4 Fresh skills you will need for the future of work

I spent the past week immersed in innovation, technology vision, and Citrix products at the #CitrixSynergy conference in Orlando. During the Vision keynote week, our CEO Kirill Taritonov spoke about the future of work:

Work is no longer a place you go, it is an activity and digital natives expect their workplace to be virtual and follow them wherever they go. They are pushing the boundaries of how they work.

We dream big when we talk about the future of work, but there are skills that you’ll need to develop now to be ready for these upcoming innovations and technologies.

Agile communication

Being able to communicate where your employees and coworkers “are” is a necessary skill. The incoming workforce is a communication generation. Currently, the workplace is 50% millennials, but did you know that by 2020, it will be 75% millennials? (If you’re feeling butterflies in your stomach at that stat, it’s okay – we have an e-book with tips on managing this new generation!)

The future of work includes the future of business communication – real-time communication tools like Slack and even communicating on social media. Are you ready to SnapChat with your younger employees? Personally, I like Slack because I have multiple team streams, private messages, and group chats. At the Citrix Raleigh office, we even have a Slack channel dedicated to guessing the latest Snack Wednesday – these streams also help keep the work conversation focused in strictly work channels, while offering us places to communicate freely as friends to build company culture.

Mobility

You probably already feel like your phone is morphing into an extension of your hand due to email, texting, Facebook, videos, and sometimes even using it as a telephone. While you may feel mobile as a person, the future of work requires you to be mobile as a business and employee.

The tools I use to collaborate and communicate also offer strong, reliable mobile apps. I’m able to Slack on my phone as quickly and simply as I can on my desktop. The ShareFile mobile app allows me to share files securely while roaming. However, if I do lose my phone, Citrix technology is able to remote wipe all sensitive data from it – that is a huge security support for me!  I’m able to function as completely from the airport as I am from my desk, which gives me personal freedom yet lets my company preserve control.

Workflows

Ten years ago, I worked at a non-profit that still functioned entirely on a paper file system. When I needed a contract signed, the workflow and timeline looked like this:

  • Day 1: Contracts signed by clients
  • Day 2:  Contracts placed in the Executive Director’s box for approval. Notification email manually drafted and sent to Executive Director.
  • Day 2: Contract sat in box
  • Day 3: Reminder email manually sent to the Director. Contracts signed and placed in our CEO’s box. Notification email manually sent to the CEO
  • Day 4-7: Contract sat in CEO’s box
  • Day 5, 6, and 7: Three manual reminder emails
  • Day 8: Contract signed and returned without notification of completion
  • Day 9: I find the finished contract in my box

If I realized the CEO missed one signature, the Day 4-8 process started all over again. By the time the contracts were finalized, we were in the third business week since the initial signing.

These days, e-signatures and Feedback and Approval Workflows with automatic emails save me hours and days in approval processes. Gone are the days of manual emails, checking boxes, and missing signatures. Contracts are delivered directly into my VP’s inbox, where she can sign documents with RightSignature within ShareFile. Reminder emails are sent automatically and I am notified every time she performs an action on the document.

Even better, 90% of customers say that RightSignature cuts down errors. It is rare that I have to send back a document for revisions and the entire contract process can be completed in 1 day, rather than 2.5 business weeks.

Content creation

The “old” saying is that content is king, but I think content is the entire court, from the jester to the crown.

  • Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got almost 3.5X more traffic than companies that published 0-4 monthly posts.
  • B2B companies that blogged 11+ times per month had almost 3X more traffic than those blogging 0-1 times per month.
  • B2C companies that blogged 11+ times per month got more than 4X as many leads than those that blog only 4-5 times per month.
  • Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got about 4.5X more leads than companies that published 0-4 monthly posts.

(Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics)

Content plays a key role in every aspect of the business funnel -brand awareness, driving sales, and product education. When it comes to marketing your business and yourself, being able to create content is an invaluable skill. Start small with a casual blog post or video. Take classes at your local community college to learn the basics of creating illustrations for infographics and e-books. Then start sharing your content on social media.

As the professional landscape changes, we have to change with it to maintain relevancy and growth. The fantastic news is that with the right tools, these changes are simple to implement, catapulting you into the future of work.

About the Author

Beth Anne Ballance joined the Citrix ShareFile team in 2015 as the Social Media Marketing Manager and loves connecting with Citrix brand advocates as the Influencer Marketing Manager. A Raleigh native, she graduated from UNC-Greensboro as the Joseph M. Bryan Scholar and was named TIME's 8th Sassiest Brand on Twitter.