From water-cooler breaks to online video calls, from blaming the traffic for arriving late to office to blaming internet connectivity, from verbal brainstorming sessions to online chat sessions; the pandemic has already altered the way we work. But some day, the optimists in us, believe that the pandemic will be over. Will things revert to what we were used to, or are these changes permanent? No one can really say. What we can do though, is be prepared for what could be expected as the future of the workplace. In this article, we at Team Codesign look at some skills you may need to survive in a post-pandemic workplace.
Tech Skills: So you’ve learnt how to conduct video conferences, schedule meetings and share documents online, but are these technical skills enough for the future? Apparently not! Apart from these there will also arise the need for increased awareness of cyber threats and troubleshooting. But that’s not all.
The most important aspect of technology is to find ways to apply it to one’s industry, even if that industry is not a traditionally online one. For example, teachers have begun assessing assignments and conducting examinations through online content management systems. For businesses, it means making as many processes as digital as possible. For human resource teams it means finding ways to measure an employee’s productivity online. And for businesses that largely work online, it means enhancing what they already do.
In the post-pandemic workplace, one will not only have to embrace technology but also adapt it to suit their line of work.
Communication Skills: How often have you thought someone was upset with you when all that happened was that their Caps Lock key was switched on by mistake? Workers today not only need to use a variety of communication platforms, they also need to grasp what kind of conversation is appropriate on each platform. For example, is it acceptable to send a resignation letter on a chat application? Or should one engage in casual conversation on an online work forum?
Without the backing of non-verbal cues to clarify what is being said, the digital space opens us up to miscommunication and misinterpretations. Having good communication skills is about conveying your ideas with clarity. And in the digital era, everybody needs to relearn the way they communicate.
Remote Productivity: It’s one thing to work remotely by force; it’s another to do it by choice. Yes, we’ve all adapted to working from home for now, but is it just a temporary adjustment? As companies begin seeing the benefits of remote work such as the costs it saves and employees start enjoying a new work-life balance; the office of tomorrow could be expected to be a hybrid space.
With some people working from home and others working on-site, flexible schedules are the way forward. Therefore, the workforce of tomorrow will not just need to be better collaborators; they will also need to devise methods to avoid what is called pandemic procrastination by maintaining high levels of productivity while working remotely in the long run.
Empathy: Imagine this. You are on a video call with a colleague from another country. While the dress code may be informal, the colleague also decides to put his feet up on his desk. Do you consider this behaviour inappropriate or are you alright with it? Similarly, is it acceptable to eat while on a video call or not? How you react to these behaviours are largely dependent on your understanding of other cultures and your levels of empathy.
With companies now diversifying their workforce and hiring talent from across the globe, empathy is a skill that will be sought out. Empathy is the ability to put oneself in someone else’s shoes. Making adjustments to suit other people’s time zones, understanding cultural nuances, and being accepting of different working styles are skills that both employees and management in a post-pandemic world need to have.
Adaptability: The pandemic changed the landscape of the workspace within just a few weeks, and who knows what the future holds! Workers in a post pandemic world will need to prove their ability to handle drastic changes. From adopting new technologies to stretching oneself beyond an expected job role the worker of tomorrow needs to be open-minded, flexible and adaptable.
As we all grapple with the idea of a new world order, at Team Codesign we believe in focusing on what is in one’s control i.e. our own skills. So for those who’ve suffered during this difficult time, we hope this article helps give you some direction. And for those who still have their jobs, we advise not taking anything for granted. What skills do you think are required in a post pandemic workplace? Share your thoughts with us. After all, we’re all in the same boat.