Lots of us have been talking for a long time about a “new world of work,” but what we’re all going through now in coping with the public health and ensuing labor market crisis is not what we had in mind. The sudden imposition of massive work-from-home mandates, quick refocusing of priorities and changes in how people spend their time is jolting for everyone, to say the least.
If your team is currently struggling to walk the very thin line between work and personal life, adjusting to life without a commute or their own “me time,” or looking for ways to calm their anxieties about what their lives in a new new world of work may look like when this crisis abates, now is the perfect time to encourage them to invest in themselves, their development and their future. Whether your employees are interested in learning technical skills around the cloud or security or would rather focus on overarching self improvements like time management and adaptability, they can achieve both during this time of social distancing.
Here are some tips and resources to help get them started.
1. Take the time to learn new skills. We often think about the things we would want to learn if we had the time. For those employees not commuting to and from work, now is that moment. And even though they may be doing that learning from their home and not in the formality of an office or training room, they can still earn credentials that prove to the world at large what they can now do. Earning digital badges provides tangible proof of abilities and know-how in their field and allows your team to stand out at your company. Here are a few top credentialing programs for employees interested in growing their data, marketing or technical skills:
Tableau: When the global economy recovers, data skills will continue to be in high demand. Data analytics and visualization company Tableau offers free access to a series of learning paths which result in role-based badges, signifying not only what one knows but what they can do when it comes to understanding and visualizing data.
Facebook: While digital advertising revenue is taking a big hit during the public health and economic crisis, we will return to a world that values digital marketing skills. Companies are going to want to be sure they are spending precious resources more wisely. Facebook Blueprint certifications in areas like marketing science, media planning or creative strategy can help prove one’s expertise in a difficult labor market.
IBM: IBM’s Skills Gateway provides opportunities to learn about topics ranging from AI and blockchain technology to cloud computing, all of which bolster one’s credibility and the trust organizations will place in them to handle complex technical challenges which are continually on the rise.
ForgeRock: With billions of new devices connecting to the web every year, digital identity and risk management are hot areas. The online learning program from ForgeRock University helps professionals acquire the skills they need to successfully architect, build and deploy digital identity solutions.
2. Polish your project management abilities. For many unaccustomed to working remotely, not having everyone in the same space can be a challenge to getting work done — especially when it comes to projects with lots of moving parts and people. Working remotely requires strong management skills on a personal level, and it brings into focus the importance of solid project-management skills. Online project-management tools abound and offer great opportunities for your team to collaborate while also holding themselves accountable. And if your team members are looking to earn formal project management credentials, now might the right time for them to begin that development track.
3. Set and reinforce personal/work-life boundaries. At a time like this, it’s essential to give your employees license to take time for themselves. This new working situation, which completely blurs any remaining lines we may have had left between work and home life, can lead to burnout if not a deterioration of focus on both work and life. During the workday, have your team set aside time to meditate, read a book or get some fresh air. While working hard, learning new skills and dedicating time to self-improvement are great, remember that there is nothing more important than your team’s physical and mental health. My own team has set aside 15 minutes twice weekly for what we call Credly Mindfulness, where we come together on a video call for a mix of light desk stretching, mindfulness meditation and breathing exercise. It’s refreshing and helps everyone remember that, no matter where geographically we are working, we’re in this together.
These skills and approaches are a starting point to helping your team adjust to this new environment. Opportunities for growth during this time are endless. With a big “restart” button being pushed for virtually everyone the world over, now is a great time to focus on what matters, for your organization and for the people who will help it grow and navigate what lies ahead. It is their skills, mindfulness and personal focus which will get us all through to the other side of this new new world of work.