Find ways to employ virtually gentle skills
Soft skills, such as body language analysis, empathy and confidence-building techniques, are an important part of a business analyst’s skills to do their job effectively. To use these skills, however, consultants need to be in the room with clients. While this is not an option, you need to be creative in finding ways to hire them.
Video conferencing is going to play a big role, as it makes the conversation experience more personal and gives you access to non-verbal cues, notes Terry Rice, a business consultant. However, not every conversation should be through video for you to use those soft skills. Even if you can’t judge non-verbal cues in phone calls, you can still analyze the tone of voice and context clues to help read between the lines. This will help you to empathize with the challenges and needs of your clients.
You can communicate that empathy and build trust with clients, which is just as important, writes John Formica, a small business consultant and customer experience trainer. In written communication, for example, try to match your response tone used in the client’s initial email.
Remember that the more you interact with your clients in different formats, the more opportunities you have to use your soft skills to gain the underlying insights they expect.
Employ tools that make it easy to work remotely
As a remote BA consultant you need the right tools to work efficiently and successfully. Healthcare IT consultant Kelly Jordan says, in fact, it can be more efficient than working on your client’s site if you have access to everything you need.
So what do you need Much of this depends on your work process, but there are some standard tools that you don’t need when working together in a physical position that you may want to consider when working remotely.
In addition to the obvious hardware like a computer, headset and WiFi hotspot, your other standard tools are a shareable calendar, a team chat app, a video-conferencing tool and a remote desktop access tool. These are essential, but there are many more that can make you more efficient as a remote consultant. The team at workplace automation company Zapier has compiled a comprehensive list of proposed tools for remote work.
Consider their accessibility and usability for clients as you choose who you hire. You will want only those tools that make it easy to work remotely, not more challenging.
Be intentional about being organized
The agency is going to be an important part of your remote consulting work. Laurel Farrar, CEO of Distribute Consulting and founder of the Remote Work Association, says preparation is the key to staying organized. “Organized people are thought of as being able to get things done quickly and easily because of adequate preparation.”
Anyone can be organized to succeed in a remote work environment: you just have to be intentional about it. Make sure you have a dedicated workspace that is not your bed, for example, it is important for you to remember exactly what “going to work” is. Schedule work and stick to a routine. Once you have decided on the tools you will use, use them to organize and work.
Your calendar, task list, meeting schedule, and overall workflow are all aspects that require your constant attention, especially when working from a distance. Find out what works best for you and keep you organized and productive, writes Jill Duffy in PC Magazine.
Remote BA consultation is a big change from the traditional way of working and business analysts need to rethink the way they work. With the right mindset, preparation and tools, you can succeed in achieving not only your client goals, but your own goals as well.
Photo: Kathy Yulet / © 123 RF.com, langstrup / © 123RF.com, Andrei Popov / © 123 RF.com