same place. Is your team aligned and using the same communications channels at the same time and in the same ways? Why is next. Why are we sending them this message? This is a really good check for ourselves, not for them for us. Why am I asking Lance to do this proposal right now? Is it because I'm too lazy and that I am just I'm tired at the end of the day and I just don't want to do it. Well, if so, chances are Lance could be tired at the end of his day to am I just trying to offloads a task to somebody else, that's not very considerate of our team members. As you're communicating more frequently and more consistently and more transparently, don't feel too pressured or too locked into a certain channels. Think about how you can diversify channel in order to build culture as a team. One of my personal favorite examples is right within our team here at distribute consulting, we use the video app called Marco Polo in order to share information with each other on a daily basis. This is where we answer questions with each other that we need to talk through. It's difficult to type out to each other, but it's not necessarily time sensitive enough to record a video call. Who, what, when, where, why, and finally, how, how am I going to convey this message? How am I going to ask them? Make sure that when you're considering the how of your message that you are formatting it well, that you are writing a comprehensive message and that you're giving them all of the information that they need in order to respond in the way that you need and want them to respond. That means be very considerate of how you're structuring your message and what information you're including. To wrap up our section about communication and empathy, were going to discuss what the OKRs are for these two skills. The first is communication. Can you accurately convey and interpret the objective of your messages? If you can, you probably an ineffective communicator. Next, take an opportunity to self-evaluate yourself and empathy. Are you aware and considerate of other people's feelings? It really, it seems very, very simple, but we all understand how complicated it can be to be very considerate and supportive of other people, especially when you can't them. That's it. We're done with communication and empathy, six more skills to go. Before we move on and talk about trustworthiness and discipline, you're going to need to go into your remote work success plan and complete the next section that talks about communication and empathy. These exercises will make sure that you have understood and truly, genuinely connecting with your team members regardless of your locations in relationship to each other. I'll see you in the next module. 7. Trust & Accountability: Welcome. In this module we're going to be discussing trustworthiness and accountability. Now these two go together. As you can assume, because, trust is earned from consistent results, value that is delivered over time, regularly, over and over and over. So the more accountable we are in our self-management and the more accountable we are in delivering great results. The more trust that we earned from our peers, our coworkers, supervisors are clients, are vendors, etc. Virtual relationships need trust and built and strengthened regularly just as much as in-person relationships do. So we're going to be talking about how to strengthen the cycle of earning trust by being accountable in when producing great results, which will then earn more trust, which until then create more accountability. Something that makes the productivity tracking of distributed teams a little bit different than usual, is that we often rely on a methodology called ROWE, or results only work environment, and this is just general results-based tracking, which means that we are paying more attention to accomplishment instead of activity. Common mistakes in results-based tracking are when people put too much emphasis into the results. They think that I know the best way to do that. So remember, when we're enforcing a results-based tracking model or ROWE work environment, we really want to maintain as much flexibility as possible. So make sure that you bring structure into this. You definitely want to have a to-do list. You want to make sure that you understand what everybody else is working on. You can pace yourself in order to match their pace. However, don't over schedule. Don't be too obsessed with making sure that this person has to be done at this time and that we're only going to focus on deliverable mount that's unhealthy and it's going to kill morale and it's going to sabotage, actually the productivity because, you're spending so much time worrying about everybody else that you're not focused on yourself. Remember to trust your team members, to do the job that they were hired to do. Another common mistake is to focus too much on the results. So if we are thinking of results only as deliverables that somebody needs to produce a result to us. Like deliver a report to us or you email over a designed logo, that's the only insight and proof of productivity that we have. That's not true. Remember that results are not just deliverables. Results are anything that came as a consequence of a behavior. So we can have a lot of different results in a day that have nothing to do with a deliverable. There's a lot of different types of work and so it's important that we're measuring a lot of different types of results. If we're not valuing different types of work, that