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9 work from home skills and how to assess them when hiring remote workers

9 work from home skills and how to assess them when hiring remote workers featured image

Many modern companies provide flexible options for full-time and part-time employees, enabling them to choose a traditional office, a virtual workspace, or a mixture of both.

However, employees need distinct work from home skills in addition to their role-specific abilities to be efficient and trustworthy remote workers.

Your company suffers when employees don’t have these capabilities. A lack of supervision and effective communication can lead to missed deadlines, misaligned priorities, reduced productivity, and unhappy clients.

This article discusses the essential skills for remote work and the top strategies to assess them so you can find the ideal candidate for your team.

Why are work from home skills important?

Remote work skills ensure that employees can efficiently complete their work and effectively communicate with in-office colleagues and other remote workers. These skills are more important than ever when 51% of professionals favor a fully remote position.

Employees also report improved happiness when working remotely – these workers are 22% happier than those who work on-site. 

Providing remote work opportunities is quickly becoming the norm, so ensuring your team members have the right skills to succeed is crucial.

Having work from home job skills gives employees a better work-life balance because they can establish regular working hours that accommodate their lifestyles. This way, they can prioritize tasks and focus on what matters more for their career without feeling overwhelmed by obligations outside of work.

These skills can improve concentration, productivity, and job satisfaction.

Many people on LinkedIn and other social media platforms have debated work from home productivity, but it’s real. Despite an environment more prone to distractions, the right work from home skills can help limit interruptions and create a highly productive atmosphere. 

9 top remote work skills for work-from-home professionals

Top remote work skills for work-from-home professionals graphic

Every role is different, but there are key remote work skills that every remote employee must have

The best skills for remote jobs help remote employees manage their time, adapt to change, and handle new technology. Research shows that the top remote capabilities are technology literacy, autonomy, time management, and communication.

Remote HR professionals should watch for the following qualities and abilities.

1. Critical thinking

One of the most important remote work skills is critical thinking. Although it’s not included in certifications, it’s often found in job postings because of how much it matters to remote employers.

Critical thinking requires the capacity to research, analyze information, and make accurate decisions. 

An employee must possess strong critical thinking abilities and be able to find creative ways of solving a problem. They should have:

  • An analytical mindset

  • The ability to tackle issues independently

  • The power to develop innovative solutions when faced with challenges.

Many work from home skills are enhanced when an employee has strong critical thinking. For example, this skill improves a worker’s adaptability.

2. Self-starter

Working independently is a critical remote setting skill, especially in the onboarding stage of a new job. A successful employee must take the initiative and not require too much guidance or direction. When remote employees are self-starters, it reduces the management burden and makes onboarding and supervision easier.

Anyone you hire needs to understand this and should be comfortable working on their own – all the time. 

3. Time management

Having little supervision means employees must be organized, including managing their projects, communication threads, and, most importantly, their time. Time management increases productivity and helps employees stay organized and focused.

An effective remote employee must:

  • Prioritize tasks

  • Set realistic goals

  • Manage their time efficiently

4. Communication

Proficient communication is indispensable in the remote workplace. Employees must be skilled in getting their thoughts across using verbal and written methods, such as:

  • Attending virtual meetings and video calls on apps

  • Using digital tools and video meetings to communicate with clients

  • Listening to others

  • Emailing colleagues

Further, communication skills also improve happiness and satisfaction. The top challenges for remote workers are loneliness, isolation, and communication struggles owing to time zone differences.

For more insights, read our post on working from home depression.

5. Emotional intelligence

One of the best skills for remote work is emotional intelligence. 

Emotional intelligence can help employees build strong connections with their team, stay focused on their goals, and manage their tasks efficiently. It drives motivation and encourages collaboration.

Emotional intelligence includes:

  • The ability to handle stress

  • Processing emotions

  • The capacity to influence people and build relationships

6. Empathy

Remote employees must show empathy and compassion when dealing with colleagues and customers. They should understand how their work impacts other teams, ensuring their actions contribute to company-wide success.

Further, their customer service interactions should prioritize understanding customers’ needs and providing valuable solutions.

7. Workplace adaptability

Adaptability is one of the most critical remote work skills. Remote employees must juggle multiple tasks and remain clear-headed under pressure. 

These people need solid project management skills to tackle problems, adapt quickly, and finish the job. You can count on adaptable employees, building trust and resilience for the whole team. 

8. Self-motivation

Effective remote workers can self-motivate and maintain focus. By possessing independence and discipline, remote workers can: 

  • Remain productive

  • Set solid goals

  • Monitor their progress

  • Hold accountability

With no coworkers or managers around, remote employees must have an internal drive to be productive and achieve goals, even when no one is there to monitor or cheer them on. 

9. Tech-savvy

Remote workers should have a good understanding of work from home tech, including the following.



Video conferencing

Zoom, Skype, and Google Meet

Communication tools

Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Google Chat

File-sharing platforms

DropBox and Google Drive

Collaboration tools

Asana, Monday.com, and Trello

Remote workers must master new technologies quickly because the digital world is constantly evolving. Great candidates should have tech familiarity and be comfortable figuring it out on their own.

