We’re all acutely aware of the extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the world—and each of our lives. In fact, it’s hard to envision a facet of daily living that hasn’t been affected by it, including the world of work. Many people have been unable to go into their workplaces to perform their job responsibilities, others are experiencing a rapid shift in how they do their jobs as they move towards remote working, millions have been laid off or furloughed by their employers, and workers and companies across all sectors and industries are facing a challenging and uncertain future.
As we try to make our way through these unprecedented times, all of these forces have led many of us to a powerful inflection point in our professional paths. We’re wondering what work will be like in a post-COVID world and what skills we’ll need to master to succeed on the other side of this pandemic. These are powerful and important considerations, and although it’s difficult to precisely determine how things will change in your specific industry or position, we can discern the types of skills that will likely set you up for successfully navigating the future of work. Let’s take a closer look!
One element that’s certain in the work world moving forward is uncertainty. Companies and employees need to expect the unexpected and have the ability to pivot gracefully in response to unforeseen events and challenges. Whether you own your own business or work for someone else, your approach to work needs to come with a reasonable understanding that things may change at any moment and that everything from your work responsibilities to where and how you perform your job may need to shift accordingly. Flexible and patient employees who are willing to adapt to change will have a much better shot at thriving in the post-COVID work world than those who are more rigid and set in their ways.
2. Innovative thinking
Important lessons are often learned in challenging times, and the pandemic has taught all of us—businesses included—that sometimes creative thinking is required in order to effectively tackle unforeseen issues and survive in the face of uncertainty. In the post-COVID world, it’ll be more important than ever before for employees to be able to think of innovative approaches to work tasks and getting things done. The truth is, you never know when an unexpected curveball will come flying towards a business—in the form of a pandemic, aggressive competition, rapidly shifting industry conditions, or any manner of unanticipated problems. Those who can think of clever and ingenious ways to right the ship and steer through choppy waters will be best positioned to lead the pack, while everyone else will be struggling to keep up.
3. Comfort with technology
To state the obvious, the COVID-19 outbreak was an unprecedented disruption for all businesses. That said, there were clear differences in how companies responded to the situation and how quickly they were able to strategize, get back up to speed, and stay productive during the pandemic—and a key factor was their ability to leverage available technology to keep things running as smoothly as possible. Smart companies across industries will emerge from the pandemic with a renewed appreciation for employees with the requisite tech skills to be able to perform a wide variety of evolving work tasks from anywhere using the latest and greatest technology—and you better believe that this will factor into their hiring strategies moving forward.
4. Professional maturity
In challenging times like the COVID-19 pandemic when many of us were charged with working from home, monitoring our own work schedules, managing projects, and maintaining productivity while juggling a wide array of life events, responsibilities, and emotions as life-altering events unfolded all around us wasn’t easy. It often required a high level of personal and professional maturity to stay focused, make the best of the challenging situation, and figure out new ways to stay on task and follow projects through their successful completion. You can count on the fact that employers took notice of the importance of having mature employees on their teams to make it through difficult situations. Looking for and hiring self-motivated people who hold themselves accountable will remain a key job requirement as companies look to hire in the post-COVID work world.
In many ways, the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing us to rethink how various aspects of society operate—including how we approach work. Although no one can predict the future, it’s highly likely that the post-COVID work world will continue to undergo some dramatic shifts. If you’re eager to set yourself up for success in this new professional era, consider polishing your skills in the areas mentioned here. Good luck!