Over the last year or so, we’ve seen a dramatic shift in our workplaces, with many employees transitioning to work remotely. This is only increasing, with 80% of Australian businesses that allow remote work saying that they expect this to be a long-term arrangement. Interestingly, the number of Aussie workers who would like to transition into remote work (57%) is greater than the US (45%), UK (44%) and Canada (45%) – clearly, this will be an important consideration going forward for Australian organisations.
Not only is remote work preferred by many employees, but it has also shown some great benefits. In Australia, remote work has proven to result in increased productivity and efficiency while reducing the barriers of bureaucracy and workplace politics. A win-win for everyone involved!
So, with so many of us transitioning to remote work, the question remains: what essential skills do your remote workers need? Mainly, is emotional intelligence still relevant in a virtual workplace without in-person interaction?
Emotional intelligence (EQ) has been identified as an essential skill set for leaders and employees alike and an indicator of high performance. And, as many have already realised, your EQ is just as essential when working from home – if not more.
The first facet of emotional intelligence, as outlined by psychologist Daniel Goleman, is self-awareness. This is all about being able to recognise your own emotions, the emotions of others, and how your behaviour affects others. By doing this, we can improve our relationships with our colleagues and make more rational decisions that are not based on heightened emotions.
When we are in the office, other people – colleagues, leaders or supervisors – may help us recognise when we are feeling low or are letting the boundaries between work and the rest of our life blur. With remote work, however, this is often up to us. Heightened self-awareness is essential to keep ourselves on track.
This is probably the most important EQ skill for remote workers; after all, with much less direct supervision and all the procrastination that working from home can bring, we need motivation more than ever.
Those with high levels of EQ are intrinsically motivated; that is, they are motivated by fulfilling their own goals and are driven to accomplish their tasks to a high standard. People with low self-motivation, on the other hand, may have trouble managing themselves without the physical workplace environment grounding them and putting them in a working mindset.
Effective communication is one of the greatest challenges for online teams. Those with a high EQ are able to connect better with others, establish rapport, and build strong working relationships.
Whether via Zoom or over other digital interfaces, we interact with others on a daily basis when working from home. Knowing how to relate with others and navigate the challenges that digital communication may present gives your employees an edge and helps them to create a beneficial workplace culture – even remotely.
Want to find out more about how you can improve your remote workers’ EQ? You can browse our training options here or get in touch with our team today.