Skills for Future Work

Helen Townend, Technical Director for Diversity and Inclusion
31 August 2021
image of a man drawing a line with a ruler as a desk.
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We hear a great deal about lost education due to the pandemic and home schooling. However, it’s not all bad! Our young people are learning independent working, virtual communication and presentation skills that have become vital in the current and future world of work. 

The key to progressing in the future world of work is high performance, remote working, enabling independent thought and innovative solutions on how to balance life, wellbeing and work, becoming the best version of you. I believe our current cohort of GCSE, A-Level and university students have learnt these lessons early and I look forward to welcoming them into the workplace and embracing the new working practices they introduce. 

Historically, flexible working has been the domain of those who successfully manage work alongside care responsibilities. In our new world, flexible working is key to business success to an extent that could not have been anticipated at the beginning of 2020. 

Employee wellbeing is paramount to any high performing business. The teams who have successfully navigated the pandemic are the ones who have accommodated flexibility into the working day across the whole employee community, accommodating home schooling and, recently, school runs again, but also time for wellbeing, breaks from screen time, promoting outdoor catch-up calls, all built into the working week. Managers who insist on outdated practices that require teams to sit in an office for core hours will quickly find team engagement plummet and attrition soar. 

As we head into the world of hybrid working, I wonder what form the virtual meeting will take. In pre-Covid 19 days, I often chose to join meetings remotely, removing the requirement for long distance travel. Technology has developed a lot since last year, but I worry that when there are several people in a meeting room, sound quality for those joining remotely will remain an issue, particularly when ‘sub meetings’ start to form and side-line conversations take place in the room. 

So here are some hybrid meeting ground rules that I think will help: 

  •        Keep the meeting on the platform.Your technology needs to enable individuals in the room connect with headphones and microphones so everyone in the meeting can be heard.
  •        Ensure virtual meeting protocol is followed, with hand raising and contributors being invited to speak. Chair persons have an important role in maintaining protocol and making sure that all those invited to a meeting have an opportunity to speak – they must have a valid contribution to make, otherwise they wouldn’t receive an invite. 
  •        Continuous Performance Management. People managers need to engage with career conversations and virtual check ins, ensuring the team keeps on top of what they need to progress, and managers know how the whole team is performing, even the quiet ones!

We may not yet be sure that those working remotely can benefit from ‘learning by osmosis, or picking up info whilst getting a drink, but as long as we keep the virtual lines of communication open, the future of hybrid working will be a successful one.   


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