August 4, 2023

Digital Natives, Yet Office Naïve

Workplace Trends

At the beginning of the pandemic, tech savvy office workers spent a lot of time teaching their less tech savvy counterparts how to transfer their day-to-day work activities from in-person to online.

This was a steep learning curve for many, and now, just as people are starting to return to the office—either on a part-time basis or full time—another challenge is emerging: post-pandemic grads are struggling to adjust to in-office work.

Whether these digital nomads lack an understanding of workplace etiquette, dress codes, or networking, it’s clear anyone who has joined the workforce post pandemic has missed out on learning “Corporate America 101” from workplace mentors and senior leadership.

Why This Matters

Practical workplace skills aren’t second nature to people who have never worked in an office environment before. And for those who completed their education online, they’re also lacking in-person social skills many of us take for granted.

New graduates are extremely comfortable with remote working conditions, but there’s a steep learning curve now that so many are being expected to work in a hybrid or full-time office environment.

Michigan State University has picked up on this and now offers courses to business majors on practical workplace skills, everything from introducing yourself to reading body language.

Some companies are also working this type of training into their onboarding process, such as how to make eye contact, how to conduct in-person conversations, and what “business casual” means.

Next Step

Practical workplace soft skills aren’t common sense, and they’re not so easy to pick up now that we’re working in the new normal. To learn more about assisting post-pandemic graduates in expanding their communication skills beyond Zoom meetings, read this article.

Photo by Canva.