5 Skills You Need to Return to the Office

March 25, 2021 4 Minute Read

5 Skills You Need to Return to the Office

As we emerge from the pandemic, office employees will be returning to a changed workplace. Here are five skills that will help you thrive in this new environment.

Adaptability & Flexibility

The workplace won’t be the same one you left a year ago. Physically it will have changed to provide more space between co-workers. Movement around the office will be orchestrated so that congestion in busy areas is reduced. Your office may be working with a hybrid system where a segment of employees will be working from home on any given day.

Change will be big part of the new work environment. Julia Lamm, Workforce Strategy Partner at PwC, said that being able to continue to function even when things are uncomfortable is important in a time when so many things are in flux.

Flexibility is about having an open mindset and the ability to adjust to a new way of working.

Tech Savviness

The pandemic fast-tracked the adoption of new technologies by many companies and these will not be sidelined now that we’re back in the office. Expect the use of new tools and tech to be refined and upgraded.

As the technology in your company evolves, gaps in your knowledge and skills could become apparent. Fortunately, there’s been an explosion of online learning options, making it easy to upgrade your tech skills. So called “micro-credentials,” akin to mini-degrees or certifications in a specific area of study, are being offered by companies, colleges, universities, professional bodies and licensing organizations.

A willingness to learn and understand new technology will help you thrive in the post-pandemic workplace.


It’s time to dust off those networking skills that have been dormant. As conferences moved to online platforms and visits to after-work watering holes were suspended, connecting with clients, colleagues and prospects was challenging, but that’s all about to change.

It is likely that in-person events and gatherings will remain on hold through 2021 but it’s not too soon to come out of hibernation. One on one meetings will be a lot more common, which might actually lend itself to better dialogue.

Consider updating your LinkedIn profile as you get ready to reemerge, and use the next few months of virtual events to make note of desired contacts and maybe even start putting dates in the calendar for that post-pandemic coffee. Exciting!

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence, or EQ, is the ability to recognize your own emotions and the emotions of those around you. It is the awareness that our emotions can drive our behavior and impact people.

In a post-COVID workplace, a high level of EQ will be an important attribute as we face new challenges and deal with the uncertainty and frustration of an altered work environment. We’ve also been able to hide our emotions and escape challenging situations when working from home. Get mentally prepared to reengage the workplace and all the emotions that you and your colleagues are bringing to it.

It may not always be possible to control how you feel but you can control how you react to those feelings. Listening to people and understanding the impact that your emotions have on those around you will help you to increase your EQ and help you to deal with new scenarios more successfully.

Wardrobe Refresh

With few places to go, many people traded their business attire for leisurewear this past year. Few will admit that much of their week has been spent in trackpants and slippers. Savvy clothing companies, catering to this WFH aesthetic, have added lines devoted to loungewear. While it’s been nice to work in stretchy clothes, leggings and Ts aren’t going to cut it on Bay Street.

Daniele Mathras, a marketing professor at Northeastern University, says the pandemic has forced people to re-evaluate who they are and how they present themselves. Once people do return to the office, they will want to reinvent themselves, but the desire for comfortable clothing won’t be going away quickly.

That said, it may be time to audit your closet and see what still fits. Get those trousers and dress shirts pressed – your drycleaner has missed you!

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