What Are the Characteristics of an Effective Remote Worker?

Whether you’re considering shifting some of your team members to work from home or are actively recruiting candidates for remote positions, it is essential to know how to identify those who will excel in this setting. Many people say they want to work from home, but they may be surprised to learn it’s not as easy as they think. Here are some of the characteristics to look for in your remote employees.


Most jobs come with a structure, whether that means punching a clock or simply knowing their boss or co-workers will notice if they are not at their desk at 10:30. Remote employees should be capable of putting their butt in their chair when it needs to be – even with no one looking over their shoulder. They must be clear on what they need to get done each day, week, and month and check those items off in an efficient manner.

Good Communication Skills

Remote workers must reach out when project specifications are unclear or if they are overwhelmed and need a manager to help. Ideally, managers are checking in with their remote employees regularly, but workers must proactively reach out as well. Too many managers think no news is good news. The risk is they won’t notice any lack of engagement until an employee has one foot out the door and is entertaining other offers.

Comfort With Technology

Technology is at the root of a successful remote workforce. Remote workers may be using video conferencing, VOIP phones, project management software, document sharing, online training, communication platforms and more. If remote employees are slow to adapt to technology, confused or worse – unwilling to ask for help, their workdays are likely to be long, frustrating, and unproductive. Provide training, resources and a way to get their questions answered. Question them about prior experience with these platforms before making a hire or approving them for remote work.


Things go wrong at work, even more so when home is work. Equipment can go down, and remote employees must be ready to improvise. When in the office, tech support may be there within the hour to replace a faulty item. What happens if they must troubleshoot the issue over the phone instead? If they prefer meeting via video for a project, can they handle it if a coworker may only have time to work in a shared doc instead? How about if they have a sick child? Will they contact their manager right away to come up with a plan to deal with your workload? An effective remote worker must be ready to roll with the punches no matter what comes up.

Ability To Work Independently

While ideally, managers of remote employees will be highly engaged, that’s not always the case. And even if they are, they might only want to get involved once the employee has exhausted all other resources. Give remote employees autonomy to make their own decisions and forge their own path. Provide parameters that clarify when they need to escalate issues.

PrideStaff is here to help.

Our new whitepaper, The Remote Work Experience: What Employees Want You to Know will help you recruit, train, and manage remote workers effectively. Click here to download your free copy!

When you’re ready to add remote employees, our national staffing firm can help you find the most qualified talent for your team. We’re the hiring experts and can keep you staffed, flexible, and prepared for today’s evolving workplace. Contact your local PrideStaff office today to start a conversation.