can lead to burnout because, we're only valuing a certain type of work, which means we're ignoring the, eight hours of research and development that go into it, a certain result and then only paying attention to the protection time. So make sure to diversify your definition of work and results. The most common mistake the teams make with trustworthiness and accountability is invisibility, is that we're not tracking it, we're not saying it that communication doesn't exist about what are you working on? When we see a result and we are accountable for those results, then we're able to earn that trust with each other. So trustworthiness and accountability are clustered together because they create a cycle of, I can be trusted to do the work. I will be accountable to produce the work, and then I will prove that I did do the work, and that will earn more trust in order to do that again. So you can see how they relate to each other. A common methodology that I use to earn this trust and to be accountable and producing my work as a remote worker is a test management system that I call, plan it, do it, track it, report it. So this methodology of plan it, do it, track it, report it, is exactly what it sounds like. This is where you're going to be, these are the touch points that you need to communicate to your team members, so that they have enough insight into your work and they have that visibility that makes it easier to trust you, and they see you worth those criteria are for measurements, so that they know how to hold you accountable. So plan it, is to plan it. Just make sure that you are writing a list of everything that you need to do. This is sometimes a lot easier said than done. It's tricky to keep a comprehensive to-do list in our work places, especially when we're working through so many different softwares. So just make sure that you are using a single location to plan your task lists. The next is to do it. Again, it sounds very simple, but sometimes being disciplined and self accountable is really hard. It's hard to stay focused on work, when we are at home, there's snacks to eat and there's dogs to play with, there's a garden to weed, there's so many things to do. There's laundry to wash. There's so many things at home that our brains are used to doing while we're at home. So it does definitely take some focus and intention to stay focused on work and to stay on track, in order to meet the deadline that we told our teammates that we would fulfill. So how we do that, is we track it, after we do it. Remember in remote work, nobody can see you working. So they're only going to know that you're working if you tell them that you're working, breakdown your task into as many benchmarks as possible and then mark them off, in the project management system or a new to-do lists so that people can see when you've accomplished something. Now along that lines, that's the next step is to report it, and let me tell you it is so much easier to report progress if you are tracking it. That's why it's important to not just do it and then report it, but to track it. Trust me, it's very important to keep a record of your progress. Now it's time to evaluate our OKRs again, which remember, are the objectives for these two skills that we've discussed in this module. So the objective for trustworthiness is, are you going to fulfill expectations without supervision, and are you going to believe that others are going to do the same? Remember that trust is a two-way street, and so you need to trust others if you're expecting them to trust you, and if you believe that you are trustworthy, you need to believe the others are the same. The Golden Rule will never go out of style. Finally, think about accountability. Are you responsible for the quality, the speed, and the impact of your results? Now remember, this has a wider scope than we originally think. Yes, we need to be accountable for producing those results, but we also need to be willing to stand by those results. So if our client doesn't like the results or our bosses and record the results or our co-worker has some critical feedback that we don't want to hear, are we willing to stand by them? Or are we going to try to blame somebody else or hide or something like that? Accountability is a critical part of your work, both, during the production as well as after. That's it for trustworthiness and accountability. I hope this information helps you be more disciplined in your workflows, as well as more accountable and more transparent with your team members so, that you can trust each other no matter where you are in the world. Next, we'll be discussing critical thinking and adaptability. But don't forget, to go into your remote work success plan and complete the trustworthiness and accountability section. I'll see you in the next module. 