How Skills Cultivated in Online School Can Transfer to a Remote Work Environment
The coronavirus pandemic led to millions of students learning from home. Some children found this to be a blessing in disguise and throve in a remote schooling environment. For many others, though, the entire affair was defined by stress, inefficiency, isolation, and a whole slew of other challenges.
Regardless of whether or not pandemic homeschooling was an overall positive or negative experience, though, there is a silver lining that every remote schooler can point to. Time spent learning from home can serve as a unique training ground to prepare students for a potential career spent working remotely.
Here are some of the best remote work skills that online school helps to cultivate in a student.
Online School Develops Digital Literacy
Before diving too deeply into more nuanced soft skills, it’s worth taking a look at the most obvious benefit of them all: digital literacy. There’s nothing like trying to adapt to a virtual office when you don’t have any idea how one works. Internet connections, communication tools, workflow platforms, and countless other software and hardware tools are required if you want to plug in and operate as part of a remote team.
The ability to do this correctly and with confidence takes practice. As students adjust to school online, they work these “tech muscles” and develop their digital literacy. This becomes an invaluable experience to take forward with them as they head into remote work environments in the future. Improving their technology skills will be one of the biggest benefits of getting an online degree.
Online School Encourages Independence
Remote work requires a unique degree of independence. While you’ll still be tethered to a virtual office and certain aspects of your day will be predetermined, the rest of your work life is left in your hands.
This sounds great — and make no mistake, it is — but in reality, it also requires a certain amount of independence. The ability to manage your time well on your own is a learned skill. So is dedicating and properly setting up a productive home office.
Everything from work-life balance to workspace boundaries requires a proactive, independent mindset. Fortunately, that’s precisely what is challenged and strengthened when a student is required to learn from home.
Online School Coaches Communication
Communication is a critical part of the workplace, no matter what the setting. With that said, though, a remote work environment is particularly dependent on good communication on every level. It doesn’t matter if you’re answering an email or developing a five-year growth plan, communication is a critical aspect of keeping things moving forward in a virtual workspace.
Of course, the need to communicate is equally critical in the online classroom. If students don’t show up, respond to message, and participate in video and chat conversations, they can’t learn effectively. Online schooling is a great tool to help younger individuals learn about the importance of communication within a remote workspace.
Online School Cultivates Collaboration
Along with communication, online schooling also demonstrates the need for good collaboration. Student projects, group activities, and even simply attending classes online requires a collaborative spirit. Students must learn to positively engage with others using the tools that they have available.
This is very similar to a remote work setting. While it may be convenient to gather around a table for a discussion, a virtual worker must be ready to engage in the same activity via a Zoom call or even a Slack channel. They must also be willing to use things like workflow platforms for daily work and virtual whiteboards for strategic planning.
Regardless of the specifics, as a student learns to work with others online, they are honing a skill that is directly applicable in an online workplace.
Online School Nurtures Responsibility
Finally, online school helps to bring a certain sense of responsibility out of a student. In many ways, online schooling is more directly in their control. It’s up to them to log on and join discussions. They have to sit in their home, surrounded by distractions, and choose to focus on each lesson.
This is much different than a classroom, where they largely have no option but to sit down and be quiet. This transfer of responsibility from their teacher to themselves encourages students to take ownership of their education, a trait that will reflect very positively with any recruiter.
Cultivating Remote Work Skills in Online School
From digital literacy to communication, collaboration, independence, and responsibility, there are many aspects of online schooling that can positively impact a student’s professional future. These are important to highlight, as they help to emphasize the best aspects of the time that so many students spent schooling from home during the pandemic.
Rather than seeing that time as lost, it’s important to capitalize on the parts that were empowering and educational. Students should use the pandemic schooling experience as a springboard to help them further develop both the hard and soft skills required to thrive in a remote workspace. If they can do that, they’ll enter the job market already with a leg up over the competition.