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Answering Interview Questions about Your Remote Working Skills

As more companies look to hire remote employees, common interview questions have expanded to also include questions about how employees work remotely. Certain characteristics and habits make some people more qualified than others to work remotely, and employers want to feel confident that they are hiring those capable, disciplined, and organized enough to handle the unique challenges that remote work presents. When interviewing for a remote role, here are some questions you may be asked and some sample answers you can provide to show what makes you an effective remote worker.

 

How is your day scheduled?

Some people are more productive in the morning while others are more night owls. Be honest with yourself and figure out what routine works best for you. Think about how you best utilize your time (meaning perhaps you do the most difficult tasks first thing in the morning or instead you do them later in the day when you are more focused) and create your ideal schedule. Factor in breaks and unstructured time as well. Unstructured time is important because you can address work concerns that may come up in your day, that you previously hadn’t factored in. During the interview, showing the employer that you have given thought to how you organize and structure your day will ease their concerns and show that you’re an employee who can manage their time.

 

What is your home office environment like, and what do you need to be successful?

For most, having a productive at-home office environment means one with distractions kept to a bare minimum. During the interview, detail your office set up and if it’s a virtual interview, show them the environment. Additionally, companies need to know what tools and resources remote employees need to best do their work. Some companies have the budget to give their employees stand-up desks, multiple monitors, etc. so it’s important to ask for what would be most beneficial.

 

How do you communicate and collaborate with a distributed team, and what tools do you use for different situations?

One of the challenges with remote work is not being able to quickly pop over to someone’s desk or office to ask them a question. Thankfully, with remote work, there are a lot of different tools available. When answering this interview question, it’s important to show your varied approach to communication and knowledge of how the different communication platforms best serve your needs. For instance, email is great when you need it in writing or to have something that you’ll want to reference later. Chat is good for simple, quick questions or to provide an informal update about something. Video meetings are great for collaboration and brainstorming, important company/team updates or kick-offs, and new employee orientation.

 

If you would like more common remote interview questions and answers, there is a great article on Dice that can be a further resource for you.

 

 

Answering Interview Questions about Your Remote Working Skills

Importance of Leisure Time

The dictionary defines leisure as “Time when one is not working or occupied; free time” and “use of free time for enjoyment.” Leisure is key to finding balance and taking a pause from the demands and stresses of everyday life. In today’s blog, we dive deeper into leisure: why it’s important and ways to incorporate it into your daily life.

 

The Benefits

The benefits of leisure time include a reduction in stress and depression, improvements to your physical and mental health, an increase in productivity, and improvements to your mood. The amount of leisure time you spend isn’t as important as the quality. Doing activities that truly bring you joy and fulfillment is key. You can feel the positive effects of leisure time almost instantly, and the effects can be long-lasting.

                                                           

Reframe Leisure

While some may view leisure as a luxury or even wasted time, as mentioned above, having downtime is key to lowering stress levels and boosting your happiness. Science Direct says that “The belief that leisure is wasteful is also associated with poorer mental health outcomes, including lower reported happiness, and greater reported depression, anxiety, and stress.” Those that believe that leisure time is unproductive, aren’t able to get as much joy and enjoyment during their downtime, which comes at a cost to their well-being.

 

For those that believe leisure is unproductive and wasteful, it can be helpful to think about how leisure activities can be used to serve a long-term goal. Instead of spending all your downtime binging on Netflix shows, think of some other leisure activities that could be more productive. In an article on Sharp, they suggest thinking of leisure time in 5 categories and nurturing each of these domains:

 

  1. Physical
  2. Social
  3. Emotional/Psychological
  4. Mental/Cognitive
  5. Spiritual

 

Try to think of a couple of activities you enjoy that would fall into these categories and rotate through. Some examples could be going for a walk during lunch or hike on the weekend, joining a club, learning a new language, painting, reading, etc. Having a variety of leisure activities will keep you feeling more satisfied with your life overall.

