Although many employees are beginning to return to the office, the flexibility of work-from-home, combined with concerns about the Delta variant, means that many workplace environments are opting to embrace a hybrid model rather than fully returning to the office.
Plus, more companies have recognized the benefits of having employees that are flexible and adapt easily to change, and limiting travel to and from the workplace is also in line with the public’s growing concern minimizing our environmental impact.
Yes, there are benefits to a hybrid workplace, but that doesn’t mean that employers and employees alike won’t experience growing pains while shifting into this mode of work. Employees will need to develop a new skill set in order to thrive in this new workplace environment. The study authors of the World Economic Forum’s 2020 Future of Jobs Report have identified over a dozen “top skills” that employees will need to succeed in the hybrid workplace, which include these three essential soft skills:
Emotional Intelligence or EQ doesn’t always come naturally, but it is a skill that can be developed if you put in consistent effort.
EQ is especially valuable when we interact with others virtually. When not communicating face-to-face, we must pay extra attention to tone, explaining context, and developing awareness as to how we come across. Text messages and emails are prone to misinterpretation because they may lack context, and they certainly lack the intonation we would employ if we were speaking out loud. This is because context and how something is presented are often just as important as the words you are saying.
If you work on developing your EQ, then you will learn to understand how actions and behaviors, yours or someone else’s, may affect others. If we study our own emotions, then we are less at risk of emotional hijacking (a physiological response where reason gives way to emotion) which leads to acting out in a counterproductive way.
On top of that, cultivating a better understanding of how our feelings operate will enable us to better balance social awareness with relationship management. This will boost your ability to empathize when communicating and help you focus on clarity of communication and explanations.
Leadership and social influence
Leadership cannot necessarily be learned from a textbook or even through years of experience in a certain field. It’s a skill that permits an individual to influence others as a result of how they can understand people. To develop this, employers should try to build a culture of leadership at all levels. Good leaders know that they cannot tackle everything but need the support and coaching of all members of the team. If you work in an environment that rewards team players that help others maintain their energy and production, then everyone will feel like they have the ability to influence change for everyone’s benefit.
Taking initiative from the inside
The constant emergence of new technology has made the workplace a constantly evolving arena. “Intrapreneurship” means taking the initiative to innovate within their role, taking the spirit of entrepreneurship within the boundaries of a single firm or company. This skill is in high demand and can be practiced within any function because its main focus is to continue asking questions, testing processes, and figuring out more efficient ways of getting things done.
Employers can help create an environment that encourages intrapreneurship by ensuring that employees, regardless of their status, feel comfortable to contribute feedback and generate ideas, without any negative consequences.
This kind of attitude will allow for the team to work more constructively together while boosting problem-solving and proactive learning.