November 2, 2020

The world as we know it has shifted rather abruptly, with the economy and job market being turned upside down by the global pandemic. As countries implement strict measures to contain the deadly outbreak, it is clear that the post-Covid workplace will never be the same. Apart from getting accustomed to remote working and virtual interactions, employers and employees have had to create a new structure for themselves and be more tech-savvy over the past few months. Worried that your current skills are not relevant anymore? Perhaps it’s time to take note of these five essential skills that will stand you in good stead for the future—regardless if you are a leader or not. 

Be Versatile

Even before the pandemic, workplaces have already been rapidly transforming and the virus only accelerated the process. One of the most crucial skills any employer and employee should possess is the ability to be flexible and adapt to change according to market conditions. The concept of job security or having one “permanent job” forever is a fallacy, which will only hold you back from upgrading and learning new skills. In times of crisis, it is important to maintain a positive and open mindset: be it coping with unexpected deadlines or taking on additional responsibilities that may not be within your current job scope. Don’t be afraid of challenging yourself; not only do you grow exponentially, but you also accumulate experience.  

Be Creative

Most will claim that innovation is a bedrock of success for any company.  And many businesses were able to stay afloat during the pandemic through innovation. For example, Paintvine, a New Zealand-based events company used to host “paint and sip” events in restaurants, but when lockdown mandates were put in place, they shifted their entire business online. Customers would choose the paintings they wanted to recreate and were sent art supplies and follow-along tutorial videos. Gradually, their online subscription classes created a new revenue stream for the company and almost 60 per cent of the subscribers were first-timers. 

Innovation and ingenuity go hand in hand, which is why employers will look for people with creativity to think of enterprising solutions to drive the business forward. Paul Buchheit, the American computer engineer who created Gmail, was displeased with how inefficient external email servers were, so he made a simple email software for internal communications. Soon, his creative side project became one of the tech giant’s most notable features. 

Be Empathetic

One of the most overlooked skill is the ability to deal with people, which requires a great deal of empathy and emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is the key to building solid relationships with employees, clients and co-workers. As a leader, it is important to show empathy to your staff during this period of uncertainty and volatility. Express concern for their personal welfare and assure them that there will be no layoffs for the time being. 

Be a Tech Expert

As the second wave of the pandemic surges across the globe, companies have to continue working remotely. In time to come, this new reality may render physical offices obsolete and as more businesses go online, digital marketing, e-commerce, web development and business analytics will be in great demand. That aside, artificial intelligence, robotics, big data and virtual reality are emerging rapidly, so people who possess these technical skills will be an asset to the organisation. 

Be a Critical Thinker

Since the onslaught of the virus, the world has been inundated by an avalanche of misinformation and fake news, as leaders, companies and governments attempt to point fingers at others. Being able to think critically will allow you to be discerning and objective without jumping to conclusions. Moreover, the internet is full of deepfakes, making it harder for people to recognise what is real and what is not. A critical thinker uses thoughtful reasoning and evidence-based knowledge to solve problems, which can reduce hasty business decisions and costly blunders. Set an example by modelling critical thinking at the top, so that the skill will trickle down to the rest of the team to follow suit. Ultimately, you always want to have the optimal answer to a problem that saves you time, money and stress.