Feminine coworking space featuring a table, chairs and grey sofa

If you are not working in the front line for the foreseeable future, I’ll bet that you’ve too much time on your hands. Perhaps that DIY list that you’ve had for too long has been ticked off, the entirety of the Sopranos has been rewatched, and there is only so much banana bread you can bake, and eat.

I’m here to tell you that there’s no time like the present to develop the skills you need in the workplace, as post COVID19:

  1. Your job is not going to look the same 
  2. There’ll be more competition for your job
  3. Your job might not exist

Now is the chance to make sure that you are ahead of the curve, so that when you re-enter the workplace you’ll be first in line for a promotion or, let’s face it, less likely to be let go. 

Depending on your situation, here are a few skills that will benefit you in the future, when we return to semi-normality. 

Returning to Work in the Same Position

If you are lucky to be in a position that’s relatively safe, we’re all jealous. Think about how your workplace might change when your office reopens, and how your working life be different. Will you need to learn anything new to cover for colleagues who won’t be returning? Will you be working from home a lot more? Will you need to learn more technical skills?

One of the fundamental changes we’ll see is that working from home will become normal, and therefore your ability to communicate virtually is of utmost importance. This involves finding the right technology to use with your team, writing appropriate emails, negotiating sales and managing relationships with customers, and working towards common goals. 

You’ve obviously been doing this currently, but take a step back and ask yourself what’s working and what’s not. Once you understand what the future of your position looks like, you can then come up with some simple rules that everyone in your team can follow so that you can get the job done efficiently and effectively! Courses such as Udemy's How to Manage and Influence Your Virtual Team and Coursera's Communication Strategies for a Virtual Age are a great place to start to think about what procedures you need to put in place. 

As there will be more working from home, it’s also likely that your work and life will bleed into each other, so planning skills will also be top priority. Again, think about what’s worked and what hasn’t worked. As outputs, rather than time in the office will become the new focus, what ways will you be able to achieve your work goals? How will you differentiate work from home life? It may be that the traditional 9-5 routine doesn’t suit you, with children to look after, but getting in the super productive few hours when they are napping, alongside calls and emails has worked well. Eluceo has a number of blogs on productivity to help you understand ways of better organising your time and a course such as Master Planning can really help you get on top of what needs to be done each week, month and year. 

Returning to Work Having Been Furloughed

If you are currently not working, but are intending to go back to your old position post COVID19, you want to show employers that you have not completely idled away your time during lockdown. They want to see that you have a sense of ownership over your career and your place within the company. As it’s likely that your job won’t be entirely the same when you return, again think about how they might change. It may be that your company also introduces more home and flexible working, and therefore you might want to consider some of the skills above.

You will also want to think about what your next career steps look like. Is there anything you could learn while you are off that can help you make this step? Is there any software that you don’t know how to use that you could learn? Are there any soft skills that can help you side-step into an alternative role? Additionally, read up on what the latest developments are in your industry, to give you some ideas as to what skills to develop and help you get ahead of the game. 

Returning to Work for Everyone

One of the most desired skills post COVID19 will the ability to think differently and bring in fresh ideas to help change the direction of a business. The world has changed, including the way we consume products and services, the ways in which we communicate, why we travel, and what we choose to focus our time and energy on. Business will only get through this if they adapt to the changing environment, and create products and services that suit our needs.

Luckily for you, great ideas do come when you are baking bread or doing the DIY. But equally, they can only develop from of a backdrop of knowledge, and there’s no better time than lockdown to work on that backdrop of knowledge. Once again, explore what the future of your industry might look like, but also delve into other industries. What are they doing that could also be suitable for your industry? Here, subject matter doesn’t matter, read, watch and listen to anything and everything you enjoy, and somewhere along the way your brain will piece it all together!

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