5 Qualities to Look for in a Remote Employee

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LaptopThese days, more and more companies are warming up to the idea of remote work.It’s no longer a given that companies have central offices — in fact, some teams operate 100 percent remotely.

The company I work for, FormAssembly, employs talented people from all over the world. While some employees choose to work in our main office, others prefer working from home. But we’re all able to enjoy the same amazing benefit: the ability to decide what works best for us — whether it be working from home or at the office.

So, how do we make it work? Well, the truth is that it wouldn’t work at all if we didn’t have a great team. Everyone on our team gives it their all and works extremely hard.

That’s not a coincidence, either. Every employee at the company possesses a few of the same key qualities. These are the key qualities that have helped us make remote work a reality.

And guess what? They’re qualities that you can easily identify in job candidates, too. Here are five qualities that all great remote employees possess:

1. They Practice Excellent Communication

It’s no secret that communication is king in the world of remote work, which is why it’s so important to hire somebody who can clearly communicate with others. When employees work from home, they need to be able to get their points across clearly, efficiently, and in a friendly manner.

Pay attention to cover letters and emails from job candidates — they can reveal a lot about the way a person communicates.

2. They’re Able to Stay Motivated

You know when you walk into an office and immediately sense excitement in the air? Such a thing still exists in remote cultures, too, but it’s not always so immediately obvious. 

It’s natural to feel uplifted by the spirit and enthusiasm of your team members — but if an individual relies on this to motivate themselves, they will be sorely disappointed in a remote work environment.

A good way to gauge whether or not someone can handle the level of self-motivation necessary for remote work is by handing them a set of tasks and seeing how they work through them. For example, we often give job candidates short-term (paid) contract work before hiring them for full-time positions. It gives us a clearer idea of how they tackle tasks.

3. They Can Troubleshoot Independently

Excellent remote employees are great at troubleshooting. Because they don’t work in an office 24/7, they’re great at finding answers on their own. 

Say an employee runs into a technical problem. In a typical office environment, they’d just walk over to someone in IT, and IT would help them resolve the problem.

When someone is working remotely, however, they don’t have that luxury of being able to check and see whether or not the IT department is swamped. Instead, they might come to the conclusion that it’d be quicker to browse StackOverflow and find the answer on their own. Voilà — problem solved!

Troubleshooting independently is the way to go when working remotely — and it saves a whole lot of time! It can be extremely beneficial to find remote employees that are comfortable with this fact.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with asking questions. Asking questions is healthy, and sometimes very necessary. But a good remote employee knows when it’s more efficient to troubleshoot on their own versus when it’s necessary to ask someone else for help.

4. They Prioritize

While the ability to prioritize is important in any role or location, it’s especially vital in the remote workplace. 

A remote employee knows what needs to get done — and delivers. They are able to identify the tasks that are most important, and they’re able to finish up urgent work before anything else.

5. They Can Focus

While this one may seem obvious, it’s still worth stating: being able to focus on work is an absolute necessity when it comes to working from home. 

Some remote hires find offices distracting, while others may find it difficult to focus when no one is looking over their shoulder.

Make sure you hire the person who won’t lose track of what needs to be done. 


Remote work isn’t for everyone, which is why it’s wise to be on the lookout for the unique qualities that are found in people who can successfully work from home.

Whether your team is 100 percent remote or you let your employees work from home part of the week, I hope this guide helps you identify the key qualities of remote employees as you build your team!

By Hannah Wright