What Makes a Good Virtual Employee?

So why wouldn’t you want to hire a virtual employee? Well, not everyone is cut out to be a remote worker. There are certain traits you should look for in a potential new hire that will tell you whether they have what it takes to give that 110% while working remotely – or if they wouldn’t really be able to focus and get things done when they’re not in a physical office setting. Here are the most important three.

1.Time Management Skills

In theory, the flexibility of working from home sounds great. Wake up at 4 am? Get some work done! Feel like taking the morning off and working late into the night? Go for it! But all that freedom can actually have a negative effect on productivity – when work and home life merge together so seamlessly, it can be easy to procrastinate, since “I can always do it tonight,” or “I’ll just get up extra early tomorrow.”

That’s why time management skills are vital in a good virtual employee. During their interview, ask them how they plan out their workday and keep themselves on track to get everything done on time. Their answer will be telling.

2. Communication Skills

Working remotely entails a lot of communication, sometimes even more so than working in an office. Keeping everyone involved in a project on the same page, when those people are distributed across the country or even the world, is impossible unless each remote team member is diligent about communicating.

A good virtual employee should be able to explain how they’d communicate with everyone involved as they work on a project. A concrete plan for regular check-ins is a good indicator of a solid remote worker.

3. Self-Motivation

There’s only so much a supervisor or boss can do to motivate a team – at some point, each team member is going to have to motivate themselves to get their work done. That goes doubly for remote workers. Without the constant pressure of an office and physical proximity to the boss, some people have a hard time getting to work.

A self-motivated virtual employee won’t need constant hand-holding, threats, or bribes to get down to business. They’re in it for the love of the work itself. Ask potential new hires what motivates them to find out whether they’ll be someone you can trust to jump right in and keep going strong.

Finding people with these three traits can be challenging, but if you’re building a remote team, or even just adding a few virtual employees to your staff, it’s worth it to make sure you’re getting virtual team members who will get the job done, time and time again.

Ajeet Khurana
Ajeet Khurana
Ajeet Khurana wears many hats: author, angel investor, mentor, TEDx speaker, steering committee of the NASSCOM Start-Up Warehouse, Director of Founder Institute, Venture Partner with the seed initiative of a top Venture Capital firm, and former CEO of IIT Bombay’s business incubator, among others. Before all this, he was entrepreneurial twice in the field of education and web publishing. As a lecturer at the University of Texas at Austin, he taught e-commerce back in 1993, when the term "e-commerce" had not yet been coined. An undergrad in computer engineering from the University of Mumbai, and an MBA from the University of Texas, Ajeet is presently an active name in the startup ecosystem. From starting two ventures as a solopreneur, to helping a large number of startups with their go-to-market, he has never shied from getting his hands dirty. At the same time he has helped dozens of startups raise investment. He truly believes that small business owners are driving change in the world, and need to be facilitated as much as possible. Innumerable small businesses have gained from his attitude, vast professional networks, financial acumen and digital mindset.

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