What Makes a Great Remote Working Employee?

Tech workers remote

Remote working gains steam.

When we think about working from home, it’s usually related to freelance software development. Many companies have excellent remote working cultures, though. Here’s what they’re looking for in an employee who wants to work from home.

Via remote.co, several tech companies have given a bit of insight into what they look for in someone who’d rather not work in an office. Many seek the same type of candidate: a self starter who manages their time well. But others have a bit more on their lists.

GitHub wants someone with excellent written communication skills, as well as the decisiveness to get the job done “even if the right person isn’t around in the moment to make the decision themselves.” Considering how “most decisions are temporary,” the company doesn’t want people to slow down just because management isn’t around.

Automattic, the parent company of WordPress, says it wants someone who values learning and is “receptive to feedback.” As it also notes, new remote employees are on a short leash:

If during the trial process a candidate needs a lot of “hand holding” and waits for specific instructions before moving forward on work, they probably won’t be a good fit.

Workfrom, which you might think would have a detailed list of what makes a good remote employee, keeps it simple. It wants “emotional maturity, strong written communication skills, time management, self-direction, appreciation of animated gifs and virtual high-fives.” Trello has a similarly efficient wish list, saying it looks for someone with “the ability to get things done” who is “self-motivating and driven.”

Plex notes: “Humility and kindness are absolute must-haves for us.” It also makes an interesting point about personality as it relates to the remote working culture, saying: “You might be able to hide a pompous ass in the very back row of a soul-sucking cube farm and tell him or her not to talk to anyone, but that doesn’t work very well in Slack.” (That’s a fair point; the black-and-white text of a group chat can be misunderstood if you don’t take a page from Workfrom’s playbook and use GIFs.)

If you’re looking for the spiritual purpose of remote working, InVision may have hit the nail on the head:

When we hire, we look for people who see remote work as an upgrade—an improvement to their lives. They’re driven individuals who have the self-awareness to know how they work best. Some people function better in a physical office environment, or might be at the outset of their careers and want that sort of structure. Our team sees remote work as a big benefit, even if it has its own set of challenges.

Remote work isn’t a niche benefit, either. Most of GitHub’s staff are remote; even those who live in San Francisco don’t go into the office daily. More employers are offering remote work as a benefit, too. In the most recent Dice Salary Survey, 14 percent of respondents reported a “flexible work location” or telecommuting as a “primary motivator” that their employers provided in 2016, up one percent from the year prior.

In the Salary Survey, nine percent said flexible hours were a motivator their employers offered, which is something many remote employees enjoy. A healthy 18 percent said more money was keeping them with their company. Without having to commute, money goes a bit further, which can feel like a bit of a raise. Some 16 percent of respondents said they were looking for a new job to get a shorter commute… but there’s no shorter commute than a home office.

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