While doors to businesses and offices have started opening once more, there is still a lot we don’t know about what the world will look like post-pandemic.
Many of us probably wish that things will go back to the way they were before COVID-19. But it’s very unlikely that we’ll be getting that wish. The way we work has changed significantly in more ways than one.
People are no longer tied down in offices. Many businesses, we’ve discovered, can be run remotely. Most, if not all, job searches as well as applications and interviews are now conducted online.
This means that businesses need to ensure that everyone, regardless of their disabilities, must be able to access their website and apply for positions in their company.
Meeting current ADA compliance standards should help with that. But it’s not just the companies that need to adapt. Job seekers will also need a specific set of skills in order to succeed in their applications.
Companies have always deemed critical thinking as an essential skill in employees. It is defined as the ability to evaluate data and use it to figure out important facts and possible actions in order to determine what to do in a specific situation. Even with the changes in the workplace, critical thinking is still very important.
Certain professions such as finance, accounting, and auditing require critical thinking. Moreover, the prevalence of fake news and contrasting data necessitate the need for such a skill. In order to make an informed decision, you need to dig deeper, ask questions, and stay objective. Some real examples of critical thinking in the workplace are:
- anticipating problems and preventing them from occurring
- planning and implementing strategies
- creating a manageable budget
- streamlining work processes
- predicting product demand in the market based on industry data and trends
Your ability to communicate effectively with others is another skill that you need right now. Email and chat are often used to communicate quickly with team members and customers while most of us work from home. During virtual meetings, keeping your ideas relevant and concise can ensure your audience’s engagement. It also prevents you from taking up too much of your audience’s time.
Effective communication skills are not just limited to speaking. Listening is an important aspect. Taking the time to hear ideas and feedback from others can help develop better ideas, provide perspectives you haven’t considered. More importantly, listening can help improve interactions among team members, cement trust, and increase productivity levels.
Adaptability is a skill that many of us have had to exercise over the past year and a half or so. With significant changes still forthcoming, employers will be keen on hiring people who are able to keep working even if things are uncertain or there are obstacles standing in the way.
Adaptability also means having an open mindset, adjusting to new ways of collaborating with team members and clients, taking on different responsibilities, and adjusting to new deadlines. In addition, being adaptable requires a person to be able to “learn, unlearn, and relearn” skills.
New skills emerge faster than we can blink sometimes. In the same way, old ones can become obsolete. Adapting to the ever-changing working environment will require expanding your current knowledge base, acquiring new skills, and possibly updating old ones that will enable you to respond to whatever situation arises.
Creativity is a skill that we all need, no matter what our profession. It’s not just a matter of creating designs, art, and the like. Creativity is also about sparking new ideas and solutions.
Creative thinkers are able to think outside the box when tackling new challenges and see new opportunities. Being creative means being curious and asking questions. Is this new idea or solution going to work out?
It also requires looking at things from different perspectives. Moreover, it involves taking risks and learning from failures. Not all employees are willing to make the wrong decision; it takes courage.
The post-pandemic world is never going to be the same as our old one, no matter how much we wish for it. Part of it will feel familiar, but there will still be some unfamiliar landscape.
Regardless of what the future of work will be, becoming a critical thinker, practicing effective communication skills, learning how to adapt, and sparking your creativity should help you stand out, and take that first step towards carving the career you’re hoping for.