Are you ready to work remotely?

Questionnaire for Individuals: Are You Ready to Work Remotely?

When it comes to what makes for an ideal remote worker, the consensus is clear: remote working is not for everyone. Some crave the working-together energy of being around teammates, as well as the sense of connection. Some need the structure and nose-to-the-grindstone work environment of an office. Some find a predetermined schedule helps them stay on track. Some need a bit extra guidance. And some just need more social interaction than what they get through a day’s worth of video calls.

So whether you’re planning to ask your boss to offer the remote option or you’re hoping to be some company’s newest remote hire, you’ll want to find out in advance just how prepared—and suited—you are to being a great teammate from afar. Then, once you know where you currently stand, you’ll know what to focus on to become even more prepared—or if you should stick to the on-site option for now.

Download and complete the QUESTIONNAIRE FOR INDIVIDUALS:

Download the PDF

Download the WORD doc



INSTRUCTIONS: Download either the PDF or Word versions of the questionnaire. If you prefer to work on paper, you could simply print it out.


Section 1



Note: depending on your situation, additional supplies you might need include an extension cord, external keyboard, mobile router, additional monitor, mouse, power adapter, or power strip.






For those with no previous experience:

  • Do you have experience working with a remote team member or (short-term) contractor? (Meaning, you work on-site, but the other person doesn’t.) YES/NOT YET
  • Have you worked with other colocated team members where you communicated with some by phone or email much more often than face-to-face? (This applies especially to large campuses or offices with multiple floors.) YES/NOT YET
  • If you don’t have any remote working experience, do you have any ideas of where you could get some experience? YES/NOT YET

For those with previous experience:







Section 2

Now, let’s tease out your replies a bit. For each question where you answered YES, write a sentence that describes or demonstrates that particular qualification. (Instructions for completing this section digitally vs. on-paper follow this paragraph.) For example: “I am willing to respond quickly to all communication to ensure our project continues smoothly.” (If you’re wondering why you should do this, that’s explained later on.) For each question where you answered NOT YET, write a sentence describing what it would take to make your honest reply a YES. This might be as simple as “I will as soon as I buy a new headset, which I’m doing tomorrow.” Or, “I don’t have ideal space at home right now, but I’ll be looking into the pricing at a coworking space later this week.” Or your reply could be more complicated, such as, “I’m not always great about responding immediately to emails, but this is something I’m willing to work on.” Most important, be honest. If your answer is, “I’m not willing to let everyone on my team know where I am or what I’m working on all the time,” then you should say so rather than pretend otherwise. The goal here is to identify what will work for you, as well as what you’re willing to work for.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR SECTION 2: With this part of the exercise we’ll want to finish with each answer as its own separate entity, whether that’s a physical square of paper or index card, or a digital “card” you can move around on your screen.

If you like the tangibility of paper, you could: write on index cards; or write longhand on paper or type your answers and then print them. (For the two paper options, divide a piece of letter paper into halves or thirds [make two or three columns if you want to type], write or type your answers, and then cut the answers into separate pieces.)

If you prefer the digital realm, consider using a board-style task manager such as Trello. (To go this route, create an ANSWERS list, and then answer each question as a separate card in that list; you’ll end with a very long list.) An app like OneNote could also work; the idea is just to make it easy for you to move an answer to a different spot in your workspace.


Section 3

Once you’ve completed Section 2 and have provided fuller answers to each question in Section 1, identify two “camps” on your digital workspace or physical table: one for YES and one for NOT YET. (For a task board like Trello, create two new lists to the right of your Answers list: YES and NOT YET.) Next, review your answers one at a time, and move them to either the YES camp or the NOT YET camp. (Some might even want a third camp, for “Not going to happen!” Again, we’re being honest here.)

Once you’ve completed that, take a look at where you stand. Based on how big each camp is, you’ll have a sense of just how ready you are to work remotely. If you decide to pursue the remote option, you’ve also just created your to-do list, since every NOT YET reply spells out exactly what you need to do to pursue that item. (This is another reason to try out Trello, since it’s designed to help you visualize a project from start to finish.)

Thus ends the at-the-moment part of this exercise; what follows will take however long it takes. Start working on your NOT YET items. Once each is done, move it to the YES camp by writing an updated sentence about it (on the back of your paper square or index card if you’re employing the tangible method). This time, describe your new proficiency in the item, as in, “I have a local dial-a-tech lined up should I ever need technical support.”

So now we come to the elaboration promised earlier. Just why should you write out proficiency statements for your YES replies? Because they make for great interview answers or cover letter inclusions, or could be used in your pitch to your boss, as in: “My preferred means of letting others know what I’m working on is to post a short update in Slack at the end of each day—in part because it helps me identify what to start on first thing the next day.” As it happens, the vast majority of traits that employers seek in a remote worker have been addressed in this exercise, so your ready answer to their future burning questions will demonstrate your ample qualification for the position.

Here’s to fruitful progress!