Almost everybody dreams of unshackling from the office and working from home full time, but few have what it takes to thrive in that virtual environment.
For many employees, working from home or telecommuting is often seen as a way to get some easy downtime, deliver the bare minimum, or simply sit around the house in your favorite onesie.
Dedicated work-at-home employment is different. While there is a high level of flexibility, it requires a deep commitment from a specific type of person who can get value out of working in a self-managed, often isolated environment.
Thanks to our many years of experience and our cutting-edge candidate selection technology, we’re able to single out the best SmartVirtual™ Ambassadors by assessing their suitability to dedicated home-based employment. Here are the most valuable characteristics and skills that people need before dedicating themselves to a work-at-home lifestyle.
Comfortable with Autonomy and Isolation
People are sometimes indifferent to the idea of working at home versus working in a physical center, but those same people will often burn out quickly due to a lack of stimulation. After a few weeks, they begin to miss interacting with colleagues in person and want the physical camaraderie that a traditional contact center provides.
The ideal SmartVirtual™ Ambassador is preferably averse to working in a physical contact center, while also having a motivation that drives their desire to work from home. These reasons range from needing more freedom for personal activities to caring for a housebound loved one—both great examples of why the flexibility of work-at-home employment is so desirable.
Dedicated home-based employees should value direction from management but don’t need (or want) any handholding because they’re already confident in their abilities. For instance, our Ambassadors have between 10 and 15 years’ professional experience, on average, with a strong desire to be useful and apply their skills in an environment without distractions, limitations, or conventional workplace complaints.
In short, if you recharge your batteries through social interaction, require constant leadership, and would still be comfortable working in a traditional work environment, then you’re not quite ready to succeed in a dedicated work-at-home setting.
Basic Technical Skills
Without a basic working knowledge of computers, handheld devices, communication tools, and modern applications, you’re not going to be a good fit for dedicated home-based employment.
In the mid to late 2000s, the term “basic technical skills” had a very different meaning than it does today. People were only beginning to learn how to operate computers effectively, browse the internet, and perform tasks that the majority of us now do every day. Basic technical ability in the 2020s involves things like setting up a social media account, using hashtags correctly, or installing, configuring, and operating hundreds of different applications.
Our SmartVirtual™ model relies on our Ambassadors’ ability to work with a number of different technologies, including virtual desktop infrastructure, virtual engagement tools, and a mobile-enabled workforce management platform, so we assess all candidates on their technical skills before they can move to the next stage of recruitment.
People who are uncomfortable using certain apps or social media platforms, or still lack some of the benchmark technical skills that work-at-home requires, will quickly find it frustrating in a work environment where independence and autonomy are key.
People that work in a contact center are usually disconnected from the outside world, forbidden from sending texts or instant messages while on the job. For virtual workers, digital channels are the primary method of communication, so there isn’t much delineation between using them for work purposes or personal reasons.
On top of the basic technical skills, dedicated work-at-home Ambassadors must feel comfortable socializing and communicating in a digital world. Digitally social individuals might have multiple social media accounts, post online regularly, or juggle several messaging apps simultaneously, replacing the need for any physical watercooler chat that might take place in a traditional office environment.
Video communication is also key. All of our SmartVirtual™ Ambassadors spend a lot of time interacting and communicating through video channels, which is only possible for those who are comfortable being on camera frequently. If cameras bother you, you might want to consider a different career path.
Organized Workspace and Strong Timekeeping Abilities
Our recruitment process for SmartVirtual™ Ambassadors starts with a basic speed test to measure the reliability of the candidate’s internet, followed by a look at their computer specifications and a face-to-face video meeting, at which point we assess and provide feedback on their chosen workspace. We’ll offer advice on how to organize the area and ensure minimum distractions and maximum productivity, so candidates need to be open to some light criticism and potentially a lot of rearranging.
Another deal-breaker for some candidates is a misunderstanding of how their schedule works. People often expect to get a set amount of work and a delivery deadline, which is more aligned with the traditional contracting model of customer service. In reality, dedicated work-at-home means fixed schedules and pre-assigned breaks, not occasional work at random hours of the day.
With the right motivation, technical skills, the ability to self-organize, and an understanding that home-based employment is a serious, viable alternative to traditional work, you might be just the right fit for a dedicated career in SmartVirtual™.
If this sounds like you, we’d love to discuss potential opportunities with you. Contact us here.