8. Critical Thinking & Adaptability: The reason that adaptability and critical thinking are matched together, is because they really do go hand in hand. It is very, very, very, important that independently we are able to identify a solution and think of a plan, in order to resolve the concern. However, we can't get too fixated on what we think is the best solution because that makes us difficult to work with, and ultimately can slow down the processes of our company operations. So make sure that you stay adaptable. As you are solving problems, as you are thinking and thinking critically independently, makes sure that you're staying flexible, but you're not being too rigid and not only dependent on yourself that you remember, you are still a team member. Even if you don't have coworkers, if you're an entrepreneur or a freelancer, you still have a network of people that are dependent on your professional planning, and you need to remember to keep them in mind as you are thinking critically. Here it is, the ultimate problem-solving formula. My favorite part about this, is that it's very scalable, meaning we can scale it way up to solve big problems, or we can scale it way down to solve very, very small problems. We'll give examples of both, but first, let's look at what the four steps are. Here are the four steps of my ultimate problem-solving formula. The first step is to identify. This is where we just need to articulate what is the problem. Now, that sounds very, very simple, but sometimes it's more complicated than it seems. We can feel very stressed and very anxious or angry or blocked and we don't really know why, so it's important to zoom in, take a step back and say, "Okay. What am I actually dealing with here? Why am I angry? Why am I stressed? What is the root of the problem?" Then once you do that, the second step is to analyze. You're going to identify, the identification, right? Like, let's think about the source of the problem. Where is this coming from? Where's it going to go? How's this going to impact me? Who are the people that are involved? This is another place where, that, who, what, when, where, why and how can also come into play. After you analyze the entire situation and you know the impact and the ripple effects and the source and all of those things, you really spend some time thinking about the problem, then you can plan. This is where you're going to think about all of your options for resolution. Now that I understand exactly what is happening, how can I fix it? Do I need to contact somebody else? Can I fix it myself? Can I Google it? What are my options here? Then fourth, is to select one of your options for resolution and to implement it. It's really that simple. So we've got identify, analyze, plan and activate. It's time to evaluate our OKRs or objectives and key results for the two skills that we've discussed in this module. First, critical thinking. Can you independently analyze, evaluate and strategize an issue? Now remember, asking for help still is an option, but we need to be able to think through, should I ask for help? Do I have to ask for help? Or is this something that I can think about by myself and try to solve before asking somebody else for help. Next is adaptability. Can you accommodate and accurately prioritize the impact of changes? Because remember, flexible work requires flexible workers. That's it for this module. Don't forget to go into your remote work success plan and conduct the critical thinking and accessibility section before moving on. In the next module, we'll be discussing discipline and self-motivation. I'll see you there. 9. Discipline & Self-Motivation: Welcome to the next module in which we'll be discussing discipline and self-motivation. Now this is one of the most hilarious questions that I get from managers and clients as a consultant, as when they say, well, what if I just have a worker that is lazy and unmotivated? I can't let them work remotely. I always have to bite my tongue a little bit and say, if you have a worker that has lazy and unmotivated, you should not have hired them. This is critical in any job regardless of your location. But in remote work, it's even more important than usual. We don't have a lot of extrinsic motivators that used to exist in an office. We can see somebody getting a promotion and we feel that competitive advantage. Or we can hear somebody get a great compliment and think, I want one of those too. Those are very subconscious and they do provide a lot of motivation to us in our job. We need to figure out when we're working in this autonomous and location independent environment that we understand how to self motivated, yes, recognition and feedback will still come from our jobs and from our network. However, we need to be able to provide that for ourselves on a daily basis. This is where discipline and self motivation come into play that we need to stay structured and be able to focus by ourselves and stay productive throughout the day without succumbing to distractions. That means we need to know how to overcome bust my blocks like we were talking about before, and really self-motivated and get ourselves excited to go to work and start a new project and be curious. The most common example that you, or let me say trap that you might fall into when exercising and strengthening your discipline and self motivation as a remote worker, It's work-life balance. Like we talked about before. It is so hard to stay structured and to stay focused when you are working from home or in a co-working space, you really don't have that office environment that you may be used to, and so it is going to take some grit to stay focused during work hours. Now this isn't to say that you can never switch your laundry in the middle of between 9 and 5 in the workday. No, that's ridiculous. I'm you're still at home and so you're still going to be living a personal life at home. But it does mean that you take a quick break to switch your laundry and then are able to get back into the headspace of work instead of getting back to your desk and thinking, well now I think you know what am I going to make for dinner. I should go for a walk and