10 Must-Have Office Skills for the 21st Century

10 Must-Have Office Skills for the 21st Century
By regionaleducationalinstitute | February 26, 2021

As technology advances rapidly, so does the job market. Each year, employees need to master new devices, skills, or technology to keep up with the competition.

Though you can’t anticipate new tech innovations, there is a way for you to prepare for career success – and that is to focus on developing and mastering 21st century skills. These basic skills are necessary to navigate today’s fast-changing times.

The tools and software you’ll need to perform your job will most likely change in the next couple of years, but the 21st century skills you can learn from the right education and training courses will last forever.

These skills are generally divided into three categories:

  • Learning skills – to analyse and communicate information.  
  • Literacy skills – to develop savvy thinkers and informed researchers.
  • Life skills – necessary to create well-rounded people who can thrive in their work and personal lives.

These 21st century skills include several soft skills one must have to thrive in today’s job market. But here are the ten most essential office skills you must develop to thrive in this century.

1. Critical thinking

A critical thinker analyses situations, weighs options, and determines possible outcomes to different decisions.

Employers highly appreciate someone who is forward-thinking to predict and make plans for potential problems even before they happen.

2. Creativity

Being creative means seeing things differently, which can lead to innovation. The ability to think outside of the box guarantees you can easily adapt to changing markets or situations. Staying updated with the trends in your industry will also help keep your creative juice flowing.

3. Collaboration

Collaboration may seem like a difficult concept among office workers, but once you master it, it can help bring your company to success.

The modern workforce includes individuals with specialised knowledge and skills. Instead of trying to do every job, you must learn to collaborate with people who know better.

Willingness is the key component of collaboration. Everyone in the office must be willing to sacrifice some of their opinions and learn how to adapt to others to reach company goals and objectives. You must understand the concept of “greater good,” which means giving more value to your company’s success.

4. Communication

In any industry, communication is necessary to maintain high levels of productivity and profitability. Modern office workers must have the ability to convey ideas to different personality types.

Efficient communication will eliminate confusion and misunderstanding in the workplace. When everyone in the office communicates effectively, all projects will be done efficiently.

Some communication skills 21st century office employees must develop include:

  • Listening carefully – Listening is a crucial part of communication. You need to hear and understand what your co-workers and clients are saying, clarify any hazy information you obtain, and give feedback, whether over the phone or in person.
  • Extending common courtesy – Using phrases like “thank you, please, may I”, and the person’s name whenever you communicate with them is an excellent way of letting them know they are important to your company and well-appreciated.
  • Leaving a positive impression – When a customer complains about the performance of anyone in your team, try to convey your apologies in a positive way. For instance, instead of saying that most of your staff are not available at the moment, you must inform your customers that your company is experiencing more calls than normal that day. 
  • Communicating clearly – When speaking to your customers, avoid using internal language or jargon that is unfamiliar to them. Also, just say enough words to convey your message. Avoid being too wordy, or your listener will begin to lose their concentration and eventually tune you out.

5. Information, media, and technology literacy

In a world where there is chronic misinformation, you must know how to differentiate fact from fiction. If not, you will fall to misconceptions, outright lies, and myths.

And as computers, mobile devices, and cloud programming become crucial in a modern workplace, tech literacy is also essential. You must understand what devices perform which tasks effectively and why.

Information and media literacy allows you to distinguish credible data sources from unreliable ones, while tech literacy educates you on how high-powered tools work to yield the best results.

6. Flexibility

Being flexible means being open-minded and having the drive to take on new tasks. It also implies the ability to work in the office, remotely, or on-the-go with a team and independently.

Flexibility also means being humble and accepting that you still have a lot to learn, even if you have been working in the office for years. You need to know how to change, when to change, and how to react to today’s changes in the work environment.

7. Leadership

Cultivating leadership skills is important, regardless of your job position. You must learn how to lead a team to work collaboratively in achieving one goal.

Leadership is also among the office skills that can result in you getting greater work opportunities later. These skills include other traits like decisiveness, humility, and managerial competence.

8. Initiative

Initiative is natural for a handful of people, but it’s one of the most challenging skills to learn and practice.

Having initiative means working beyond what is expected of you. For instance, spending an extra hour at work to wrap something up before an important meeting or the weekend.

Initiative is a skill that can earn rewards. It is also indicative of someone’s personality in terms of professional progress and work ethics. For instance, having the initiative to enrol in job-oriented courses is an indication that you want to improve your current knowledge and skills and become a better employee.

9. Productivity

Being productive means finishing more tasks in less time. This also means evaluating your routines and considering how you can simplify things to ensure your output quality.   

10. Social skills

Social skills refer to a group of abilities that are rooted in self-regulation, self-awareness, and empathy. Having these skills will help you build a strong and long-lasting relationship with your boss, co-workers, and clients.  

Work your way up from being an entry-level employee to becoming the company’s manager or executive. Start developing these ten essential office skills today. And if you want to take the formal education route, check out our job-oriented courses in Abu Dhabi.