Technology

How digital has gone soft – but in a good way

Anthony Chadwick | 3 August 2021 | 3 years ago

Looking back pre- pandemic (was there such a time?!), previous digital and remote working roles were often seen as ‘cut-off’, ‘cold’ and not connected to other team members. Most employees communicated mainly over the phone. The pandemic has caused businesses to step up and improve their digital soft skills, with lockdown being the push that was needed to make these skills critical to the success of a business.

With restrictions being lifted and many offices re-opening their doors around the UK, many have chosen to not go back to office life. Even large banks and multinationals have ditched the office in favour of a flexible work from home arrangement meaning their staff can, literally, be anywhere.

The big question, however, is will companies be sure to make soft skills an integral part of their offering post pandemic?

Let’s look at some of the ways this has been done, and what we can do to ensure your soft skills remain strong as we move into a more permanent way of remote working.

Check-in

Since the pandemic a much larger emphasis has been placed on employee’s wellbeing, and rightly so. It’s pushed digital and remote leaders to check in more frequently with their employees and communicate expectations clearly. Platforms such as zoom are crucial when it comes to this, as working from home means leaders need to pay closer attention when checking in.  Have the camera on for meetings, see your team and concentrate on any little changes. If you start to feel that your team is feeling pressured or struggling, check in with line managers and assess where work can be delegated and managed.

Teamwork

Being purely digital means everyone is now on zoom or teams.  The barriers of old in-person meetings, where some people would sit at the back and let the more outspoken colleagues share their thoughts and lead the conversation, have now changed. Thanks to digital, everyone can now have a voice with the ability to put people on mute and run through ideas member by member. Digital has many connotations and one of which is it lacks personal contact, yet for many, being in a large room was intimidating and unwelcome. Being in a smaller group or having the digital floor can allow for all team members to be heard and participate.

Remember, teamwork is altruistic. It happens when people serve each other for the greater good. Within that synergy, something magical happens and more is achieved, and everyone is more productive.

Agile leadership

When the going gets tough and things go wrong, especially in the past year, leaders need to be seen as agile and flexible. Thanks to working digitally, the hours leaders previously spent commuting in and out of work, having lunch meetings with prospective or current clients and going to events have mostly all been digitalised, freeing up a lot of time. Extra time is often crucial to entrepreneurs and by being digital, this time can be re-allocated to facing issues that need addressing. Be sure to be transparent with your team on this and let them know you’re able to be agile with working, they’ll appreciate the honesty, and feel as though they can come to you if there’s an issue that needs addressing and learn from your approach.

Developing soft skills from the onset

Soft skills have always been important and treating co-workers and clients well always pays off long term. In our increasingly demanding marketplace, a person with excellent soft skills will become a real asset for the business. Training for soft skills at undergraduate level and within the workplace from the onset with the help of mentors is a sensible investment moving forward.

The art of persuasion

Finally, the art of persuasion is another very important skill in business and one that pandemic has forced us to improve digitally. It’s important that this soft skill is continued to be honed. Successful businesses will have well rounded sales teams who persuade by showing the value of their product in concise, interesting presentations that answer the prospect’s objections before they have fully formed them. It should also be a skill that is honed by not just the team digitally, but also its manager. After all, the best way for employees to learn these all-important soft skills is from the top.

Digital Soft skills are vital in the workplace and will help make your interactions with clients and team members more pleasant. The pandemic has forced many businesses to accelerate their digital soft skills, and should be something that’s implemented going forward, not just temporarily. 

Topic

Technology

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