Over the last couple of months, we’ve been in the middle of an incredible re-invention process. Depending on your life and the roles you play, this process looked different for everyone. With stay-at-home orders in place, people had no choice but to get creative on how they chose to spend their time. For some, this meant neighborhood walks and family bike rides, crafting chalk messages on sidewalks and staying connected while observing social distancing. For others, it was a time of quietness and contemplation as they sought to make sense of where they are now compared with where they were.
During this time, work also took on new structures and parameters. Depending on roles, this might have included extra hours, overtime and enhanced safety precautions. With others it necessitated relocating workstations to home, shifting to virtual meetings and figuring out the best Zoom camera angle. New schedules and more people at home also meant balancing childcare and work duties and starting each day with a goal of finding the quietest corner in a home office or empty bedroom.
Change the Only Constant
Seemingly overnight, we discovered new ways of working and living that were new to many of us. While by no means perfect, collectively businesses and employees found new ways to get work done amid stay-at-home orders. Looking back three months ago, few of us would have thought any of this possible.
What was impossible to see in the moment and in the long days of isolation was that throughout this time, change was happening on many levels. Each person was making emotional and mental changes that have in part prepared them for the next step(s) forward.
As we begin to contemplate the next level of change as businesses make plans to return and bring employees slowly back into offices, many of us are considering what this next level of personal and professional reinvention might look like. While everyone has a guess and opinions on the “right” way to do things are abundant, it is likely this too will have its own phases and adjustments.
What is clear is that throughout this process, employers and employees alike will need to bring with them a full line-up of soft skills. This includes communication skills, leadership, critical thinking, teamwork, work ethic and a positive attitude. The hard skills likely have not lost their edge, but in new situations soft skills, or people skills, are especially critical to help navigate the unknown.
While some will be excited to begin this new chapter and will embrace the reinvention required, others will be apprehensive. As we collectively navigate the new challenges and scenarios think of and cultivate these soft skills as the ultimate tools for reinvention personally and professionally.