The hybrid workforce has taken over the market during COVID-19 times, and with that, soft skills at the workplace are needed more than ever. The work industry is constantly changing, and with it, employers are valuing different skills than those notable in previous decades. Furthermore, the new hybrid workplace seems to be here to stay.
Gensler wrote an article referring to this new working model as “the new 9-to-five," and since the coronavirus pandemic started, more companies have started to adopt it. Although we're heading towards the new normal, the hybrid working model has proved to be more than just a trend. Moreover, as many surveys have demonstrated, we need to consider that many of us aren't looking forward to coming back to the office full time. Hybrid work technology is a new concept for all of us, including business leaders. There are tons of challenges that come with managing a hybrid workforce, and some of them are maintaining the company culture and maintaining a balance between the remote and in-office experience.
However, we were all witnesses to a worldwide experiment where we all were forced to work from different locations, not at the office, during most of 2020. Thus, although we are unable to meet each other as we did in the past, everything has continued via the internet in the form of a "work-from-anywhere" environment.
Besides this, we’ve also learned together that soft skills in the workplace are as important as computer skills. Some of these can be categorized as empathy and inclusivity. Soft skills are not a new concept, fields like psychology have studied it for many years, but many individuals are still ignoring their importance.
What are Soft Skills in The Workplace?
Soft skills are known as abilities related directly to how a person works. These can include interpersonal or communication skills, time management, and so on. Attributes like these are necessary for a person to succeed at the workplace.
There are a large of soft skills valuable for most employers. They are divided into multiple categories. For instance:
Communication skills may include: non-verbal communication, public speaking, listening, and so on.
Critical thinking skills may include adaptability, creativity, flexibility, problem-solving abilities, etc.
Leadership skills are appreciated, but not necessary as not every role out there is a leadership position. We include conflict management and resolution, deal-making, and decision making in this category.
Teamwork skills include accepting feedback, collaboration, empathy, emotional intelligence, and so on.
There is an endless list of categories. First, of course, computer skills are required, but you’ll need more than that to adapt to the new hybrid working environment.
Importance of Soft Skills at the Workplace
Thanks to soft skills, employees within a company can utilize their expertise and technical abilities without letting their interpersonal issues or poor market perceptions get in the way of their work. Thus, they are hugely necessary for us to advance in our careers.
Nowadays, the business landscape takes into account communication and relationships more than ever. This way, you as a leader can present your company in a positive light to the public and other potential talents.
3 Soft Skills for the Hybrid Workplace that Every Employee Should Have
1. Emotional Intelligence
This is something you're born with. However, not everyone is good at it, but as with any other ability, you can train yourself to become good at it with consistency and effort. As we do not see each other often, emotional intelligence may be useful for communicating with people even if you're not seeing them face-to-face.
Virtual meetings are different from in-person conferences. We need to pay more attention to the way we speak, our tone, what we're explaining, and so on if we want to deliver a clear, understandable message. Emotional intelligence is useful in these instances as it helps you understand how your actions affect those who surround you.
You’ll need to develop some self-awareness to get started with your emotional intelligence. This way, you’ll be able to understand yourself better and will also be able to manage other people regardless of their current emotional state.
It can be not very easy to trust someone you've never seen in person. Although this skill is more oriented towards leaders, it is also something that employees should have in mind all the time. As not all of you will be physically together, it is the duty of the leader to make sure that everyone feels included whenever important meetings are happening.
You can build trust within your workforce by talking to each employee individually. Ensure that they're being appreciated for their skills and who they are as a person, as well as what they contribute to your team. We can use technology to our advantage by performing team bonding activities now and then, for instance.
3. Taking initiative
Companies are at risk of becoming irrelevant more than they were in the past. This is because the old ways that worked in the past are not that useful anymore. Thus, it is time for leaders and employees to be creative and start taking the initiative to leave the doors open for innovation. This skill is also known as “intrapreneurship." Although it isn't an official term yet, many sources refer to it to influence the employees to innovate and act as the company owners regardless of their hybrid work schedule.
Intrapreneurship has become a necessary skill in many places, especially those with a decentralized organizational chart. In addition, employers are taking into account their employees more than ever, so being able to influence others and taking the initiative will likely become highly appreciated skills in the new hybrid working environment.
Soft skills in the workplace aren’t something new, and with the addition of smart office products to our workstation, we’ll need to come up with creative ways to relate to others as we’re present at our workplaces. These soft skills can be developed with practice if you think you're not so good at them. However, taking some time to evaluate yourself and become more prominent in certain abilities will help you achieve your career goals in less time.
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