How to assess work from home skills and traits: 11 tests

So, how do you gauge these essential remote work skills accurately?

A talent assessment is the most effective way to evaluate a candidate’s remote work skills. Traditional methods like resumes are subjective, and candidates can even use them to exaggerate their abilities.

Skills-based hiring methods and remote work are a match made in heaven. More than 90% of employers plan to continue using virtual interviews in the future, and 79% say it’s because it makes using talent assessments easier. 

It’s simple to test work-from-home skills with skills-based hiring. Below are the 11 top remote job skills tests and how to use them.

Critical Thinking test

In a remote team, having employees who can think critically is crucial. 

The Critical Thinking test is the perfect way to evaluate how well candidates can articulate their thought processes and practically apply their knowledge.

an example question from TestGorilla's Critical Thinking test

Our Critical Thinking test evaluates candidates’ ability to make decisions, analyze data, and think critically about their work. It can gauge a person’s decision-making skills without relying on others’ input.

This test enables managers to identify employees who can take the initiative and think independently. It also helps identify potential training opportunities or areas where someone may need guidance or additional support to improve their performance.

Time Management test

Managing your time, juggling deadlines, and handling multiple projects are essential for remote jobs – but they’re nearly impossible to gauge through a resume and cover letter.

TestGorilla’s Time Management test assesses how candidates prioritize, plan, and conduct their daily tasks.

an example question from TestGorilla's Time Management test

These remote skills help employees manage projects without direct supervision and intervention, and this assessment puts candidates in realistic scenarios where you can gauge how they prioritize their tasks independently.

Reading Comprehension test

This test is best for establishing how candidates understand written content and instructions.

Remote workers need to understand the content they are interacting with, which can be anything from emails to customer service dialogue. The Reading Comprehension test is an excellent assessment of this skill.

an example question from TestGorilla's Reading Comprehension test

This test measures a work from home candidate’s ability to analyze and interpret written information quickly and accurately. It evaluates the candidate’s understanding of the text’s factual, symbolic, and technical content. 

It is useful for assessing virtual employees in customer-facing roles or any other position requiring a high reading comprehension level.

Customer Service test

This test is best for determining how candidates deal with customers.

Good service determines whether customers choose to do business with you. Working well with customers from remote locations is essential for building solid relationships and providing an excellent customer experience.

Our Customer Service test measures candidates’ ability to handle common customer service scenarios by rating their responses on various criteria, including politeness, knowledge of company policies, and problem-solving skills.

an example question from TestGorilla's Customer Service test

If you’re interested in more sample questions, check out the Customer Service test preview.

The test helps employers evaluate their remote workers’ ability to provide the best customer service possible. You can also use it to identify potential areas of improvement and ensure customer satisfaction.

Personality tests

Using personality tests helps you gauge essential work from home job skills, such as empathy, emotional intelligence, and adaptability.

There’s no accurate way to assess these traits with traditional hiring methods, but talent assessments provide a simple, effective solution.

For example, the Big 5 (OCEAN) test evaluates conscientiousness, openness, agreeableness, and emotional stability, helping remote workers build relationships with colleagues and handle stress independently.

an example question from TestGorilla's Big 5 test

Another excellent personality assessment for remote workers is the DISC test. This test evaluates how candidates make decisions and take action, showing you their adaptability and empathy.

Motivation test

Self-motivation is essential for successful remote work. Finding motivation in yourself is required when you don’t have colleagues and managers to drive your performance.

The Motivation test helps determine if an employee is self-motivated and a good fit for a remote role. It also aligns a candidate’s expectations of an ideal role with your open position.

an example question from TestGorilla's Motivation test

How does it work? This test requires you to complete a survey describing the key characteristics and activities that are vital for success in the role. 

After your candidates finish, the test calculates a score showing you how their expectations align with the job you’re offering.

The Motivation test helps you hire stronger remote candidates, and it’s one of the top talent assessments available in our free forever plan.

Microsoft Excel (General) test

This test is best for establishing candidates’ Microsoft Excel skills.

You can’t have an effective remote environment without Microsoft Excel talent. Many fields, from budgeting to data analysis, use this powerful spreadsheet software.

The Microsoft Excel General Skills test measures an employee’s ability to use this software for multiple purposes. It tests the user’s understanding of essential functions and operations and their knowledge of formulas and charts. 

an example question from TestGorilla's Microsoft Excel (General) test

It also gauges a candidate’s ability to properly format, structure, and organize data in a spreadsheet. 

Google Docs test

Remote working wouldn’t be complete without Google Docs. This online word processor and document hosting platform is a great way to edit documents collaboratively and track real-time progress.

The Google Docs test measures an employee’s understanding of this software and ability to use it for many purposes. It tests candidates’ capacity to create and edit documents, work with images and tables, and format text.

This assessment also evaluates the user’s knowledge of document security measures and how to collaborate with other users properly, ensuring your team understands the latest features and best practices when using Google Docs.

English (proficient/C2) test

Our English assessments establish how fluent candidates speak, write, and read English.

International teams are common in remote work, but it’s important to ensure there are no damaging communication barriers.