 

Importance of Leisure Time

Importance of Strategic Thinking

Strategic thinking is a key component to successful leadership, and yet is something those in leadership roles tend not to make time for. A study shows that a strategic approach to leadership is about 10 times more important than other behaviors in the perception of effectiveness, and it’s twice as important as communication. In today’s blog, we’ll dive deeper into why its important organizations prioritize and encourage time for strategic thinking.

 

In an article in Harvard Business Review, they state: “Strategic leaders take a broad, long-range approach to problem-solving and decision-making that involves objective analysis, thinking ahead, and planning. That means being able to think in multiple time frames, identifying what they are trying to accomplish over time and what has to happen now, in six months, in a year, in three years, to get there.” At work it can be challenging to schedule in time for strategic thinking, especially when your day involves responding to immediate demands and is booked with meetings; however, doing so is imperative to being an effective leader. The good news is you don’t need to devote a massive amount of time to strategic thinking. Here are some strategies to implement more strategic thinking in your workplace…

 

Track how you spend your time

Consider tracking your time for 1 week to see where and how you are using your time. Seeing it laid out in front of you can help you prioritize your tasks and assignments and possibly identify places you could delegate or cut down. By utilizing your time more effectively, you may be able to free up an extra hour or two each week which you can then devote to spending on strategic planning.

 

Look forward and plan ahead

Since the cornerstone for strategic thinking involves long-term planning for the future, think about your work and company goals for the next 3, 6, and 9 months and beyond, and then look at what obstacles could prevent you from reaching those goals. By considering possible outcomes and issues that could arise, you’ll have a strategy in place should you or the organization run into any problems.

 

Schedule time to brainstorm

In an article on Forbes, they recommend working on strategic strategies in a group environment with your colleagues and during the meeting asking these 3 questions:

  1. What possibilities have you considered?
  2. If you were me, how would you approach this problem?
  3. Based on your experience, what do you propose as a next step?

Getting different points of view can help people see the bigger picture and help develop a more strategic approach to planning for the future. Teaching people to ask “why” and “when” type questions can go a long way in developing a strategic thinking mindset.

 

 

 

Importance of Strategic Thinking

Strategies for an Effective Remote Workplace

Whether your organization has a hybrid work model, or a 100% remote workforce, there are several strategies for having effective and engaged employees. One of the great things about a virtual work situation is that employees can come from a diverse environment, bringing together a pool of talent that previously would have been inaccessible due to the physical location of the office. However, it can be a challenge those employees feel like they are connected and a part of a team to support the mission and growth of the company. Here are some suggestions for creating an engaged and effective remote workplace.

 

Communication is Key

It’s almost impossible to over-communicate with a remote team. When working remotely, you don’t have the opportunity to collaborate in person, or to quickly pop over to someone’s desk to ask them a question or get their thoughts. With remote work, it just takes a little more effort. However, by communicating frequently, it will ensure everyone is on the same page, that the team feels more connected, and build up trust. Thanks to technology, there are a variety of tools most companies use to encourage communication in the workplace including Slack, Microsoft Teams, Video Conferencing, and Project management software.

 

Have Shared Responsibilities

Dice recently spoke with the co-founder of a company that has operated remotely since day one. In the article, he recommended building a culture of trust through shared responsibility. If people feel like they are alone on their own island at work, compared to working in a collaborative environment, their productivity and employee satisfaction declines. In the article, he goes on to say, “It helps to create a culture where everyone trusts one another and accepts that they share in the success—or failure—of the company. Here, everyone does their part and strives to do it well, knowing their performance will impact their peers’ abilities to deliver results. Trust is enormously important in a remote organization. An employee in Europe working on a project with someone in North America needs to trust their colleague is doing their part to see the project through. They can’t see them. They can’t always talk to them. So, they need to trust them.”

 

Celebrate Success and Achievements

Employee recognition is a big aspect of an employee’s overall satisfaction with their job. People like to know when they are doing a good job and be recognized for their achievements. With a remote team, you don’t have the option to give a high-five or take the team out to lunch to celebrate, but there are other ways to show your appreciation. If you need some ideas on ways to celebrate, here’s a great article. Having a positive work environment where you celebrate both big and small achievements, helps boost morale.

 

Strategies for an Effective Remote Workplace