5 Essential Skills for the Flexible Employee

On 5 April, more of us will be allowed to go back to office. Co-chair of the COVID-19 multi-ministry task force Lawrence Wong said that up to 75% of the employees who are presently able to work from home can now be at the workplace at any one time, up from the previous 50%.

This is a shift from working-from-home as a default mode to a more “flexible and hybrid way” of working. Therefore, no matter what kind of working arrangement your boss wants, the onus is on you as an employee to demonstrate how you have delivered while working remotely and assuage managers performance will not be compromised.

Conversely, if you are searching for your first job in this new environment, or looking to distinguish yourself in the digital workspace, you must be wondering – what are recruiters and managers looking for in employees today?

We highlight five essential skills for the “new normal” of hybrid work.

  1. Strong written communication
  2. Not everything can be done via phone or a Zoom videoconference. The written word is experiencing a new heyday as we email, message and sometimes even fax to get the work done. Research estimates that when working remotely, more than half of our communication is written rather than verbal.

    This means it is a good time to brush up your writing skills, whether through a course or just asking a colleague to proofread. Make sure to double-check your messages for spelling, grammar or punctuation errors and look out for inflections of tone and style.

  3. Digital savvy
  4. We are online like never before as we work from home, the office, the hottdesk or the co-sharing space, so tech skills are a must. Can you troubleshoot your connection, set up a router, or ensure documents are encrypted before they are sent? These basic skills are essential today.

    Also, the tech sector continues to grow and hire in this period, bolstered by an increase in demand. It may be time to look into a career in data science, digital marketing or cybersecurity.

  5. Focus
  6. A large part of why many of us wanted to work in the office in the first place was to avoid all the pesky interruptions of home life – the microwave beeping, kids clamouring, people coming in and out of the house. Hence, organisations are looking for people who can focus on the job even if other things threaten to take away their attention.

    Find a quiet space to work in, no matter where you are, and set some clear rules and guidelines for yourself to make your workspace as distraction-free as possible. It also helps to learn some mental techniques to keep yourself focused on your tasks.

  7. Adaptability
  8. You may be coordinating with colleagues all over the world, or managing sudden changes and shifts in deadlines and projects. Adaptability is essential for the executive of today, who must be prepared to face disruptions and changes.

    For this reason, it is good to think about backup plans, possible scenarios or what-ifs when you approach a task. It may take a bit of creative problem solving to find a solution, but that’s all part of being adaptable.

  9. Time management

  10. To work effectively, you need good time-management skills. You may choose to set up a timetable of your own, or set timers and stopwatches to make sure you stay on course. Some combine social interaction with watching the clock by asking colleagues to give them reminders, as well.