It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has, potentially to a large degree, fundamentally changed how the world operates both in the personal and private spheres. Nobody can be sure exactly what changes will stay and which will go when lockdowns and quarantines are complete. Still, the fact remains that it’s not likely that your day-to-day work will remain precisely the same.
With that in mind, here are ten skills you should prioritize to get ahead in a post-COVID workplace.
Skills #1 and #2: Flexibility and Adaptability
This one is pretty simple. Everything is changing, some of it faster than even employers can keep up. The technology was already changing the world and workforce as we knew it. Still, the pandemic and subsequent rise in remote work have made the process even quicker. Those who will thrive in the new normal will be those who are always ready to change their approach and learn new skills.
Skill #3: Technology Competency
It’s been hard to avoid in any industry until this point. Still, the pandemic has fundamentally required even the most traditional business to look into tech skills. Remote working and video conferencing are essential, but it isn’t just these. To prepare for future problems, tools like robotics, big data, artificial intelligence, and virtual/augmented reality will all play a key role. If you can help your business out, no matter what your industry, you’ll be ahead of the game.
Skill #4: Innovation and Creativity
This skill is for both businesses and individual employees. Through the crisis, businesses have had to find new, creative ways to continue when most or all of their employees can’t make it to work. As well, some companies have radically adapted their approach temporarily to innovate materials such as breathing aids to help with the crisis. Technology is excellent, but human ingenuity is a non-negotiable requirement for the future.
Skill #5: Understanding and Using Data
Every business, big or small, needs data to run in this day and age. Gathering, making sense of, and using data helps predict market instability and deliver the right product to customers at the right time. It’s not enough to just collect it, though: businesses will be seeking people who genuinely understand how to work with it.
Skill #6: Critical Thinking
The pandemic has exacerbated the problem with ‘fake news’ as everyone from businesses to governments to religious leaders have tried to skew information to their gain. Objective evaluation of the data isn’t as easy as people expect, and being able to do so is an invaluable skill.
Skill #7: Coding and other Digital Skills
We already mentioned increasing talent with technology, but the software is essential too. If you can code, develop websites, or market online, you already have a head start over other candidates. You will be able to help keep the business running in disasters – and, since everyone should have a website these days, on a day-to-day level too.
Skill #8: Leadership
Without pointing any fingers, we can all agree that with very few exceptions, the approaches to dealing with this pandemic were slow at best. Social distancing and especially remote working aren’t just going to disappear when lockdown ends. This continuation means that a lot of people at different levels will suddenly get thrust into leadership roles. Collaboration and the ability to take charge without taking over are essential skills.
Skill #9: Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
As well as the business and tech side, you need to be able to understand, control, and express your own emotions while taking into consideration everyone else’s, especially in times of panic. Uncertainty like the pandemic has made human connections more critical than ever.
Skill #10: Lifelong Learning
The World Economic Forum estimates that over the next five years, the skills considered essential in the workplace will change completely. What that means is that you will need to be continually learning – for your own sake and your company.