Employees work on their typing skills

5 Essential Computer Skills You Need to Survive in the Workplace

In today’s workplace, employees are typically expected to have a knowledge of computers and to possess the skills to use them effectively. You don’t need to be an expert, but there are some skills you simply can’t survive without professionally.

  1. How to Use a PC
    In most business settings, Macs aren’t commonly used (unless you’re in a creative field). The appearance, commands, shortcuts, programs, and strengths of each computer are different, so if you’re used to using a Mac, the transition to using a PC as effectively might take some time. Time is money to employers, so do what you can to familiarize yourself with something other than a Mac operating system by borrowing a friend’s laptop or by visiting a local library or other institution that allows public access to computers.
  2. How to Type Quickly
    This is the big one. Being slow at typing when you’re at home and for personal use is fine, but in the workplace it can be seen as a weakness. The longer it takes an employee to type something—a memo, an email, a report, an article over essential computer skills—the less efficient they’ll seem as an employee. Ideally, the quality of the content would be more valuable than the speed at which it was produced, but if it takes far too long, employers won’t be pleased with the product regardless. If you’d like to brush up on your typing skills, searching the internet for “free typing lessons” will yield plenty of results and resources for practicing.
  3. How to Use Email
    This doesn’t only mean that you’ll need to know how to send and open emails (though you will), but that you’ll also need to get into the habit of checking your email frequently throughout the day. This will be the primary way that most companies disseminate information, whether it’s between employees, employers, customers, or any combination of the three. If you’re inexperienced with emailing, try creating an account on a site like Gmail. With most email providers, new users are given an on-screen tutorial and virtual tour. While you may end up using a different email service at work, you’ll be glad to have the familiarity.
  4. How to Use Microsoft Office
    Few program suites are used as frequently in the modern workplace as the Microsoft Office Suite. You most likely have knowledge of these programs or have at least seen them in use, the most common being Excel, Word, and PowerPoint. Word is used for creating written documents, PowerPoint for slideshows, and Excel for spreadsheets. Luckily, Microsoft will provide a free 30-day trial of each program to those who don’t have it downloaded, and the internet is crawling with online tutorials on how to use them properly.
  5. How to Use the Cloud
    Large files can be sent over email using a zip folder (something you might want to look into if you won’t be using the Cloud), but more often than not, they’re sent using Cloud technology, which provides online storage space of varying sizes. If you have a Gmail account, you’ll already have access to Cloud storage in the form of Google Drive and Google Docs, which are both common in the workplace. Drive allows you to upload and share files much larger than those shareable through email. Docs allows you to create online documents (similar to those made in Word and Excel) that can be shared with multiple users at once and edited. All changes made in these files will be seen instantly by all parties viewing it, making real-time editing and communication much more efficient.
Last Updated: August 29, 2016