In the modern, digital world, many office jobs look slightly different from how they used to.
Between rapid technological development and changing business demands, many traditional vocations have had to adapt to survive. One 2017 McKinsey report estimated that roughly 14% of the global workforce would need to switch occupations or acquire new skills to remain competitive by 2030 — and that was before COVID-19 struck and changed the business world forever.
The idea of ‘hybrid jobs’ that combine different skill sets existed before the pandemic. Still, lockdowns and remote working have undoubtedly made these positions more common — especially in the business support sector.
Like many other professions, those in business support roles have been forced to adjust to new duties in the wake of widespread digitisation and the rollout of flexible working arrangements, which have reshaped the workforce and encouraged many to reimagine their day-to-day responsibilities.
So, how have recent events impacted the roles of business support workers, and why is it important for employers to keep investing in these individuals?
A new era for business support
A recent survey by TravelPerk found that 76% of respondents said their companies had moved to a hybrid working model, indicating that this new way of working is here to stay.
As a result, many admin assistants, sales personnel and HR managers have shifted from coordinating offices, overseeing events and liaising with customers in person to managing their responsibilities online, necessitating an overhaul of the skills needed for them to do their jobs.
For example, whilst arranging travel and booking meeting spaces was once a significant part of some roles, many regular meetings are now conducted virtually — as are a host of other business activities. Implementing the technology required to support these functions has driven many business support workers to learn new skills — from IT system management and training to coding and virtual event planning — that their role may not have previously called for.
Becoming familiar with these new processes has been essential to allow business support staff to continue fulfilling their duties and ensure all employees have access to whatever they need to do their work. Still, though many office-based roles have taken on new responsibilities, some of the old ones remain relevant.
The rise of technology and remote working has highlighted the significance of human connection — something that machines cannot replicate. Soft and transferrable skills like communication, creativity, emotional intelligence and teamwork are integral to most business support jobs. In the post-pandemic world, these traits are more valuable to employers than ever.
As the business world continues to evolve, companies fill every skill gap to remain productive and meet expectations. So, no matter how big or small your organisation is, strengthening and supporting its various business support functions is crucial.
A valuable business investment
It may be easy to view business support staff as somewhat expendable in the current economic landscape. But in the modern professional world, these individuals could help to propel your business to new levels of success.
Administrators, secretaries, PR coordinators, operations managers and HR professionals are true chameleons, supporting multiple business-critical operations from behind the scenes. These employees may not be the direct money-makers within a company, but they still perform invaluable services — without which many organisations would crumble.
As a result, we are seeing plenty of exciting opportunities for experienced business support professionals. Though many business leaders may be quicker to allocate budgets to the latest technology or flashiest facilities, many realise that skilled support staff can make or break a business, prompting some employers to increase the advertised salaries for in-demand positions by nearly 23% in 2021.
Having a team of experienced and adaptable business support workers on hand to respond to queries and emergencies can help to streamline operations from top to bottom. They can offer solutions based on a comprehensive understanding of your business and deliver results much more efficiently (and affordably) than an external third party hired to do the same job.
These flexible individuals are priceless in today’s business landscape, playing a massive part in shaping company culture and offering day-to-day support for your workforce as we navigate ever-changing processes. So, now is the time to invest in ongoing training and recruitment for business support roles — before your business falls short of the mark.
At Howett Thorpe, we source the highest calibre of business support candidates for a range of office-based positions — from sales to administrator roles. Contact us at 01252 718777 or email email@example.com to discuss your requirements.