When accidents or weather delays cause traffic to stall for miles, it’s easy to understand the appeal of working remotely.
According to FlexJobs, more than 3.9 million Americans reported working from home occasionally or full-time in 2018, with healthcare among the top industries for telecommuting. In addition to specific licensures or qualifications, there are a variety of strengths needed to succeed in a remote healthcare position.
Qualities of a Successful Telecommuter
1. Accountable. Are you comfortable with details and goals and enjoy working independently while still part of the team? Can you put together action plans and stay on top of project deadlines? Remote employees are highly skilled at managing time and avoiding distractions that deter from focus such as TV and social media.
- Expert Tip: The most successful remote employees set their office hours and set aside an area that family and others know is a dedicated “work zone”.
2. Responsive. Do you enjoy speaking on the phone or video conferencing? Significant communication is needed when working remotely. Quick and timely responses are crucial. The most successful remote employees are self-aware and understand their work affects others’ workflows.
- Expert Tip: Over communicating is key in a remote environment. No one wants to wonder when or if you are even working — consider posting office hours and away messages.
3. Self-reliant. Are you confident in your own abilities? The most successful remote employees are critical thinkers and natural problem-solvers who enjoy initiating projects and working through details. Self-determination to be resourceful with the information at hand makes an ideal remote employee.
- Expert Tip: Remote employees must understand the balance between self-reliance and asking questions or relying on others.
4. Tech Savvy. Are you comfortable learning new technology? Remote teams thrive on collaboration and many teams introduce new software tools to stay connected but also to complete tasks. Remote employees who have basic troubleshooting skills when they experience an outage or software/hardware issue will experience less downtime.
- Expert Tip: Remote employees need to be able to manage their home office connectivity and the technical tools needed to complete their assignment.
5. Balanced. When employees work remotely, there is no commute to separate work and life, and no coworkers present to lament around the water cooler or take a lunch break. Remote employees must be able to maintain good boundaries, both mentally and physically, to foster healthy habits and avoid burnout.
- Expert Tip: Common complaints related to remote work include weight gain (sedentary work), headaches and neck pain (looking at a monitor for hours), carpal tunnel syndrome, loneliness, and isolation from others. Maintain a good work-life balance by taking short breaks, going for walks, and developing interests and hobbies outside of the office.
Before you quit your job, or present the idea to your supervisor about telecommuting, consider your strengths and career goals, and the opportunities currently available in the healthcare industry. While many telecommuters enjoy flexible work arrangements, it is important to prepare for the transition from a traditional office environment by understanding how to manage your time and workload to achieve success.
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