Working from Home…Soft Skills Are More Important Than Ever
Throughout 2020 and into 2021, both employees and business owners alike have had to rapidly adapt to a new and revolutionary working environment. The working world as we know it was drastically altered with the introduction of the Corona Virus, better known as the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods of work began to revolve around the notion of an online office, forcing many to question whether or not businesses will ever transition back to the traditional business structure of on-site trading and working from a traditional office. This also pends the question of the importance of soft skills, which are generally noticed more in person than online.
It may be hard to believe, but the remote workplace is fundamental for enhancing soft skills and aiding in your excellence as an employee. The following soft skills have become even more crucial in an employee’s ability to achieve success in this foreign remote workplace:
Being perhaps the most obvious soft skill required in these uncertain times, adaptability means being able to rapidly learn and apply new skills and behaviours in response to changing or unforeseen circumstances. Adapting to working from home has proved a tremendous struggle for some. There has been a loss of support groups, the incidental ‘corridor’ conversation and a general sense of depravity regarding genuine human connection, with the nature of online video chatting being what it is often felt to be disingenuous. Moreover, the lines between the personal and the work life have been blurred, with a new layer of difficulty arising for those struggling to adapt. Mastering adaptability has become a necessity, both for your mental health and career opportunities.
Employers look for adaptability when hiring new staff as change is inevitable, and employees who can master it demonstrate their ability to work effectively, regardless of their environment. Adaptability is therefore often included in job descriptions because of its importance for growth within a role.
Another soft skill, essential for remote working, is resilience. Resilience constantly proves important for a number of reasons. Particularly, it enables you to develop mechanisms which protect you from potentially harmful or disappointing experiences. Resilience also allows you to maintain balance in your life despite any difficult or stressful periods and allows you to continue to grow as an employee. For some, working from home can pose a significant threat to their mental health and therefore affect their ability to excel at their work. Therefore, mastering the soft skill of resilience, being able to quickly survey a situation and be shielded from its stresses, becomes paramount for success when working from home.
Emotional intelligence allows you to understand and manage your emotions to self-motivate and to foster positive social interactions. Such a skill becomes even more significant when you are away from the office. Your ability to discern a colleague or customer’s issue swiftly and thus manage the situation alleviates the stress on both parties. Therefore, emotional intelligence proves a vital component of successful workplace relations and inevitably feeds into your work productivity.
55% of communication is delivered through body language, something less visible over video chatting platforms and completely absent in a phone call. Moreover, with remote working, there is decreased opportunity for employees to communicate across the organisation, which has been shown to provide several benefits such as increased employee morale and commitment. Communication is a significant soft skill as it plays an integral role in workplace productivity and its effective operation. In these uniquely challenging times, effective communication has become even more difficult and therefore you must work harder to show clear communication and body language in your online interactions.
Teamwork and collaboration foster an atmosphere of friendship, loyalty and belonging. These close-knit relationships motivate employees to create and excel in their field. They also promote supportive and cooperative workplaces. However, remote team projects can often take longer to complete and come with substantial confusion. Many staff therefore, get discouraged in the process, forfeiting this particularly important opportunity for human connection and creative exploration. Instead, you should embrace the new challenge of collaborating online and alter your expectations of what teamwork and collaboration look like to make online collaboration work for you. Through this, you will show leadership and be seen as a valuable employee or business owner.
In a fierce fight to win a job, a commitment to maintaining and developing your soft skills will give you a competitive edge. Career Crossroads International has years of experience in career coaching to help you stand out as a strong candidate and their expertise extends especially to soft skills and using them in the workplace.
We invite you to complete our free CCI Soft Skills on-line self-assessment, which will provide you with a confidential, personalised report that catalogues your soft skills.
About Michael Boyd
Michael Boyd is the Founder and Director of Career Crossroads International, (CCI) an Australian based organisation working across the globe that uses more than 20 years of talent management experience and expertise to bring people and business together. Our unique, personal, approach forms lasting strategic partnerships with our clients to deliver a bespoke talent management service that always exceeds expectations.