And the series continues. I guess because I have A Lot Of Thoughts on this.
Me, I’ve worked from home (WFH) a lot, and I’ve had friends who have done it for over a decade. We’ve got certain work from home skills and abilities, that we probably don’t see as we’re used to them. I realized that recently, and it came to me that as we do more WFH people will need training to do it – and people probably aren’t ready.
How many of us actually are skilled at working from home? Because, in a world where WFH is comparatively rare, it means some of us lack the skillset – yes it’s a skillset.
Consider what WFH Skills include:
- Time management on your own. Not as easy when you’re remote.
- Phone etiquette and phone technology. Look, do we even use our phones for calls? When is it time to just text?
- Proper use of chat programs as you can’t swing by desks. I’m talking not just sending messages, but replying.
- Proper use of email as folks need to rely on it more (and trust me, a lot of us are terrible at it).
- Proper use of tools for collaboration like Jira, Rally, and such. Those are even more vital for collaboration.
- Use of documentation tools and proper use of documentation. Being able to hand someone a document is great for communication, but not if your writing is horrible.
- Business processes and the like – because you can’t yell over your cube to ask someone “how do I do this?”
- The psychology and manners of working from home.
Even typing that list i feel both exhausted and appreciative of those with good work from home skills. I’m sure you could write books on the skills, or run classes. Speaking of . . .
Organizations will need to ensure people are trained for WFH. The skills above need to be acquired by folks for any organization that wants or needs more WFH. These need to be learned intentionally; we’re in a rapid shift, and you can’t just hope people pick it up over time.
Note I say Organizations plural – because even in the post covid age, there will be more WFH for everyone. The business you work for will need this training, sure. But this will also be your church or temple, the con you do cosplay events for, and maybe even your gaming group. Every organization out there needs to be ready to teach people how to work from home.
This also means that there will be a whole new range of opportunities for people to write, teach, and educate. We’ll need guides and consulting services and people to teach work from home. Organizations will need to develop ways to improve WFH processes – or hire people that do. In fact, this might be a great chance for you to share your WFH knowledge with others!
But we’re going to need to train people to WFH, everywhere, and provide that education. This may be a bigger shift than people are ready for – but being ready is something we’ll need to be. WFH is here, there will be more, and in an age of climate change and pandemic, we’ll need to adapt.
It’s time to get educated.