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There is little doubt that the post-lockdown workplace requires a different set of skills from the ones we previously relied on. Whether in a hybrid-role ourselves or dealing with others who are, we need to look at new ways of working.
When we asked our Assistants which particular skills they wished to improve to succeed in today’s office, the answers came back loud and clear!
Technology skills were by far the most popular answer. Given our almost total reliance on tech over the past two years, this is not surprising. We all have our favourite apps that we rely on day-to-day (and, just as importantly, so have our bosses!). But since March 2020, we have been on a steep learning curve, keeping up with the new apps and programs, and finding out which ones work best at keeping us connected with managers and co-workers.
Also unsurprisingly in the current climate, stress management was another popular answer. As we have had to adapt and re-adapt to ever-changing circumstances, both in our work and home lives, learning how to minimise the impact this disruption on our health has proved an important life skill.
Improving both assertiveness and communication skills also featured highly, again, reflecting the fact that we are all working (at least some of the time) remotely from home. Effective communication now requires a whole gamut of written and technological skills in order to organise managers and collaborate with colleagues.
Time management, minute-taking and organisational skills were also mentioned, as Assistants face the negative effects of the hybrid working or WFH, i.e., many more virtual meetings, increased workload, and working longer hours.
Developing project management and strategic planning skills are always high on Assistants’ wish lists. This was certainly the case last year. As the traditional Assistant role evolves into that of Business Assistant, such skills continue to be in high demand. The situation has only increased over lockdown, with Assistants generally taking on a broader range of functions, including HR, finance, and logistics.
With over 500+ responses to our survey, it is clear that events of the past 18 months have had an enormous impact on office professionals around the world and across all sectors. However, by recognising the skills now needed to cope with today’s workplace, PAs are once again showing that they are ready to meet the new challenges.