it looks beautiful outside. Then all of a sudden your headspace is in personal mode and not in work mode. We do need to stay focused and keep our head out work even though our body is at home. Work-life balance is very, very common pitfall. Some tips and strategies to help with this are often what we've talked about before is creating a structure around your work day. This means that it doesn't necessarily matter which hours you work, but stick to those hours. Maybe you write in a professional journal or whatever your tactic is is up to you, but have a routine that you do every single day that helps you get into work mode. Then at the same time, have a routine that helps you decompress after the workday and helps you get out of work mode, so you're going to start thinking about your personal life and you're going to stop thinking about work. Again, this used to be driving home, but now it is going to be something different. Personally, I like to go for a walk, something that can really help with accountability if you are struggling to stay focused and to make sure that you're meeting your deadlines on time is to have a bust my block. I find that when I'm alone is easy to fall into a pattern of stagnancy that I'm just burned out and I just can't get motivated. Back when I used to work in an office that meant that I would usually get up from my desk and go to the break room, maybe swing by the office of one of my colleagues and have a conversation and then I would feel refreshed. I'd be able to get back to work and have that block busted. However, in remote work, we don't really have that opportunity to go to the break room and to go out to our colleagues offices. We have to think of a new way to refresh our energy and reset our minds. Okay, so if you are struggling with staying focused during your work day and motivating yourself to do work and staying disciplined enough to stay on task, then what should you do? You have a problem to solve? That's right. That's when we go back to our, ultimate problem-solving formula from the last module and we identify, okay, how am I going to solve this problem? Remember the first step was to identify, so what is blocking you? Why are you hitting that stagnancy? Why are you getting distracted? Is it because you don't like the type of work that you're doing. Is it because you have a distracting work environment? Is that because you didn't get enough sleep last night. Like what is the problem? Why is this actually happening? Then you analyze it, all right, so I'm getting distracted. It turns out that I haven't been getting enough sleep. Why am I not getting enough sleep? Is it because I'm overworking? Is that because I'm super addicted to Netflix. Like what's going on? Why is that happening? Really evaluating all of the possible causes of the problem. Then we're going to plan, okay, so let's say I'm not getting enough sleep because I am working too late and then I feel like I need to unplug so I'm watching Netflix to late. Am I speaking from experience? Absolutely. That's between you and me. All right, so I'm saying up too late, so what am I going to do in order to resolve that? I'm going to make a plan. All right, I'm going, I'm finding myself getting super, super tired after lunch and because I'm not getting enough sleep, so I'm going to make sure that I set an alarm for myself, I'm going to set an alarm that I have to stop watching TV at a specific time. Need to wake up by a certain time. I'm also going to get something, high-energy in the morning to help myself get out of bed and get going in the day. Then I know that I eat a little around two o'clock, so I'm going to take my lunch break a little bit later than I used to. I'm going to take my lunch break around one and I'm going to go for a walk during my lunch break to help rejuvenate me and get the blood flowing. Then hopefully that will help me avoid those doldrums of two o'clock. We made a plan and now it's time to activate it. Now, I know that sometimes I don't stay very accountable to myself, so I'm going to reach out to one of my co-workers and get an accountability buddy and tell them, hey, look, I've really been struggling in the afternoons. I even have slip through the radar and take naps a couple of days that can't be happening. Will you help me? This is my plan. This is what I'm going to do. Will you help me stay accountable when you ask me on a weekly or daily basis if I've done it or do you want to do it with me and making sure that you stay accountable and make sure that you know what the best way to motivate you is. Okay, so that's another great example of our universal problem-solving formula. But it's also a good solution that you can use to help yourself stay motivated and disciplined throughout the day. This has been a great conversation about discipline and self-motivation. Now it's time for our okay hours again, so for discipline, the question that we want to ask our self to evaluate how we're doing is, are you in control of your own time, your own tasks, and your own energy? Now remember, you don't necessarily need to be super organized in order to be an effective remote worker, but you do have to be in control of yourself. Some people manage that control with organization, and some people manage it in different ways. It's not about organization, but it is about discipline. Finally, self-motivation. Can you take initiative without being prompted, reminded, or rewarded? It can be pretty shocking when we first leave the office