The COVID-19 pandemic caused a major disruption to the day-to-day work routine and brought many changes to the workforce. Of the changes to the workforce, the most significant is the rise of remote work opportunities. As of 2023, nearly 13% of full-time employees work from home and another 28% maintain a flexible hybrid model. Remote work has not only impacted how and where professionals work, but has also impacted how professionals collaborate and skill up for future careers.
Current workforce demands have created unique opportunities for remote leaders and professionals to learn new skills and strengthen existing skills with an increased demand for self-paced online training, professional development, and flexible online degree programs. Virtual training platforms, like LinkedIn Learning, provide coaching on various topics, including leadership, communication, and building cohesive remote teams. Online degree programs, like those offered at Maryville University, help professionals gain valuable skills, knowledge, and subject matter expertise in a flexible online format, allowing professionals to advance their careers, to be more marketable to employers of interest, and to meet current and future industry and workforce demands.
With the focus on future of work being largely hybrid and remote, there are key skills that are essential for leaders and professionals, especially those in remote work structures:
Technology is a necessity moving forward. Professionals must be able to understand business needs and how to leverage emerging technology to improve processes, increase productivity, and make data-informed decisions. For example, data analytics is valuable to every industry, and it’s increasingly performed with artificial intelligence or specialized software.
Communication and Teamwork
As a remote employee, Communication and teamwork are crucial skills for professionals, but even more for remote professionals, A consistent effort is required to build relationships and rapport with colleagues. Mastering digital communication tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams is a great place to start. Slack goes beyond the day-to-day workings of the office with interest groups. Professional teams can connect and build community with Slack channels, through shared interests such as books, fitness and wellness and popular culture.
Flexibility and Agility
Another key area to strengthen is flexibility and agility. The world will continue to move forward, and professionals must be willing to accommodate changes—especially those that impact your position and the overall business. Be receptive to new trends and technologies that improve efficiency and always have a backup plan to achieve goals in case the first option fails. Companies want employees who can think critically, problem-solve, and remain flexible.
Developing strong leadership skills may not be top of mind, but putting effort into this area now will be fruitful as you advance in your career. Successful leaders lead with empathy. If you can understand what your coworkers and teams are experiencing, the challenges they’re facing, and what they need, you can effectively support and coach them in the right direction. This ability is especially beneficial on a global or cross-functional team where people come from various backgrounds and have vastly different roles.
To achieve these qualities means being proactive and seeking out professional development resources, completing training materials, and putting what you learn into practice. If you have financial and time constraints, start with the free or low-cost training offered through sites like LinkedIn Learning, Microsoft, or Google. Each of these platforms provides a wide variety of self-paced courses and certificates. You could also pursue career development through professional organizations and publications if you maintain an active membership.
If you want to earn a degree as a relevant subject matter expert, look for a college or university that makes education attainable to anyone in the country. For example, Maryville University offers most of its programs as online degrees. This flexibility means education that works around your family and job obligations. No matter which path you choose to upskill for your career, always focus on the essentials that will prepare you to meet future workforce demands head-on.
This guest post was authored by Dr. Antoinette Boyd
Dr. Boyd is the Director of Career Success and Professional Development at Maryville University. Her professional passion is helping others realize their potential and gain the confidence and skills needed to achieve their personal, professional, and career-oriented goals.
In her work, Dr. Boyd utilizes data to identify successes and areas of improvement pertaining to student achievement and the current job market and demand. Her expertise touches on integrated career readiness, empowering students and job seekers to understand what career pairs their passion with an in-demand fast-growing industry.
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