Three Things 2020 Can Teach Us About The Workplace

If there’s one word to describe 2020, “change” would be it. 2020 has brought changes in most sectors of life, including the workplace. While it can be difficult to handle all of the changes that are coming at once, there are valuable lessons to learn from them. Here are three things to learn from the changing workplace of 2020. Which tip will you apply today?

  1. Be flexible. It’s easy for us to become so firmly rooted in old habits and ways that we don’t want to budge. However, the workplace is ever evolving, and it is crucial that we evolve with it if we want to function at our peak levels. Flexibility will look different depending on the details of your job. Perhaps it means being willing to learn skills you aren’t fond of or work with new people. Oftentimes flexibility is strengthened through a willing attitude. If your boss asks you to do something in a different way, choose to try their suggestion instead of arbitrarily fighting for old habits. While it is good to be confident in your work method, it is also important to be aware that new ideas might be helpful. Be willing to try new things, and choose to see new endeavors or practices as challenges or adventures instead of setbacks or annoyances.
  2. Be proactive about gaining transferable skills. In 2020, the most-needed skills were those related to technology and digital prowess. While many people had opportunities to learn tech skills before 2020, many shied away from these opportunities because of the hassle and difficult learning curve. However, you never know what a year will bring. Instead of choosing to wait until you need a skill in order to learn it, choose to be proactive and learn skills that you deem useful to your general career. For example, if a coworker is a pro at Excel, ask them to teach you a few tips during lunch. If there’s a skill or hobby that interests you, look it up and see if there are any free classes or lessons on it. Choose to seek out and learn about skills that might be necessary in the future, and you’ll save your future self the hassle and stress of having to learn necessary skills in a short amount of time.
  3. Build formational relationships. While working is about the actual job that you do, it is also about the relationships and connections you build. Choose to be intentional about creating community within your workplace and clientele. This was necessary in 2020 as so many jobs transferred to online platforms. Loyal customers were willing to be patient and flexible, since they cared about the company they were supporting. Similarly, when you build strong connections with your work community and clientele, people will be willing to work with you to help support you when needed. These connections can also teach you the transferable skills mentioned in Tip 2, and can provide opportunities to be flexible (covered in Tip 1). By intentionally reaching out to your vocational community, you’ll be creating connections that will benefit and enhance you both personally and professionally.

While 2020 has taken many things away, it has also taught us several lessons. Through transitioning so much of our work online, we have seen the need for grace and flexibility with ourselves and others. Through having to learn new tech skills at a faced-paced rate, we have experienced the importance of being proactive about developing workplace skills. Community has been a vital part of 2020, encouraging and enabling us to work hard. Which tip will you begin to develop this week? Give yourself grace, and see how your personal and professional lives grow as you learn new skills and build strong relationships.

By Carissa Joy Burns

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