Gone are the days when it was sufficient to have only a certain area of expertise. In the modern world, it is almost expected for every employee to possess some basic skills. In this skillset of other most import tool is the use of modern technology and tools. In the 90’s computer was the emerging tool. In the 2000’s it converted to become internet. However, during the mid 90’s till current day there are some tools that are normally being used by most employers and its expected that you master these daily used tools. We are going to explore some of these tools and talk a bit about what you can and should do in case you do not know or master these tools.
Which tools are these tools that will not be covered during onboarding process? Well, are you given training on how to use a computer? What about how to surf the internet? What about using emails and other office products? It is almost expected and compulsory for you being an employee to know how to operate these tools. What was previously done on a typewriter and on paper is currently being done electronically on computers and emails. Furthermore, more advanced tools are being utilized. In this article we will focus on which necessary tools you need to master, as Microsoft tools are by far the most common tools being used in the market along with Google application we will be focusing on these tools. However, the same principle applies also to other products, these do also include open office.
Moving forward with Microsoft tools as an example we have
Access, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Project, SharePoint, Teams, Word, Visio.
This is a database type of a tool mainly used to store data. Being an average office worker you are not expected to have a working knowledge of this product, however, if you work within accounts you might end up working with Access. The good news is that in look and feels the tool resembles much on Excel spreadsheets which are the next item on our list.
Excel is heavily used by departments that work with numbers. This also applies to managers who work with budgets etc. Excel offers a large number of functions that are prebuilt into the product. Furthermore, you have the option and capability to create Makro and formulas. By utilizing these and similar function, several tedious tasks can be automated when you only punch in numbers, while Excel does the magic for you. These can be simple tasks as bookkeeping or more complex tasks as calculating taxes and salaries. Depending on your role and your job title, your employer will be expecting you being an employee to know how to use Excel or similar products to assist you in your job and becoming more efficient.
Onedrive or Gmails G-drive are the tools which are some of the most popular tools used for sharing files and content. Dropbox is also one of the heavyweights who has made its place within the leading cloud-based storage services. You should at least be comfortable with using these and similar products. You should also be able to share the files both with restricted and unrestricted access, as during a successful carrier with a known employer will require most if not all it employees to be able to share files.
The outlook is the world’s second most used mail client, only second to Google’s Gmail. Knowing how to use an email client is definitely one thing that is expected from an employee. Most of the communication between employees or even employer and employee occur through digitals means as email. You should at a bare minimum be able to send an email, create contact and be able to send emails to specific people in a specific manner. By that I mean, you should know about and how to use cc and bcc field I.e. carbon copy and blind carbon copy field. How you can forward and email or part of an email to other people. You should also be able to withstand phishing attacks I.e. identify fraud ant emails where someone poses to be someone from within your circle of trust. Being an employee, you represent your company to clients and customers, you must be professional enough to at least fill these bare minimum standards of using an email client. You should also be able to add Out of office message, I.e. emails that are sent to the sender who sends you emails while you are out of the office on vacations or just sick and unable to be at work.
To make impressive presentations, PowerPoint is the tool of choice. An employer expects from all its employees to be able to make professional presentations. As the tools similar to PowerPoint have been around for almost 20 years if not more, being able to use PowerPoint or similar products can be the difference that lets you get the promotion or fellow employee/colleague who makes stunning presentations all the time. If you are one of those who still are caught behind the stream, get busy learning PowerPoint, as it is as easy as drag and drop. In the newest version of the tool, it makes it even easier to make presentations by suggesting presentation templates based on content.
Microsoft project is another tool which is mostly used by project managers. If you are a project manager or aiming to become one, you should try to familiarize yourself with this product as it makes your life much easier. Besides that, a lot of employers tend to use Microsoft Project as is integrates seamlessly with other Microsoft products. Remember that learning tools that will make project planning easier is as important as Prince2 certification.
SharePoint is a product which enables collaboration between team members. An employer will certainly expect you being capable of browsing some sites and sharing documents by using SharePoint og similar products. Luckily, SharePoint is mostly a browser-based product, this makes it almost as a website. However, the main difference lies in the collaboration capabilities. You can share files, documents and much more using SharePoint and these can be shared internally within an organization or with people outside of your organization. Again, make yourself familiar with SharePoint. The is nothing better than a CV enlisting a lot of tools that are largely used within an organization. This makes your CV and you as a potential employee much more attractive.
As its sister product SharePoint, Teams offers a lot of similar functionality with some additional functionality like allowing to chat with your teams or your contacts. In addition, you can use this tool to arrange and attend meetings. During the Covid19 pandemic, Teams was one of the most broadly used meeting tools, right up there with Zoom and Cisco Webex. Most employers encourage the use of Teams as it helps reduce travel-expenses and increases productivity but allowing you to focus on work rather than travelling from one location to another to attend the meeting.
If you can use a computer the chances are that you will be able to use Word. It is broadly used within organizations. Try to learn the more advanced feature of Words, so that it can be used more professionally. A team manager at an employer will surely be interested in hiring someone is capable of producing almost as professional documents as a press or newspaper publisher.
If you’re an engineer, or work with processes or have any job that requires you to draw, remember the name Visio. It is a great tool with a lot of stencils available which can be used in diagrams. Anything from a flowchart to a detailed blueprint can be made/drawn in Visio. It might not be the tool that your employer would require you to master, but if you are familiar with the product or are an advanced user your employer will definitely include you in the circle of valued and skilful employees possessing digital expertise to copy with any challenge.
During this post we talked through the most broadly used digital office tools. If you are unfamiliar with most of these, you should seriously consider spending some time learning these tools. Most vendors like Microsoft and Google provide free online training that will take you from a zero to hero within a very short period of time. Make sure to invest 15 minutes each day, and become a digital office tools ninja in no time.