Last week, I was invited to speak to Grade 12 students in my alma mater about the Attitudes and Skills in the New Normal Workplace. It is inspiring to see high school students with good ideas on what they want to pursue. I was definitely not like this when I was in high school (I was one of those who pursued computer science because of my love for computer games.)
Here are some responses that Grade 12 students shared
This post is about my views as an introverted knowledge worker. However, I understand that there are other jobs where the points made in this post are not applicable or may come naturally for extroverts.
COVID-19 has changed the way we work forever. Working remotely (from home) and working asynchronously with each other has become a new normal. Using technology to enable remote collaboration is no longer optional but critical to business survival. Therefore the skills required for effective remote collaboration is essential in the new normal.
Messages sent through e-mails and IMs, which the recipient reads at their own time, is a new normal. The ability to communicate what you need to get exactly what you need with a single reply will increase productivity in so many ways.
While this may sound easy for some, this is harder for those who grew up in cultures where indirect communication is the norm.
Self-management has never been more challenging. There will be days where you won’t talk to anyone at work, and there will definitely be days where the only people you talk to are in front of a screen and with a formal agenda — your ability to remain productive while feeling alone is critical in the new normal.
Remote work makes it hard to meet new colleagues. As an introvert, it was a lot easier to be physically in-office where colleagues talk because you’re sitting in the same space. But in the new normal, I have learned to intentionally ping someone, schedule a 30-minute call to “sync”, and get to know each other.
I have a confession; as an introvert, I used to find a lot of social activities annoying. Why do people like to chat and distract me from work? Can I just eat alone and have some quiet me-time? Why do we have to go for team building activities?
But now I miss these. I used to take these for granted. I used to take extroverts for granted. But during this pandemic, I have believed the quote about no man is an island more than ever. So if you are an introvert, go out of your way and build relationships intentionally.
If you are an extrovert, please reach out to your introverted colleagues. This is harder than you think.
This is really part of self-management, but I thought it necessary to call this out. Your ability to ensure your physical, mental, and emotional well-being is more important than ever. If you are facing challenges, no matter how mild, reach out. Do not blame your friends for not being there, as COVID restrictions (face masks, lockdowns, etc.) make it harder for people to notice your non-verbal cues.
In my next post, I will share the timeless attitudes that mattered before and even more so today.