COVID & THE FUTURE OF WORK
Things are changing, rapidly. We’re all on this roller coaster ride that isn’t fun at all. Our lives have been heavily impacted, especially our careers and our work.
The job market has been impacted just as much and the future has us living in the unknown right now. For anyone like me, that unknown is terrifying. It leaves you feeling unsettled, anxious and worried.
So I went digging into finding some answers to remove some of that unknown quality and was pleasantly surprised by what I found. This article isn’t anything “written in stone” but just a collection of insights about the marketplace that will leave you feeling a little surer of what’s to come.
First, let’s break down the immediate impact this crisis has had on the marketplace, especially the organizations and how they have reacted. Jenny Hargreaves over at tellent did an amazing job breaking this down. She noted that most organizations fell into 1 of 3 areas:
1. Ruin: these are the companies that are falling apart. They may be declaring bankruptcy, shutting down or on the brink of it happening.
2. Dormant: these companies were shocked and they are unclear of how this will impact them. They’ve entered a “wait and see” approach by having a hiring freeze, issuing temporary layoffs, having really scaled back on their goals and the staff needed to accomplish it. They anticipate and can survive this for 3-6 months and after that there is some uncertainty.
3. Hiring: These are the companies that are expanding and growing during this time. While all industries may see some growth, here is a list of industries that are experiencing expansion:
The anticipation is that all of these will continue to grow with the thought of 3 waves of Covid with social distancing measures needed for each, so we would expect this expansion to last 18 months -2 years.
Now not every department within these industries will grow. Some thoughts I have on the departments that will be important:
1. Risk Management & Cyber Security (obvious reasons)
2. Human Resources (unlike 2008, HR has saved the day for many organizations),
4. Communications (2nd most sought after talent right now)
5. Marketing (for pivots – but will be short lived, there is expectation that some lay offs may happen once we are done)
Some of the departments that have been streamlined are Project Management (in the short term and then will come back), Sales, Marketing and Administrative.
SO WHAT CAN YOU DO?
So if you are looking for a job right now or will be in the near future, what are some of the actions you can take?
1. Explore the list of growing industries and examine your skill set. What skills do you have already that can be used?
2. Dig into the companies on this list to see who has a history of remote work. They are the ones we really want to target as they would’ve been able to pivot during this time a lot quicker and easier. All they had to focus on was the pandemic. Companies not set up had to divide their attention between setting up their workforce to work from home PLUS the pandemic.
3. Research and get familiar with the technologies that make working from home a lot easier. When applicable, update your resume and LinkedIn to showcase them.
4. Speaking of your marketing documents, focus on your experiences that involved TRANSFORMATION. Either transformation that you led or where a part of. Outline how you can make the lives of these companies and the people within it easier.
5. Networking is always the best thing you can do for your career. But this is especially true right now. People are more generous in spirit which means that they are more willing to agree to an online networking meeting. For my clients, a lot of great networking is happening right now. Speaking of, join my Career Networking Group!
Hope exists. The marketplace is going to change, that’s a fact. But when we focus on thinking about the opportunity that this time is giving us the we feel hopeful and we take actions that lead us to those great results we want to see.
If you are struggling with this right now, schedule a free strategy call. Let’s talk about your struggle right now, your vision for your future and how we can get you there.
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We are all doing our part during this challenging period. For many individuals that means working from home for the first time.
As someone who has worked from home for the past eight years, I know that it isn’t easy at first. It takes time to get used to working from home – time to learn technology that makes it easier, to adjust to the lack of colleagues (though now you may have partners, roommates or children to distract you).
That’s why I reached out to other longtime work-from-home individuals (who work for themselves or for a company), so that we can share what works for us.
1. Show up to workWhen you work at home, everything sort of bleeds together. So it can be easy to be distracted by TV, the fridge or the laundry piles.
I find that setting my hours of work is key to success. For me, my day starts once my kids get on the school bus and ends when they got off of it. Now, it’s different every day as I manage homeschooling my two kids.
