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Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) The Chang School

Five Tips to Get Ahead Post Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic upended and transformed how the workforce looks and operates. What was once in-person meetings in an office, has now turned into Zoom conference calls, commutes to work are steps into another room, and both employees and employers have had to alter their skills and everyday demands of their jobs. Experts and researchers alike are calling for a “post-pandemic boom” with a rising employment and economic rate, making the job market far more appealing as compared to the early months of the pandemic. 

Nearing a post-pandemic world, what can you do to get ahead in your career? 

Pivot or upskill into burgeoning fields

Sectors such as healthcare have seen rapid growth and change in the past year and half. The pandemic brought about an increasing and heightened need to use and interpret data to improve healthcare outcomes — and professionals that possess these critical skills in health informatics are now in high demand. 

With our Certificate in Health Informatics, you can expand your knowledge of healthcare-specific information technology to help build your career in health informatics or break into this growing field. Upon completion of the certificate, you will gain exposure to IT, healthcare, and management fundamentals — all needed to succeed as a health informatics professional. 

By pivoting or upskilling in a growing field like health informatics, you will feel an added sense of security in your employability, whether you look to grow in your organization or search for better opportunities elsewhere. 

Beyond advancing or pivoting careers with the support of continuing education, what kind of skills, both soft and hard, will help you succeed in a post-pandemic workplace?

Effective communication 

As more organizations move to an online work environment, how colleagues communicate in this virtual work changes as well. With an increase in online correspondence, there are key parts missing in regular conversation, such as tone of voice or the ease of popping over to a person’s desk to clarify something or ask for assistance. 

Here are some ways to be an effective communicator:

  • Ask questions. Asking questions is a great way to confirm or clarify what someone tells you, and can ultimately reduce any misunderstandings or confusion. It can often show that you are listening and are committed to understanding others. 
  • Offer positive or constructive feedback (and accept it for yourself). By offering or receiving feedback, you create a workplace environment that is open to exchanging ideas, building trust, and being accountable for future expectations. 
  • Be clear with communication expectations. Google “This meeting could’ve been an email” and you’ll find memes all over the internet. Understanding the expectations for different types of correspondence will save you time and energy. Some lengthier, more back and forth, or collaborative work may need a meeting, while quick questions might just need a quick email or instant message. 

‘Tech’ savvy

Most people know how to use their devices for everyday tasks; however there are ways to use them to optimize working from home. Especially now, the pandemic has increased the expectation for proficient digital and technical skills. 

You can do this in a few ways: 

  • Find out if your workplace offers training for essential programs related to your work.
  • Browse the internet to find online tutorial videos. 
  • Ask a colleague if they can walk you through some of the digital skills they already have.

Problem solving 

Problem solving is essential to responding to changing times and finding more effective, streamlined ways to work. Using learnings from the field of health informatics, electronic health records were created as a response to the move towards a more computerized world that was accelerated during COVID. Dr. Pria Nippak, Associate Professor within the School of Health Services Management at Ryerson University, explains that as Canada operates under a not-for-profit healthcare system, only recently has there been an emphasis on consumerization within health informatics. “Consumers like certain things, in certain ways, and we’re not exactly complimenting that because we’re not a for-profit system,” says Dr. Nippak. “We haven’t built that infrastructure in place, so we’re now focusing more and more on building that.” The pandemic pushed Canadian online health systems to pivot and modernize, which led to online vaccine appointment bookings and online retrieval of vaccine receipts. 

Courses in our Certificate in Health Informatics, like CHSM 305 – The Management Cycle, help you develop the problem solving skills needed to excel in a management role, so that you can develop plans, make decisions, and respond strategically to change. 

Adaptability and resilience

Early in the pandemic, the ability to adapt quickly was make-or-break for a lot of companies and organizations. Adaptability proved increasingly important as the workforce, and the world, faced constant uncertainty. It eventually led to many offices transitioning to a work-from-home environment, organizations having to downsize, and employees modifying their work routines and learning new technical skills. 

So how can you practice being adaptable and resilient? Here are some tips:

  • Be open minded. Take the time to understand others’ perspectives and consider them thoughtfully. Listening with comprehension is a great tool both in and out of the workplace.
  • Make mistakes. Be willing to get out of your comfort zone and try something new. Making mistakes provides you with new experiences and insights to inform and improve.
  • Swap out “but” for “yes”. Resist the urge to say “but” when others are offering ideas or brainstorming solutions to a problem. The number one rule in improv is to use “yes, and…” and it’s just as important to be adaptable in the workplace.

If you are a leader at your organization, the above skills are important in addition to supporting your employees and where they are at post-COVID. “I think the bulk of the focus for the skill gap is building and equipping employees to be heard, to be seen, and to be productive,” Dr. Murtaza Haider, a professor in Data Science and Real Estate Management at Ryerson University, explains. 

Knowing there are still so many unknowns to the workplace and labour market, it can feel overwhelming trying to figure out the right approach to building your career. Ultimately, it’s about embracing the change and being a lifelong learner of new skills and tools, so that you’re able to open yourself up to even more career possibilities.