Office occupations are a large part of the global workforce. In fact, when the Bureau of Labor Statistics studied the state of the U.S. workforce in 2014, they found that office jobs made up nearly 16 percent of the total workforce, making it the latest occupational group.
The rise of medium and small businesses is the primary reason why the share of office jobs is so high. The need for office occupations also created a highly competitive job market where hundreds of thousands of people are looking for positions with great career opportunities and pay.
Whether you’re one of these people or an owner of the business looking for tips on improving your staff’s office skills, you’ll find helpful information in this article.
What Are the Most Sought-Out Office Skills?
Employers are looking for people with diverse office skills but some of them are more desired than others, so we’re going to concentrate on them here. They include:
- Business Writing Skills – According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 73.4 percent of employers want a candidate with strong written communication skills
- Critical Thinking Skills – the American Management Association (AMA) survey found that 72 percent of employers viewed critical thinking skills as key to their organization’s success
- Teamwork Skills (Almost 73 percent of employers considered them critical, according to the aforementioned AMA survey)
- Communication Skills (75 percent of employers sought these skills in candidates – AMA survey).
With a demand for these skills getting stronger, trying to improve them makes perfect sense. Here are some tips and quick wins that you can use to start improving your skill set today.
Business Writing Skills
Writing is an essential part of any office occupation. Business letters, emails, reports, memos, and others written communication tools – all of them require specific knowledge. To make sure that your business writing skills are up to date and in demand, you can do the following:
- Use Templates from sources like Email Excellence. Writing business emails is an important part of most office occupations, so use free templates and tools to improve this skill.
- Upload your writing to tools like Draft. The tool lets you edit and proofread effectively, send to colleagues for review, and do many others helpful things to teach you how to check your business texts.
- Improve readability of your texts with solutions like Hemingway App. It can improve different aspects of your writing, including the use of adverbs, passive and active voice, length of sentences, and word selection.
- Enroll in a business writing course. Many courses are available for free online. For example, Business English course, designed by the University of Colorado on Coursera, is a good place to start.
Critical Thinking Skills
These skills are important for the vast majority of jobs these days because they allow you to bring a lot of value to organizations.
- Enroll in a free online course and get certification. Developing critical skills using online courses is a great start because it introduces you to specific strategies which are applicable in various business-related scenarios. For example, Critical Thinking & Problem Solving course from edX allows you to learn adaptive problem-solving, strategies analysis and assessment, designing tailored solutions for various business-related problems, and more. Plus, it’s free!
- Take a critical thinking test. Doing this allows you to assess your current critical thinking skills and helps to identify areas for improvement. Commonly, these tests involve giving answers to questions that measure the ability to think rationally and analytically and writing a professional essay to evaluate the ability to analyze in writing. The Free Practice Critical Thinking Test is a good example that you can take right now.
Teamwork in the workplace has been known to facilitate problem solving by combining the skills of everyone, so knowing how to work with others is something that you absolutely need to master. Here are some tips for you.
- Take the Team Effectiveness Assessment test. This test is created specifically for business owners to evaluate the performance of teams in a number of areas, including managing conflict and group roles. Score interpretation is included.
- Learn teamwork with an online course. As always, online courses are a great method for improving teamwork. For example, Working In Teams: A Practical Guide from edX teaches how to build effective teams, be a great team player, and manage team conflict effectively, so it will be useful for both business owners and employees.
Effective communication increases productivity and improves the bottom line, so being a poor communicator dramatically decreases your chance to get a great job or advancing your business. To learn how to communicate effectively, feel free to follow these tips:
- Ask for honest feedback. This incredibly effective method is often overlooked but can serve you very well because receiving feedback from colleagues, managers, team members, and other people you communicate within your workplace is essential to becoming a better communicator.
- Learn Online. Lots of online courses have been developed for businesses. For example, check out Corporate Communication course by Saylor.
- Facilitate internal communication with online tools. By introducing instant messaging apps like Slack, you can help employees to connect easily and quickly. Besides, all communication sessions are saved, so you won’t face any difficulties finding relevant information.
Hope these tips will be useful for you to improve your office skills and become an indispensable professional. Remember: skills are a form of currency in the professional world, so by learning the most sought-out ones will up your game and help achieve your goals.