It may have started as a necessity-driven upheaval, but over a year of remote work has ended up teaching us valuable skills that might otherwise have taken decades to learn.
As COVID-19 vaccines roll out—albeit slowly—across the globe, many of us may face another transition, whether we’re going back to the office or shifting to a hybrid work model. But this time, we’re better-equipped with tools to handle it, including:
Efficient communication. By using Zoom and other video conferencing channels to talk to our colleagues, most of us have learned how to pare information down to the essentials and convey these quickly and clearly. This is an executive-level skill that can help us perform better and get the support we need to do our best.
Effective time management. Even with specified work hours, we’ve had to learn how to maximize our productivity within those hours, without the benefit of direct supervision. Water-cooler conversations were never so distracting as family and other housemates clamoring for our attention, so remote work has honed our ability to focus.
Smart self-care. With anxiety, depression, and many other issues caused by the pandemic and quarantine, many of us have become more mindful of our physical and mental health than we were before. From adopting an exercise routine that works to learning to identify and cope with our moods, we may be fitter than we ever were.
Independent motivation. With many having lost jobs in the new normal, we’ve come to value our work in new ways, for not just financial reasons—though those are certainly significant—but also for the sense of fulfillment and purpose that work gives us. This drives us to work harder, smarter, and better, which leads to even greater satisfaction.
Increased self-knowledge. The loss of the office environment has made most of us better at recognizing what we’re capable of and what we need to do better. It’s enabled us to be more aware—and forgiving—of our shortcomings and encouraged us to reach out for help when we need it, rather than just hoping someone might notice.
We all deserve to congratulate ourselves for these improvements, which can help us through any coming transitions, as well as, potentially, throughout the rest of our professional lives.