Quite a few of us would have definitely heard this phrase: “The future of work is here.” It appears on job ads by some companies.
Others use the phrase on advertisements to promote products with the latest technologies. And yet some others splash this phrase to promote training and educational courses.
Though this phrase is in use for the last few years, they’re almost prophetic in today’s world. Whether or not we like it, the future of work is indeed here.
No employer, manufacturer or educational institute has brought it. Instead, the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 continues to define the future of work.
The rapidly spreading contagion thrust the future of work down everyone’s throat without much warning.
And along with that, there’s a demand for a whole new set of soft skills that we’ll require in 2021, to find work in the fiercely competitive but shrunken job market.
High Demand Top 10 New Soft Skills for 2021
What’re these entirely new bunch of soft skills that we would require? And how hard are they to acquire for anyone? To begin with, most of these soft skills have to do with the new future of work: working from home and working online.
Here’re some of the new set of skills that’re necessary for anyone that wishes to find a job in 2021. And since a majority of employment will be for online work, here’re the high demand soft skills you’ll require.
1. Stringent Self-Discipline
Stringent self-discipline is the first and most sought after soft skill that employers will demand in 2021, especially for remote and work from home jobs.
While work from home jobs help an employer save some money since they don’t need to buy or lease offices, it does come with some flipsides.
For one, employees working from home are prone to distractions and generally work on flexible hours. That’s fine. But in 2021, employers will demand that you adhere strictly to office timings rather than flexible hours.
For one main reason: with an increasing number of work processes going online, no organizations would be willing to wait for you to complete your tasks, since it could delay important business.
2. Work under Stress
Obviously, every job on this planet involves working under some degree of stress. But in 2021, we can expect stress levels to be higher than before.
That’s because most businesses continue to reel under the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic. Hence we can expect them to work with fewer employees to keep payrolls short and to the minimum.
This automatically translates as more stress for remote workers as well as office-bound staff.
While the workload might not increase, an employer will still expect you to take on board some supplementary tasks that’re necessary for the business and match your work. This means working under added stress.
And stress levels can be particularly higher when working from home if you lack stringent self-discipline to adhere to normal work hours as with offices rather than flexible ones peculiar to work from home.
3. Standalone Working
Before the pandemic, employers would look for people that’re capable of teamwork. In 2021, this will change.
With an increasing number of employees working from home or rather remote locations, teamwork, as we know it from office-going days, is bound to become extinct.
In fact, most companies no longer look for team players. Instead, they hire employees that’re capable of working alone and yet completing the necessary tasks on time.
Teamwork often led to lazy members getting away without much contribution to the task at hand. That’s history now.
Instead, standalone working abilities are now a necessity. You won’t have the luxury or comfort of consulting team members, should you encounter any work related issues during the course of the day.
Instead, you’ll need to depend upon own skills and experience to counter any issues and get the tasks done to the fullest satisfaction of the employer.
4. Grit and Resilience
Grit and resilience act in synergy to deliver necessary results. And that’s another new soft skill that employers will look for in 2021 and beyond.
Working standalone from remote locations can be rife with problems. This is where your grit and resilience will hold you in good stead.
Employers won’t tolerate or even hire staff that would falter and fails when difficulties or obstacles arise at work.
Instead, they’ll look at hiring employees that’ve the necessary resolve and skills to overcome any issues and problems at work and yet deliver what is expected. And as I mentioned earlier, most likely you’ll be tackling problems all by yourself.
Workers with grit and resilience as soft skills are an asset to every organization. They can work with zero or minimum external support. They’re capable of troubleshooting on their own and emerging from the situation with desirable results.
5. Working across Time Zones
As companies small and large tumbled and millions lost employment overnight due to economic repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic, there’s an exponential rise in the number of freelancers.
People that’ve any skill to offer are taking to freelancing platforms to find jobs and earn at least a basic livelihood to pay bills and stay afloat during the financial turmoil that continues to rattle the world economies.
Employers are also aware of this fact. They know there’s a vast pool of highly qualified, skilled and experienced people available easily on freelancing platforms.
And with remote working now almost the norm of the day, employers are hiring remote workers in distant countries too. For you, this could mean working across time zones to get some task or project completed on schedule.
Therefore, having this soft skill of being able to work seamlessly and efficiently with a multinational, multi-ethnic team across different time zones is something that you’ll definitely need in 2021 and beyond.