One thing that hasn’t changed is that I still show up to work, ready to work. I get dressed in real clothes and set up my desk ready to take on the day. If working from home is new and you are delighted to wear your PJs to work, that’s fine (the novelty will wear off, trust me), but at least wear a clean set (maybe dedicate some nighttime and some daytime PJs!).
2. Create a planChristine Cristiano (Certified Career Strategist and Resume Writer) stays productive by logging all of her work into a daily and weekly schedule. This has also worked for PR, a work-from-home employee, who says having a plan allows her to focus so that she can complete the items she is accountable for.
As an INFJ personality type, I love a good plan. I usually plan out my week at some point over the weekend or first thing Monday morning. But right now, my plan is complicated as my husband and I (he is relatively new to working from home) need to co-ordinate our schedules, as many parents are finding. So communicating your tasks with your partner is key.
3. Enjoy the perks (AKA be flexible)Creating a schedule and setting goals allows Cristiano the flexibility that many crave. She feels comfortable taking some personal time to herself in the afternoon as she has booked work in the evening to cover it all.
She isn’t alone in that. Many of us enjoyed working from coffee shops, meeting friends for lunch or replying to emails on the run before social distancing rules applied. So, take some time in the middle of the day to catch any of the amazing online and live content (my favourite so far has been a Vance Joy concert), taking a walk in the afternoon (while keeping your distance from others) or doing your weekly grocery shopping when the crowds are at their lowest.
4. Leverage time-management hacksElaine Piper of Ally Career Solutions leverages some time-management techniques like blocking her time for focused work. When you are a solopreneur, you need to wear many hats, so I block my time and use hacks like the Pomodoro Technique (working in 25-minute increments with 5-minute breaks to keep from distractions) to help keep me focused.
Piper also sets time aside to answer emails/phone calls and ensures that her auto reply is on to let potential and current clients know when to expect a response. This is a great technique as checking emails gets us into “urgency” mode, which sometimes takes us away from what really matters most.
5. Stay engagedSandie Seymour of Seymour Possibilities states that staying connected with other people is what makes the difference for her. She engages online in relevant Facebook groups and attends webinars.
People working on teams may be able to use online tools such as Yammer, MS Teams or their intranet messenger to stay in contact with their co-workers.
During this time, my focus has been to stay well connected online, including engaging within my own Facebook Group – the Career Networking Group. I also have increased my use of Zoom. For a corporate employee who is used to having lunch with coworkers, set up a Zoom call. It’s free and easy to use. You can still eat lunch together or have those after-work drinks.
As Sandie states, the great thing about staying engaged is that it “not only has the benefit of making you feel less alone but expands your network and knowledge. Win, win, win!”
6. Build trustA few corporate employees reached out to state that the key to successfully working from home is having the trust of management.
Many organizations’ leaders have been hesitant about having employees work from home and have pushed for a “bum in seat” way of working. They say they fear loss of productivity, but really I think they fear the loss of control and power.
If you are working from home with a manager hovering and overly concerned, use that knowledge to create processes that help make this time easier. Suggest meeting with them over Zoom or a phone call once a day to touch base. JC has had success with this – he speaks with his manager every day at 4:30 p.m. to review what was accomplished. This leaves the manager feeling like they haven’t lost control and means that they leave JC alone the rest of the time to work his magic.
Another idea is to send them an email at the end of the day showcasing your to-do list with all the checkmarks beside it or cc’ing them on emails. Show them you are being productive so that with trust, working from home becomes, as AT says the “best and most efficient way I have every worked”
7. Self-careIt can be easy to begin work as soon as we wake up and continue all the way through to when we go to bed (usually checking emails!). That can lead us to feeling overwhelmed.
It’s key to remember that there is more to being successful than work and that when we take care of ourselves, we in fact set ourselves up for success. We do that by ensuring we sleep enough (7-9 hours ideally), that we nourish our bodies through movement and food and that we take time to unplug by rewinding and relaxing.
Working from home effectively is an artform. It looks different for everyone and even through the different seasons of life we face, such as the current Covid-19 pandemic. Use these seven tips to create a work-from-home plan that sets you up for success. Share this article with your own recommendations or let us know what has worked for you so far in the comments below.
Sara Curto helps people find a career they love by teaching them a new way to job search.
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