about how dependent we are on other people to stay on task. We need to be able to self motivate ourselves. We need to be able to really be proactive and think of new ideas and make new suggestions and raise our hand in a way that we are used to, and that circles back to over communication, that circles back to discipline and circles back to a lot of the other skills. But this really is at the heart of it. You are your own self manager now and that means that you need to be the one to take charge. That concludes this module. We have now discussed all eight skills that are critical to your remote work success. Next step, you know the drill, go ahead and go into your Remote Work Success Plan and complete the discipline and self-motivation section. Next, we'll be wrapping up this conversation and identifying what next steps are in you planning and initiating your long-term Remote Work Success. 10. Conclusion: Congratulations. This course of critical skills of remote work success is now complete. You should now be able to successfully self manage when working autonomously. You should be able to be an active and reliable virtual team member and you should be able to maintain productivity without supervision or motivation. It has been such a pleasure working with you and helping you develop these skills. We wish you all the best. Let's quickly review what the objectives were for each of the eight skills. First was communication. Can you accurately convey and interpret the objective of messages? Next was empathy. Are you aware and considerate of others' feelings? Trustworthiness. Are you going to fulfill expectations without supervision and are you going to believe the others will do the same? Accountability. Are you responsible for the quality, speed, and impact of your results? Critical thinking. Can you independently analyze, evaluate, and strategize an issue? Adaptability. Can you accommodate and accurately prioritize the impact of changes? Discipline. Are you in control of your own time, tasks, and energy? Finally, self-motivation. Can you take initiative without being prompted, reminded, and rewarded? Okay. You have the tools that you need in order to evaluate yourself in each of the individual eight skills. However, how will you know if you are being a successful remote worker as a whole? Well, there's been a lot of academic studies that have been conducted on remote workers. We know that on average, remote workers are more productive and more creative and more loyal in their jobs than they're in office counterparts. Those can be some good success metrics for you to identify in your job and just in your career. If you're feeling more productive, you're feeling more creative and you're feeling more loyal to your job, then you're probably doing well as a remote worker. You can always ask for feedback from your employer or some members of your network as well. Make sure that you have a mentor that you can have open and safe conversations with to discuss your concerns and help troubleshoot when you do have problems. The last step of this critical skills of remote work success course is to complete the rest of the remote work success plan. This is an optional section. If you are just completing this course for your own benefit, then you can be done. However, if you would like to use this with another party, like a boss, or you're proposing to make your job remote to a new employer or somebody like that. If there's somebody else involved in your accountability, then you'll want to complete this agreement section with them. I hope that this new remote work lifestyle will be beneficial for you, for your household members, for your loved ones, because there is so much more flexibility involved and so much more control over your personal and professional life. Remember about how much impact remote work can have in your life as well as the lives of the people around you. This is a privilege, it is an opportunity and it's one worth spreading. Make sure that you talk to your employer about other people in your company that can work remotely or help other people in your community find virtual jobs. It is an incredible resource that is changing the world as we know it. Socioeconomics around the world are revolutionizing because of the power that is being unleashed by remote work. That is all thanks to people like you that are giving remote work a good name. The more that you work hard and strive to be an effective, credible, accountable, remote worker, the more that employers understand that they can trust their virtual work-forces and create more opportunities for others to do so. I'll just sign off with my mission statement, which is the fact that remote work has the power to change the lives of people, the lives of individuals, the lives of businesses, and the lives of communities. If you'd like to discuss other topics about remote work success, like optimizing remote work within your organization, or bringing a socioeconomic program to your community, please get in touch with me and my team at distribute consulting. You can find us at distribute consulting.com and you can also find me individually on LinkedIn. I'm the only Laurel Farrer, and so it's pretty easy to find me. I'd love to hear from you. I'd love to hear your feedback on the course and hear your results as you embrace and adopt remote work in your life and in your career. It's been a pleasure getting to know you throughout this course. I wish you all the best personally and professionally.