6. Astute Time Management
One of the most valuable assets for every business is time. That’s because they’re working to meet the demands of others- either individuals or companies.
And one of the keys to success as well as staying in business is meeting deadlines. No business can adhere to deadlines and timelines set by or for customers, unless they’ve reliable workers.
To meet deadlines that would ensure your employer fulfills their obligations to clients, astute time management is a soft skill that all recruiters will want.
You’ll have to clearly prove that you’re capable of delivering work that meets or exceeds their expectations before the deadline expires. Or, you’re risking losing prize jobs at a time when the job market is tight and competition, rife.
Demonstrating that you can meet deadlines for a new employer isn’t easy. Nor is it impossible. You can provide examples from your previous work where you’ve met deadlines set by the employer for important projects.
And you’ll have to prove these abilities yet again with a greater vigor than before in 2021.
Depressing news, uncertainty over future prospects, family demands though reasonable and an overall departure from lifestyle as we knew it before 2020 takes a heavy toll on motivation.
In fact, I can state with some confidence that motivation has taken a body blow due to the pandemic and its socio-economic impact.
Regardless of whether you’ll work telecommute or at an office, maintaining self-motivation can indeed prove to be one of the major challenges of 2021.
But that doesn’t mean employers are going to make any concessions. Instead, they’ll opt for self-motivated candidates who’re willing to sprint or run that extra mile even when odds seem against their favor.
Salary hikes, higher perks, bonuses and incentives might all be impossible in 2021 since businesses are limping back to normal.
These factors could prove to be demotivating. You’ll need to rise above these and be self-motivated enough to deliver the results that your employer requires.
8. Perfect Budgeting
Perfect budgeting is one of the most important skill to find a job or hold on to an existing position during 2021. Almost every business faced financial doldrums in 2020.
And they’re in no mood to waste even the smallest amount of money on any venture unless it’s justified and delivers the necessary results.
In the past, employers would overlook some minor extra expenses as an operational hazard. That’s because cost escalation often strikes without much of a warning and company budgets had necessary buffers.
But in 2021, such buffers have worn thin or are totally inexistent. That means you’ll have to present a near perfect budget for any project you’ve to undertake and complete for the employer.
Though employers are aware of cost escalations, they might not be in a position to permit an increase in expenses due to zero or lower profits of 2021 and sometimes, the inability to pump in more capital for operational expenses.
9. Quick Decision Making
Often, remote workers are at an inherent disadvantage when it comes to taking major decisions on behalf of their employer.
If they’re working from a different time zone, it’s imperative to wait for a senior official to take a decision or at least, provide some directives. In 2021, that luxury seems practically unaffordable.
The reason: with businesses trying to bounce back, the competition will be fiercer and hotter.
This means, a remote worker that can take a decision quickly, stands better chances of bagging a contract or project compared over ones that delay or have to wait for directives from bosses.
Quick decision making depends on two things. The first is keeping your employer’s interests in mind and acting swiftly to ensure that your decision is in the best interest of your organization.
The second is having sound knowledge of your employer’s capabilities and taking decisions that would make profits without jeopardizing the company’s operations or other elements.
And finally, self-learning- the soft skill that will see you find jobs or hold on to existing ones in 2021. Earlier, employers would provide some training to staff to help upgrade their skills that benefits the business.
Training employees is also one way to reduce or negate attrition and keeping staff skills updated to meet modern day needs.
In 2021, it’s quite likely that employers might not be able to spend a lot on training staff. This means you would have to engage in self-learning.
This can be done by taking some of the superb online courses that’re available at very affordable rates from e-learning platforms.
Of course, you could always ask an employer if they’re willing to bear full or part of the cost of the course. If not, it’s still advisable to invest on self-learning.
The other aspect of self-learning comes from taking stock of own performance. It means identifying strengths and weaknesses and analyzing them honestly.
And it involves learning from errors and mistakes and trying to patch grey areas while consolidating stronger ones.
Though soft skills that were relevant before 2020 will play a major role and will remain in demand, the future of work requires newer skillsets.
And these are possible only by adapting to the newer lifestyle and future that we’ll see in 2021 and beyond. Obviously, developing these new soft skills wouldn’t prove easy to most people.
Yet, here’s something that might boost your confidence. Most of us normal humans possess the above skills. Only, they’re dormant at the moment.
It’s possible for everyone to awaken these soft skills with some effort and use them to the best of our abilities and benefits in 2021 and even later. After all, the greater your soft skills, the better your job prospects.