TestGorilla’s English (proficient/C2) test measures a user’s ability to speak and write in English at the CEFR level C2. This assessment tests the user’s grammar, comprehension, and written expression proficiency.

The test measures the user’s ability to understand complex texts and tasks, as well as their proficiency in expressing themselves clearly in writing. Further, it evaluates the user’s understanding of idiomatic expressions, collocation, and comprehension of complex topics.

Salesforce CRM test

Creating a sales team that works remotely requires unique skills, including making calls, closing deals, and using sales enablement technology like Salesforce CRM.

The Salesforce CRM test evaluates the candidates’ working knowledge of the program, including creating and customizing reports, leads, and opportunities management, understanding customer profiles, and tracking key metrics.

an example question from TestGorilla's Salesforce CRM test

This test helps employers quickly identify the applicant’s level of knowledge and whether or not they can hit the ground running.

Not using Salesforce? Don’t worry; we also offer a HubSpot CRM test and a Zoho CRM test.

Business Ethics & Compliance test

Just because your work-from-home employee is in their home office doesn’t mean they don’t face ethical business dilemmas. Not dealing with these ethical dilemmas can lead to a loss of profits or even damage the brand. 

It’s also crucial to ensure an employee understands your company policies if they don’t show up in person, so asking for advice isn’t as simple.

The Business Ethics & Compliance test tests a candidate’s ethical compass. When you use this test in your assessments, you can rest assured that candidates can uphold the company’s policies and ethics. 

Candidates who perform well on this test have a solid understanding of how their behavior and role impact internal and external relationships.

These tests are outstanding ways to assess remote job skills, but you must group them into assessments to get a holistic view of your candidates.

Find candidates with the best work from home skills

Are you ready to hire a candidate with the best work from home skills using TestGorilla’s talent assessments?

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Summary: The 9 remote skills and how to test for them

Remote work skills

How to assess them

1. Critical thinking

Gauge the practical application of knowledge and how they articulate thoughts and make decisions

2. Self-starter

Assess if a candidate can take initiative with little direction and guidance 

3. Communication skills

Look for candidates who can communicate their ideas and understand others, both written and verbally

4. Time management

Evaluate how potential hires organize and prioritize their work tasks using realistic scenarios

5. Emotional intelligence

Assess a candidate’s ability to handle stress and build solid relationships with others

6. Empathy

Test how a candidate interacts with others and if they understand how their work impacts the company

7. Workplace adaptability

Seek candidates who are flexible and ready to adapt to new challenges and sudden change

8. Self-motivation

Consider a candidate’s ability to drive their own hard work and performance

9. Tech-savvy

Check a potential hire’s skills with essential, modern technology

Assess and hire the best remote workers with TestGorilla

Hiring remote employees can be tricky without face-to-face in-person interaction. Without an office setting and only relying on resumes, you can’t be sure you’re getting an employee with the soft and technical skills for success.

Luckily, it doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. Whether you’re hiring a customer service representative, an editor, or a developer, our talent assessments help you determine the remote work skills your employees need to succeed. 

Sign up for your free account today and see how our assessments can quickly identify the best work from home skills for your job. 

Or you can head over to take our product tour to learn more about our platform and take the guesswork out of finding productive remote workers.

Do you prefer a more guided approach? Book a demo to discuss our platform with one of our experts.

Work from home skills FAQs

Let’s take a look at some common questions about the soft skills, time management skills, and other specific skills a remote workforce needs.

What are the skills needed for working from home?

  • Time management

  • Adaptability

  • Communication

  • Self-motivation

  • Technology literacy

These skills ensure a professional can work effectively and independently in a remote environment. As we discussed above, other vital skills include critical thinking, emotional intelligence, and empathy.

What skill is best for remote work?

  • Communication

  • Organization and planning

  • Collaboration

  • Flexibility

  • Tech knowledge

Our top pick is communication. Communicating is a critical remote setting skill that helps workers convey their thoughts and understand others without excessive back and forth. Excellent communication is a must whether you’re an editor, engineer, or call center representative.

What type of person works best from home?

Highly conscientious people excel at remote work. These professionals have essential remote work skills, such as organization, reliability, accountability, and self-discipline, and know how to take advantage of job opportunities with remote companies. Conscientiousness also helps employees stay honest and understand how their work affects the company and their colleagues

What is a work-from-home skills assessment?

A work-from-home skills assessment is a test that determines if job candidates possess the necessary skill set to thrive in a remote work environment. Applicants should have great communication, adaptability, self-discipline, and software skills. Assessing these abilities can be challenging, but ensuring that your organization recruits the right talent to drive success in the virtual realm is important. Talent assessments provide a great solution.

How can you develop work-from-home skills?

You can build remote work skills recruiters notice by:

  1. Actively practicing better communication

  2. Managing and prioritizing time effectively

  3. Ensuring basic proficiency in common technology, such as Microsoft Excel and Google Docs

  4. Staying flexible with changes and looking forward to new challenges.

  5. Asking for feedback from colleagues

Check out our top work from home skills in our list above to understand which skills to develop.


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