Working remotely is one big way our modern work world is revolutionizing. As we can see with the recent pandemic, having skills that can be used online is helpful. While working at home for some sounds like a dream, for others it can be intimidating and difficult. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or looking for online work for the first time, there’s no better time to learn about the ins and outs of working online. Here are six critical skills you can learn to hold down a digital job:
1. Sharpen Your Email Skills
Although many millennials are confident in their ability to email, proper etiquette is often overlooked. Learning how to address someone via email with a proper tone is crucial to develop your digital reputation.
With digital work, email is one of the single largest arenas for communication. Learning how to set signatures for a professional look, setting up automated responses, and how to address people correctly are all major elements that need to be considered. Being skilled in the art of email is much more than being able to sign in and shoot out an email to your boss.
- Set a professional looking signature with your contact details
- Consider setting up an autoresponse if on vacation or unavailable
2. Engage on Social Networking
Connecting with people through the internet is an incredibly powerful ability that many have not mastered. With this skill, you can connect with people from all over the world that you would not have been able to otherwise. Social networking takes on different forms and there is no wrong way to approach it.
A benefit of social networking is it requires a lot less boldness and risk for people that are anxious with social settings. To get started with making your virtual network, head on over to a Facebook group with people of similar interests, connect with people through Linkedin, or even direct message people through Instagram. The more direct you are, the more opportunities it can lead to.
- Find professionals who work in your field on a Facebook or Linkedin group
- Become an active participant in social networks and engage others
3. Basic Videography Know-How
Before you feel intimidated by reading this, hear us out. Videography takes on different forms– yes, it could mean learning how to set up your fancy DLSR camera and lights; or it could mean how to have a proper setup for a meeting.
Let’s talk about the latter. Working online usually means you will have to be in communication with either your boss, client, or coworker (making money alone is impossible, after all). Showing up professionally is key. Would you show up to the office in pajama pants and without showering? No, so don’t show up to your virtual meetings in a hot mess. Learning a few skills can bring you a long way. Make sure you have a decent web camera, you know how to work your software such as zoom or google hangouts, and have a clean background behind yourself. If you are in a meeting during the daytime, make sure your camera is facing away from natural light to improve your appearance and the quality.
- If you’re doing video calls, look good with a decent camera
- Setup a backdrop with proper lighting for a quality look
4. Dedicate Workspace
Working at home can be a curse and a blessing. On one hand you suddenly have no commute and can work in comfortable clothes. On the other hand there’s suddenly no line between work and home. The truth is, working online demands willpower. Can you juggle this newfound invasion in your home?
Having an office space is beneficial, but not everyone has the space to spare to a dedicated workspace. If you can, try to find a space you can dedicate to work solely and step away from at the end of a day. This might even be a certain shelf or part of a table; but avoid working from bed at all costs.
- Find a space you can dedicate to working
- Walk away when you’re done and clear your mind
5. Get Comfortable with Digital Communication
As discussed above, there’s a high chance you’ll have to use some form of digital communication working online. This might be email, video conference, or even instant message or chat. Become comfortable with speaking to each other through whatever platform that may be. Learn how to express yourself on camera, in written form, and through audio recordings.
Observe everyone else’s behavior and tone to understand what’s acceptable. What’s expected of you, and what channels should you keep an active eye on? You don’t want to be the only one dropping memes in a business chat or missing last minute meeting invitations.
- Be aware and vigilant to expected communication; be it Slack, email or Zoom
- Understand what an appropriate tone and perspective are for your group
6. Stay Vigilant
Last but not least, be patient. Adjusting from a normal work environment to a digital one is a learning curve. There are tons of resources out there to help you out if you are feeling completely defeated such as free YouTube videos and Skillshare. With time you will get better, and the reality is working completely through the internet might not be for everyone. So don’t be over judgmental or hard on yourself.
- Block your day off in time chunks and catch a breath periodically
- Take some offline time with a book, drink or non-screen item to rest the peepers
Learning a few simple skills through the internet can dramatically help your career. We can see that this is the case with the current pandemic, so don’t let yourself be unprepared in the future. Technology is evolving faster than ever! Keeping yourself updated and educated with a few simple skills is a great way to not fall behind. Take a deep breath, watch some YouTube videos, and be patient. You’ve got this!