4 Tips to Ensure Employees Work Remotely Successfully

Melissa Suzuno

HR and L&D Insights Writer, Udemy for Business

June 20, 2019

Working from a coffee shop or home office used to be a novelty, but working remotely is now becoming the norm. As of 2019, 66% of companies allow remote work and 16% are fully remote. Hiring managers predict that within the next few years, 38% of their employees will spend most of their time working remotely, and one-third of hiring managers see the office of the future as “an occasional anchor point rather than a daily travel destination,” according to the Upwork Future Workforce Report.

There are several advantages to allowing employees to work remotely. Many employees embrace working outside the office, with 6 in 10 remote workers saying that they would like their job less if they had to visit the company every day to do the exact same job. Remote work also cuts down on the stress and time of commuting and boosts productivity. With workplace distraction on the rise according to our Udemy Workplace Distraction Report (think open seating offices), it’s not surprising that many employees are getting more done at their quieter home offices.

Yet remote work is not without its flaws. Some companies and managers are hesitant to embrace remote work, whether they’re concerned about data security, increased isolation, or believe remote work diminishes collaboration. And companies that do allow remote work have a responsibility to put extra thought and care into the employee experience.

Employees who work remotely still need attention and support for professional development and training. According to the Remote Work Statistics Survey, 67% of remote workers say they need more work-related training. 87% of remote workers get regular training and 70% receive it directly from their company. Those who want training but don’t get it from their company often choose and pay for courses they find online.

Beyond providing training that will help employees succeed in their current role, consider how you can help remote employees excel while working outside of a traditional office setting. Here are four skills (and ways you can master these skills) to help remote employees be more efficient and effective.

1. Time management

According to Udemy’s Employee Experience Report, half of the survey respondents (and 53% of managers) said they could improve their time management skills. And while productivity tools have proliferated in recent years, 37% of survey respondents expressed some hesitation about the usefulness of these tools, indicating they can sometimes be more of a distraction than a help. For employees who work remotely, time management is especially important since their interactions with their manager will likely be more limited and productivity tools can become their lifeline to what’s going on at the rest of the company.

In Time Management Mastery: Do More, Stress Less, time management and productivity consultant Alexis Haselberger identifies common roadblocks to time management and provides concrete, easy-to-implement strategies and techniques for minimizing distractions and increasing focus. For example, Alexis recommends developing a customized task management system to capture, organize, prioritize, and document all that needs to get done. To learn more about Alexis’s approach and the content of her course, see How to Become a Master of Time Management at Work.

2. Organizational skills

Respondents to the Remote Work Statistics Survey ranked organizational skills as essential for remote workers. It makes sense—organizational skills and productivity go hand in hand. Remote workers need to develop systems for keeping track of their projects as well as communication with their manager and coworkers. This is especially true when they’re collaborating on a project with others and need to manage multiple versions and different rounds of feedback.

In Productivity 10x – The Secret Skill of Peak Performance, instructor Silviu Marisk introduces practical tips to help learners automate their routine to make productivity a habit, beat procrastination, and prioritize.

3. Communication

Communication was named one of the top 10 soft skills for the workplace in 2019. There are a number of reasons for this—according to Google’s extensive research as part of Project Oxygen, being a good communicator is one of the eight skills that defines a good manager. On the flipside, poor communication is also linked to employee burnout. And communication is one of the uniquely human traits that high-performing organizations foster in their employees, according to the Udemy’s Humanizing Learning Research Report. For remote employees, clear communication is paramount since they don’t always have the luxury of tapping someone on their shoulder to ask a question or clarify a point.

In Speak Like a Pro: Public Speaking for Professionals, executive public speaking coach Jennifer Hennings covers the essentials of storytelling so learners can better understand their audience, hone their stories, and pair data with narrative to make a lasting impression. To get an overview of the course and more practical tips from Jennifer, see 5 Tips to Become a Powerful Public Speaker.

The Complete Communication Skills Master Class for Life from TJ Walker helps learners improve their assertiveness, persuasion, and business communication skills. This course is designed to help learners feel comfortable and craft meaningful and memorable messages.

4. Self-discipline

Successful remote workers must be masters of self-discipline, both in order to get their work done efficiently and to make sure they stop working from time to time in order to preserve some work/life balance!

There are a number of Udemy for Business courses that can help your employees who work remotely develop self-discipline. The Power of Focus: Boost Your Brain from neurocognitive and behavioral expert Gregory Caremans dives into why people lose focus and types of distractions as well as how to overcome them. Productivity Machine: Time Management & Productivity hacks from sales coach and Udemy for Business instructor Patrick Dang introduces productivity-boosting mindsets, tools, and tactics. And How to Build Self-Discipline from best-selling personal development author Martin Meadows introduces scientifically proven tactics for developing self-discipline and resisting temptation.

As technology advances and the talent shortage becomes more significant, an increasing number of companies will turn to remote or distributed teams to remain competitive. Ensure that you’re providing the support your remote workers need by helping them to develop the essential skills we’ve outlined here.

About Udemy for Business:

Udemy for Business is a learning platform that helps companies stay competitive in today’s rapidly changing workplace by offering fresh, relevant on-demand learning content, curated from the Udemy marketplace. Our mission is to help employees do whatever comes next—whether that’s the next project to do, skill to learn, or role to master. We’d love to partner with you on your employee development needs. Get in touch with us at business@udemy.com

2020 Workplace Learning Trends Report: The Skills of the Future thumbnail


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