The change in the workplace landscape had been on its way for a long time and Covid-19 helped expedite it.
People currently working from home are encountering added levels of complexity, such as adopting technologies like Teams and Zoom as well as finding new ways to collaborate with people and re-create non-existent “water cooler moments”.
And the homeworking experience will not be equal for everyone: some won’t have the facilities – such as home offices and high-speed internet – to make remote working functional or pleasurable.
However, one thing that remains unchanged is the need for training, learning and certification. Indeed, new roles will develop from the “new normal” that need different skills and the training industry has responded with increased learning online and on-demand courses.
In addition, companies should call on the capabilities contained within their own teams: sharing learning and new skills through online portals and in-house workshops.
Best practices for employability and agility
Industry best practices and certifications will continue to be important for upskilling. Understanding ITIL 4’s holistic approach will help employees be more agile and increase their employability. The organization and people elements in the ITIL 4 guidance emphasise a continuous improvement approach, because you’re never finished getting better.
Employees also need a mindset shift to life-long learning: re-skilling, upskilling and obtaining a certificate is both a long-lasting career accomplishment and has mental health benefits.
Top workplace skills in demand for 2021
So, what is the variety of skills and other changes that organizations will be looking for in the post-pandemic world?
- Empathy: understanding and having compassion for colleagues. It takes practice to know and acknowledge that not everyone is feeling great. Also, recognizing when your ability to show empathy falls short and doing better next time.
- Deliberate practice and focus: being present when having conversations and not multitasking. If you’re talking to Joe, you shouldn’t be thinking about or doing anything else. Distractions remove you from a productive zone and if that happens enough you waste time.
- Cultural change: companies live and breathe the culture that their leadership demonstrates. This means leaders enthusing about and reinforcing the culture, over and over again. Using the “let me show you” principle to talk about what the company’s doing, where it’s going and how it’s helping people working from home or in a hybrid way.
If organizations want high impact employees, they need to identify the things that will help achieve that.
- Collaboration: this means working across multiple teams and applications across the globe. Along with having the right tools and technology, today, collaboration means also reaching out one-to-one and creating channels to collaborate and share information via other messaging methods.
- Becoming your own IT support: in many cases, IT support at home is you! The truth is, more people have to become more technically minded to solve local IT issues. It doesn’t mean becoming a coder but having basic IT support skills. Recruiters hiring for remote roles will need people who are more self-sufficient.
- Change in working hours: Traditional office hours are likely to shift for people who work best at night or weekends. This is about creating flexibility for people rather than boxing them in to a set schedule.
What remains important is being able to upskill everyone who needs and wants it. This means organizations knowing how to enable people to attain the knowledge and skills they need: both avoiding a potential skills gap and giving people the opportunity to grow.