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Remotely compatible: how to choose a remote employee

Now that we’ve seen nearly a year of non-traditional working conditions, it’s time to consider the future. With increased flexibility offered by remote working, when it’s time to rebuild your workforce, a fully remote employee might be your best choice.

The traditional route for remote work is for a person who starts at the company on-site and then transitions to remote work. But that’s not the only option. If you choose to decentralize your office operations, why would it matter where someone lives when they start?

What are good qualities in a remote employee?

On a certain level, the good qualities of a remote employee are the same as for an employee that works on-site. You want dedication. You want professionalism. You want competency. However, remote work is a very different animal from in-office work, and some qualities really shine:

  • Self-sufficient: Some employees need the occasional poke, while others need a constant eye. Good remote employees need little direction, little intervention and, often, seem mystified why management is even talking to them in the first place. This is an ideal person to have working on a virtual island.
  • Ethical: Every workplace, every industry has ethics. From machine shops to multi-national corporations, there is a right way to do things and a wrong way to do things. These employees do the job the right way: in line with company policy.
  • Tech-savvy: Being away from the central hub of activity means they’ll have to serve as their own “step-one” tech support. Employees with a strong basis in equipment triage keep their remote office running strong.

All of these qualities are something you’d want from an on-site employee, but they’re essential for someone off-site. Although, you now might be asking:

How do I know when someone I don’t know is right for remote working?

A good manager understands people over the phone, in-person or in a video chat. It could be you know a person can handle the work simply by the way they lean forward and smile when you describe the workload. It could be the immediate, easy answers to your questions. It could be their résumé.

Remote working isn’t going to go away. Smart companies will find a way to make it work for them.