Though a three-word phrase, the future of work is a phrase and movement loaded with implications and notions. As we try to fill in the gaps in our heads about what the future holds, it’s hard not to contemplate what skills we need to adapt to this restructured world of work. If automation is here to replace the future of work, what does that mean for employees? Here are skills you need to adapt to the future of work:
- Strong soft skills
In the future of work where we’re trading meetings for asynchronous communication and companies are focusing more on culture, soft skills will be prioritized. Soft skills is an umbrella term that encompasses skills beyond technical skills. Think of interpersonal skills, communication, stress management, and creativity.
Soft skills are what’s needed to build a repertoire with your coworkers. While technical skills can always be trained and honed, soft skills are the driving force behind teamwork and more effective communication. In fact, 85% of job success comes from having well-developed people and soft skills.
- Being adaptable
Change is at the core of an evolving world where technology is advancing rapidly. It may feel daunting to be an employee in the midst of this prolific future of work movement, but all it takes is flexibility and an adaptable mind. Whether it’s a change in the platform your company is using or a societal work change, being adaptable is key to improving.
This adaptability needs to be exercised on all fronts: on the employee side and as an organization. Being adaptable to company culture, compensation, benefits, and work models will make your organization a desirable place to be. A survey conducted in 2018 showed that “55% of Generation X respondents said that work flexibility is important, compared to 49% of Generation Z respondents, 53% of millennials, and 50% of boomers.” The importance of work flexibility stems from its impact on work-life balance.
- Being technology-oriented
The future of work doesn’t mean that all jobs are going to be replaced with automation. It’s important to not see technology as a hindrance, but as a medium that can improve your day-to-day tasks and organization.
Technologies like Loom, Notion, and Zoom are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to technology that makes processes more efficient.
Project management systems such as Monday or Asana can help you keep track of deadlines and keep work processes flowing. Zeplin can help streamline the design process by creating a workspace for designers and non-designers to collaborate. An automated Google Doc can be used to gather data instead of reaching out manually, and so forth. It’s only when we leverage the power of technology that we are most effective.
- Being collaborative
While working from anywhere sounds more like working independently, it’s actually quite the opposite. Working from anywhere requires more collaboration between teams and employees. That’s because not physically being next to coworkers in the office means trading instantaneous communication for asynchronous communication.
Being collaborative opens you up to new opportunities and ideas. Being a team player is critical for team and organization health, as it establishes a notion of a company that collectively works, as opposed to disjointed departments with everyone in the dark. In fact, a survey done at the Queens University of Charlotte found that “nearly 3 in 4 employers rate teamwork and collaboration as very important.” It’s the health of a work environment that sets the tone for employees, so your eagerness to collaborate will aid in strengthening your work environment, wherever you go.
- Being innovative
Years ago, it may have seemed impossible to have imagined remote work becoming the new norm. With offices created solely for working and restaurants relying on office workers, it seemed like a pipe dream, as it would require a lot of moving parts. After all, what would happen to empty offices, trains, and restaurants that relied on the work lunch crowd?
The future of work was galvanized by a massive societal shift of what work truly is. As an employee working in the future of work, being innovative and bringing your A-game is what will set you apart. Being receptive to new changes, challenges, and ideas is at the core of the future of work.
Innovation is a driving force with employees, customers, and people. In fact, “84% of respondents say it is somewhat or very important that the company they buy from is innovative.” These innovative ideas are born from innovative minds and a strong team, which is why innovation has to be at the forefront of a company in order to fuel the future of work from within.
While the future of work has shaken up the world of work as we know it, it has come with welcome changes: the prevalence of working from anywhere, distributed teams, and flat hierarchy work models. These coveted skills will be the differentiating factor when it comes to hiring in the future of work era.