Does the daily commute, pressed into the armpit of a stranger on the train, leave you day-dreaming of a pyjama-clad ‘day at the office’ working from home? Perhaps ever increasing childcare costs have encouraged you to seek more flexible employment?
As a primarily ‘remote’ worker, monitoring and managing the day-to-day running of an online educational provider, I have experienced the highs and lows of an online role, and – having brainstormed with some of my other ‘virtual’ associates – have put together a few suggestions for the kind of qualifications that you may find it useful to obtain in order to find success in an online position.
Qualification 1 – the completion of any Ofqual accredited online course, from Mathematics to Health and Fitness! This may seem like a bit of an odd and vague response, but two of the biggest obstacles that you will have to deal with as a lone, online worker are personal time management and the ability to prioritise work (and then actually complete it by a deadline!). What better way to determine whether you would find success in an online role than trialling your ability to work efficiently and to deadlines than by being assessed to do so? As an added bonus, whether or not you decide that online working is for you, you will also leave with a nationally recognised certification that you can add to your C.V. to demonstrate these skills to potential future employers too! We love a good win-win situation!
Qualification 2 – it is well worth considering undertaking a course in Management and Leadership, for example, Footstep Training’s own ILM Level 5 Leadership and Management Online course (link to http://footstep-training.com/online-courses-uk/ilm-level-5-leadership-management-online-course/). Many Virtual Workers are self-employed or Directors of their own small business; they have seen a gap in the online market for their skills and experience and have decided to make the move into this field. As a result, they are the member of staff responsible for many (if not all!) of the tasks associated with the daily running of the business. This can involve talking to clients and customers, dealing with suppliers, and confidently and constructively proof-reading or checking work prior to sending it out, etc. If you find success in your online role and your business grows, you will also find yourself in a position of leadership and influence – so what better way to prepare for this than by learning some of the key skills involved in successful and effective Leadership and Management? Our Level 5 Leadership and Management Online Course helps participants to develop their ability to lead, motivate and inspire; provide strategic leadership; benchmark their managerial skills and help to improve their day-to-day management-related skills and knowledge, making it the perfect course for anyone who sees successful management of their own online business as a potential career path for them!
Qualification 3 – A course designed to ensure that you have the skills and knowledge essential for accurate and effective communication – i.e. an English Literacy test (for example, a GCSE in English or equivalent). I have found that effective written communication is an essential and key requirement for the majority of online roles, given the increased tendency to communicate via email with customers, colleagues and suppliers rather than over the phone. An awareness of the basic rules of grammar and the formalities of written communication (as well as a good spellchecker) are invaluable to the online worker: many customers will never see your face, so your website and any written communications need to be clear, professional and largely error free in order to convey professionalism. Unfortunately, an email sent entirely in lower case letters, without adequate punctuation and riddled with spelling errors doesn’t always fill potential customers with confidence! If you have completed a literacy course but still struggle with writing and are adamant that an online role is for you, why not consider asking a friend or family member to proof read your emails, etc. prior to sending them out? This kind of attention to details is exactly what is required if you want to see your business find success!
I hope that these suggestions have been useful to you! Having an online role gives me, and many others, the flexibility to work around the demands of a busy family life and in a sector that I am passionate about! It isn’t the easiest of career paths to choose – you need focus and determination to find success in an online role – but if you are dedicated and motivated, I really hope that you can find that success too! Good Luck!