Who is Suitable for a Virtual Position?
To some extent, the skills and qualities needed for a virtual position are the same that your employees would need to do the job in an office or on location. They will need to have the correct skills and qualifications for the role, as well as a genuine passion and enthusiasm for it. In addition to these, the best candidates for a virtual role are also self-sufficient, responsible, organized, and trustworthy enough to get the job done in a remote setting.
Four essential characteristics of remote workers
In his book, The Virtual Manager, Kevin Sheridan identifies four essential characteristics of virtual employees. A manager of a virtual team must be able to rely on their employees to stay focused and productive without their close supervision. The relationship operates on trust, and so the following qualities are highly desirable, if not essential.
Self-starters do not need a manager or supervisor to tell them to work and stay on task. They have an innate drive to be productive and to earn their paycheck. Self-starters can get up, get organized and get the job done under their own steam and without prompting. If they are without anything to do during work time, they will be pro-active about finding something useful to do or requesting another task from their manager.
A self-motivated employee does not need to be constantly incentivized and rewarded to keep them committed to their task. Self-motivated individuals can summon an intrinsic drive to achieve, and to contribute to the success of their team or organization. They see and understand their part in the bigger picture, and the satisfaction of a job well done brings them both pride and a sense of purpose.
Self-disciplined individuals have good time management skills, excellent focus, and an understanding of what is needed long term to achieve a goal. They can manage and avoid distractions in a home-working environment, keeping a structure around their working day that makes them productive and reliable.
A self-sufficient employee is independent and has strong initiative. They can stay motivated and on task without constant encouragement or feedback from other team members. They can solve problems and seek out answers to questions independently – avoiding messaging their manager constantly over small things.
Working with Technology
Virtual roles require a good understanding of digital technologies. It is important that candidates for these roles have the capacity and desire to work with digital tools for communication, collaboration, document storage, project planning and management. While these tools are a big feature of the modern office, they still present challenges for some people. Learning how to use these technologies will be critical to performing well in a virtual role.
Organization and Time Management
Virtual workers create their own workspace and schedules to a large extent. They may have meetings and deadlines to show up for, but the rest of the time they will need to manage by themselves. It is critical that remote workers have good habits of time management and organization to keep them on track.