There are few people who would deny that the COVID19 pandemic has changed our lives in dramatic and profound ways. One of those changes in particular is in the employment sector. I am deeply saddened by the millions of people who have been forced to file for unemployment as a direct result of this pandemic.
As one who works in workforce development, this area is of great concern to me. One thing I feel very strongly about is that the post-pandemic world of work is going to change in dramatic ways, primarily in the telecommute space. The ways in which many businesses have had to adapt and change the way they do business along with the work from home explosion that this pandemic caused will have enduring effects on business and the workforce.
Remote collaboration services like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Slack to name a few already existed, however, their growth exploded exponentially after the pandemic hit, and they have now become regular tools in a wide variety of industries. The benefits of working from home are now being experienced by a wider number of employees and employers alike, and things will never be the same. Just a few of these benefits include but are not limited to:
- Flexibility for employees leading to better employee satisfaction
- Increased productivity
- Cost savings in building expenses
- Reduced absenteeism
- Reduced use of gas and commuting fees
- Benefits to the environment
I am convinced that after experiencing these benefits, more employees will request (and more companies will adapt) telecommuting aka, working from home as a standard way of operating. I seems the 3:2 (3 days home, 2 days on site) ratio is the sweet spot. Individuals entering the workforce will have to be prepared for this.
Low-income and underserved populations who often lack the tools and skills required for these changes need to be prepared for this. At the Greater Paterson OIC, we are adapting our workforce training programs to better prepare our students for this new world of work.
In addition to learning how to use the technology tools required for this new world, we are developing ways to build the “soft skills” that employers will be looking for. Some of the skills we think are important include:
- Problem Solving
- Critical Thinking
- Business Literacy and Entrepreneurship
- Technology Literacy
- Time Management and Task Prioritization
- Verbal and Written Communication Skills
- Teamwork and Collaboration
We are excited about the challenges that lie before us in empowering our students to be ready to succeed in this new world in both their personal and professional lives. We all have to prepare ourselves for the new experiences and new ways of doing things. This is just one of the steps we are taking. I am certain that this is just the start. Adapt a growth mindset and get ready to roll.