When the pandemic hit, many companies adjusted their typical ways of operating and opened up the option to work from home to keep everyone safe. Since then, some companies have brought employees back to the office, but many of them decided to continue letting their employees work from home.

Helpful Skills to Survive and Even Thrive in the Work From Home Life

However, not everyone is suited to work from home. It takes some special work skills to be able to do so efficiently. As it turns out, veterans have the necessary skills to do so that they learned from their military service. Let’s look at seven of the most popular.

1. Communicative

Being able to effectively communicate to supervisors, peers, subordinates, and customers is critical in the business world. Veterans are well skilled at doing this in that they had to learn not only how to follow orders received from above early in their military career, but later when in a leadership position, how to push those orders down to subordinates in a manner that they would understand.

2. Assertiveness

This skill involves knowing what questions to tactfully ask (and when) or clarifications to seek if something is not clear.  Knowing exactly what is asked of you in the business world is important to be successful, but not as consequential as giving a wrong order to soldiers resulting in them getting injured or killed.

3. Organized

While there is not a cut-and-dried solution to working from home, it is much easier to do so if you have a dedicated home office where you can keep things organized and close at hand. Having a home office setting background for your Zoom calls also gives you a more professional look whether the calls are with your boss or customers.

Organization of course is a soft skill learned from military service. Many veterans were responsible for millions of dollars of equipment while they were serving, and it was critical to the mission – and in the case of classified equipment to the national security – that all items were accounted for at all times.

4. Motivated

One of the issues of working from home is that there is nobody around to make sure you are getting your work done. Therefore to stay on top of things, you must be a self-starter and be able to work on your own. That is a big problem with some non-military colleagues; they need that boot in the butt to get them going in the morning. While in the military, you either learned early in your career to be self-motivated or you didn’t last long as a military member.

5. Collaborative

Just because you are working from home doesn’t mean that you are working in a vacuum. Many employees working at home are members of a collective team…just that all members are in the same location. As a matter of fact, they can be in many different time zones, so knowing how to use both asynchronous and synchronous communication platforms, along with project tracking tools, is essential to keep a team functioning.

The way the military is structured, most of us were either a team member or team leader. In some cases, we were both – only on different teams, so we know this essential office skill from both ends really well!

6. Resourceful

Being out of the office physically can present some challenges with resources. However, being resourceful means you know where to find answers to your questions or missing resources before going to your boss. From online tutorials, podcasts, webinars or training sessions, you go the distance on your own first to find the resources you need, but do not have.

Veterans learned how to be resourceful while serving because we usually did not have everything we needed. Remember the “do more with less” mantra? But we were usually able to get what we needed to get by through careful sleuthing, trading or “midnight requisitioning”.

7. Adaptable

Having the ability to adapt to changing conditions is at the heart of military training. Many of us frequently had to do so (and in many cases under austere conditions). As a work from home employee, you might have to wait a day for an employee response if at the other end of the world. However, you adapt your work process putting that piece on hold until you get an answer back. But it does not hold up your workflow in other areas.

Veteran Soft Skills Key Driver in Work From Home Success

While many non-military employees may struggle with a work-at-home situation, veterans are well suited for this because of the soft skills they learned from military service – the exact same skills remote workers need to excel!

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Kness retired in November 2007 as a Senior Noncommissioned Officer after serving 36 years of service with the Minnesota Army National Guard of which 32 of those years were in a full-time status along with being a traditional guardsman. Kness takes pride in being able to still help veterans, military members, and families as they struggle through veteran and dependent education issues.