It’s probably correct to assume that everyone with a job has the necessary skills to perform it. And as we’ve learned over the past two years, many jobs can be done as well online as in person.
However, given that working remotely (at least for some of the time) seems to be where the future of work is going, it’s wise to see if there’s any room for improvement. It’s not that remote work requires a specialised skillset, but there are certain tools, platforms and strategies that make it easier, and more efficient and effective.
We take a look at some of the ways you can upskill to work better, remotely.
The year is 2022, and online literacy is about so much more than the Microsoft suite. While specific sectors use specialised pieces of software, there are some online platforms, apps and extensions that are of benefit to anyone working remotely, whether you’re employed by a company that uses them full time, or a freelancer that needs to stay in touch with a client.
Here are some of the most useful and commonly used tools that remote workers should familiarise themselves with in the name of digital upskilling.
Slack - Slack is a messaging app for business that helps you to work in a more connected, flexible and inclusive way. Think of it as a bunch of work WhatsApp groups.
Trello - Trello is a collaboration tool that organises your projects into boards and tells you what's being worked on, who's working on what, and where something is in a process. It’s like having everyone’s “to-do” lists all in one place.
Clearword - Clearword is a video library for all your meetings. Your meetings are timestamped, organised and searchable so hybrid teams can meet and work better. It’s like having meeting minutes in video format. Clearword also allows you to schedule meetings to eliminate back-and-forth emails. It's a hassle-free collaborative calendar coordinator!
Notion - Notion is a productivity software designed to help members of a company or organisation coordinate deadlines, objectives, and assignments. It’s sort of like an internal Wikipedia.
Canva - Canva is a graphic design platform that offers snazzy templates used to create social media graphics, presentations, posters and documents. It’s like Photoshop for dummies.
Zoom - Zoom is a cloud-based video conferencing service that hosts virtual meetings. We have all been using it to meet online for the past two years.
Otter - Otter transcribes your meetings in real-time, giving you notes that are shareable, searchable, accessible and secure. It basically takes meeting notes for you.
Marinara: Pomodoro Assistant - Productivity extension for Chrome that sets 25 minute workflow intervals. It’s like an online timer that helps you focus.
Online Educational Platforms
The rate of change in our sectors of employment has never been faster, so it’s important to keep your skills relevant and up to date. Upskilling online has never been easier, and there are plenty of colleges that offer everything from seminars and short courses to undergrads, postgrads and masters.
If you want to get a remote job that requires some additional skills, self-directed part time study is a great way to go. Check out ecollege, Udemy and Coursera for a wide range of courses that cover all industries. LinkedIn Learning is a fantastic resource that is specifically geared towards professionals wanting to add more strings to their bow. Upskillme is a resource for students who want to learn practical skills before they join the workforce.
And don’t forget that in-person and hybrid learning is also back in action. Do some research on further education initiatives and programmes offered by local colleges, universities and local government offices in your country and area. In Ireland, Springboard offers free and subsidised courses that lead to qualifications in areas where there are lots of employment opportunities.
Mentoring and funding
Mentoring and funding are of benefit to all types of workers, but are almost essential to small business owners. Mentoring gives you the support and advice of a seasoned business professional, while funding allows you to establish or grow your business.
Mentoring programmes are often offered by large corporations and incorporate some funding within them, such as the She’s Next grant programme by Visa, or Going for Growth by KPMG. Federal and local governments also offer support to small business owners. In Ireland, the national government’s Enterprise Ireland agency offers lots of financial streams for business owners throughout the year. Local government agencies such as the Local Enterprise Office have a wider range of funding options available to help small businesses grow and thrive.
However, getting funding is often a competitive process, and requires the money granted to be spent within a defined timeframe. Don’t be put off by this. Look at it instead as a chance to hone your business plan and get really clear on what you want the future of your business to look like.
Community and Professional Engagement
There is perhaps no greater education in the world of remote working than that that comes from your community. As we know, remote working can be an isolating endeavour, so it’s really important to surround yourself with people who get it, both online and in-person.
Remote workers are always keen to share their knowledge and to support others who are trying to break into the world of remote working. Remote and co-working hubs are always organising skillshare events, where you can meet and learn from other community members.
Connecting with other remote workers is not just an opportunity to learn from their experience, but also to learn through engagement. Acquiring the soft skills necessary to advance your career through organic networking is invaluable to a remote worker, as this can often lead to new opportunities in itself. Many people find the prospect of networking intimidating or unnatural, but in the remote world, it’s really about making connections with like-minded people who are in a position to support and guide you.