Upskilling and reskilling: How to prepare for the new normal post COVID-19

Manon, employee of global PR group Sagarmatha - Hopscotch, connects with her colleagues in Paris via videochat at her home office (teletravail) in the French riviera city of Nice, southern France, on May 15, 2020, a few days after France eased lockdown measures taken to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the novel coronavirus.

By U2B Staff 

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In just a few short months, the working world has changed drastically. Businesses were forced to switch to remote working almost overnight as governments implemented lockdowns to prevent further spread of COVID-19.

It quickly became apparent that even after lockdowns are eased, everyone will need to adapt to a new normal as a vaccine is still a year or two away.

Now, governments are opening up economies to prevent recessions and people are slowly returning back to work, masks in place and social distancing being enforced.

The pandemic also speeded up the digital revolution that is just around the corner as e-commerce and digital technologies became more widely used.

According to Daniella Sikora, Head of People Operations at Typeform, businesses must shift their strategies and embrace remote work as the new normal.

She said, “The situation we are experiencing now is far from normal and requires adaptation, flexibility and new ways of communication and collaboration. We will all learn how much more open to remote work we can be once this is over.”

For those laid off due to the pandemic or facing uncertainty in their current jobs, now’s the time to learn for reskilling or upskilling in digital skills to prepare for jobs that are predicted to become highly in-demand as businesses begin to resume operations.

According to CRN, “COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has caused massive disruption around the globe and is accelerating the need for brand-new technology skills. That’s because many businesses are not operating at least partially – if not entirely – via employees working remotely from their homes. Businesses are adopting cloud tools at a rapid pace, and everything from security, to IT sales strategies, have had to evolve quickly.

“As businesses come down from the initial phase of getting employees enabled to work remotely, IT investments will need to be made in new areas to prepare for anything that may lie ahead.”


Shane DeCoste, Express franchise owner in Halifax, Nova Scotia, said that now is the time to stand out “as someone who can add immediate value by bringing the right attitude to the table. Taking online courses or adding new certifications will tell employers that you are resourceful and driven to learn and grow.”

He also advised those looking for work to think about how they can improve their soft skills, as some of the top ones employers are currently looking for are “work ethic/integrity, attitude, communication, critical thinking and time management.”

DeCoste also recommends looking for “online resources, listen to podcasts and read about in-demand soft skills. Investing in yourself in difficult times shows employers that you are engaged, and you want to grow and develop.”

Spending your free time upskilling or reskilling yourself during this period also shows future employees that you are proactive and a lifelong learner both personally and professionally.

Not only are there a wide range of online courses offered on platforms like Coursera, FutureLearn and EdX to choose from for your upskilling or reskilling journey, there are also online webinars and certification courses to further develop new skills.

It all depends on your goals and the type of job you are looking for post COVID-19, or which area you want to upskill in to help your business thrive during difficult economic times. From business and project management, blockchain and cloud computing to coding and web development courses, there are both free and paid resources to help you develop new skills or improve upon your existing ones.

As Payal Kumar of BML Munjal University told The Week, “Even before the pandemic, it became increasingly evident that the young generation who are just entering the workforce would need to constantly upskill themselves.

“The concept of education has transformed from school certificates and university degrees to life-long learning, especially through online courses. Now more than ever youngsters would have to be more agile, adaptable and would need to constantly upskill their knowledge and skills.”