productivity skills

The Top Three Productivity Skills to Develop and Thrive in 2021

***Updated on 20 April, 2021

Learning and development trends for hybrid teams

During 2020, we had to adapt quickly to new ways of working and learning. Learning and development became increasingly digitised to meet the needs of a dispersed workforce.

In 2021, the pace of digital transformation is expected to accelerate. Service industries will continue to grow. As we proceed to work flexibly in remote and hybrid teams, we need to keep upskilling to stay relevant.

To help you and your team maximise effectiveness, we’re sharing the top three productivity skills and trends for 2021. We also discuss how you can use these trends to increase productivity and have more time for the most important things in life.

1. Integrated learning

Learning works best when it’s integrated into everyday work. Distributed work means that you need to take more responsibility for your learning and development. Cultivate a sense of curiosity and take charge of your professional development.

Be open to learning opportunities as you go about your day. For example, when you sit in on a meeting with senior executives, notice and learn their communication techniques. When you work in cross-functional teams, learn from your colleagues – ask the product managers about product features, salespeople about trends, and so on. Ask your colleagues for feedback on your performance so that you can identify areas for further development.

productivity skills

Take responsibility for your learning and your results. Talk to your manager and agree on development goals and training. More formal training can be helpful too. Training that can be easily applied to everyday work is more useful and engaging.

As organisations focus more on outputs than inputs, you need to manage your time and concentrate on the most critical tasks. Productivity training can help you learn how to get more out of each workday. The benefits of productivity training are usually evident quite quickly with effective strategies that can be easily integrated. Teams and managers have found that they can apply our Personal Efficiency Program straight away.

2. Focus on communication skills

Knowing how to be an effective communicator is essential for distributed and hybrid teams. So if you want to grow your productivity skills, it’s worth investing in improving your communication skills too. This may mean that you need to learn how to use new digital communications tools. Work out which tools best suit you and your team, and support you to connect and collaborate.

Remote work brings unique communication challenges. For example, it can be easy to get distracted by other tasks and tune out in a virtual meeting. But trying to multitask is counterproductive. Instead, focus on one thing at a time. Be fully present and practise your active listening skills. Acknowledge what others say first, and then present your views. If you have too many meetings, review whether you need to attend. Can you delegate or make it a shorter meeting?

Make time to communicate with your colleagues. Make sure that everyone shares essential information so that both office and remote workers feel equally connected.

3. Digital and soft skills

In the new normal of hybrid teams, digital and soft skills are more important than ever. A PwC survey found that 55% of employees nominated digital and technology skills to succeed in the future of work. Enhanced technology skills, including collaboration apps and automation, are very transferrable.

collaboration tools

Interpersonal and leadership skills are a priority as collaborative projects are done virtually. The challenges of remote work mean that learning initiatives may look different. For example, both formal and informal mentoring will be essential to build connections, especially for new hires. So make sure that you set aside time to connect with your colleagues and clients.

Resilience is another crucial skill to develop to increase productivity. Working from home has meant that we now spend more time coordinating our days. Meeting fatigue and longer hours means that it’s more challenging to find time to connect and collaborate. Blurred boundaries between home and work can lead to increased stress. Taking regular breaks can improve your mental and physical wellbeing.

We all got through 2020, and 2021 will no doubt bring new opportunities. Keeping a growth mindset will help us to adapt to new challenges. Learn how we can help you and your team increase productivity, regardless of working location. Our programs are designed to be applicable straight away to your workday. Take charge and invest in developing your own productivity skills today!

By Simon Nicholls

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