Now is the chance to make sure that you are ahead of the curve, so that when you are ready to return to the workplace you'll have everything in place to get on with applying for work. You'll need to check that your skills are up-to-date, as well as learn some new ones post-COVID19.
Returning to Work
Returning to Work post-COVID19
What will your working life be like and will it be different from what you previously experienced? Will you be working from home a lot more? Will you need to learn more technical skills?
Working from home will have become normal, and therefore your ability to communicate virtually is of utmost importance. This involves finding the right technology to use with your team, writing appropriate emails, negotiating sales and managing relationships with customers, and working towards common goals.
Once you understand what your new position might looks like, you can then come up with some simple rules so that you can get the job done efficiently and effectively! Courses such as Udemy's How to Manage and Influence Your Virtual Team and Coursera's Communication Strategies for a Virtual Age are a great place to start to think about what procedures you need to put in place.
As there will be more working from home, it’s also likely that your work and life will bleed into each other, so planning skills will also be top priority. As outputs, rather than time in the office will are the new focus, what ways will you be able to achieve your work goals? How will you differentiate work from home life? It may be that the traditional 9-5 routine doesn’t suit you, with children to look after, but how can you get in the super productive few hours when they are napping, alongside calls and emails? Eluceo has a number of blogs on productivity to help you understand ways of better organising your time and a course such as Master Planning can really help you get on top of what needs to be done each week, month and year.
Returning to Work in General
Although you'll be entering your position at a specific level, you might also want to think about what your next career steps may look like. Is there anything you could learn while you are off that can help you make this step? Is there any software that you don’t know how to use that you could learn? Are there any soft skills that can help you side-step into an alternative role? Additionally, read up on what the latest developments are in your industry, to give you some ideas as to what skills to develop and help you get ahead of the game.
Being out of the workplace has actually given you and advantage, as being away from the thick of it and delving into something new can help you to think differently and bring in fresh ideas to help change the direction of a business. Post-COVID, the way in which we consume products and services, the ways in which we communicate, why we travel, and what we choose to focus our time and energy on has changed. Business will only get through this if they adapt to the changing environment, and create products and services that suit our needs - being out the loop and in the real world can help bring fresh ideas to the table.
How to Evaluate your Transferable Skills
Before thinking about your next steps, it’s a good idea to assess what skills you currently have. This can help you understand whether there are some gaping holes that need to be addressed and whether you need to spend some time upskilling before you start the job hunt.
We can’t ask all the questions you might ever need to help you tease out your skills, however think about your day-to-day activities in four distinct areas of your life:
- Home Life - What responsibilities do you have to juggle? Do you have to look after an ageing parent or young children? Are you responsible for making sure that there is food on the table at a specific time?
- Working Life - What are your day-to-day responsibilities? How do you communicate with colleagues and customers/clients? What is your working environment like? How are your customers/clients? What do your day-to-day activities include? (This can be from your previous positions, but remember some of these skills might be a bit rusty)
- Volunteering/Side Hustle - Are there other places where you can add strings to your bow? What strings are these?
- Education - How are/were you assessed in your education?
You can then assess your level of each of the top employability skills.
How long have you been using that skill? Is your experience recent or out of date? We suggest that you tally all your skills based on the length of time you’ve been using it:
- No experience
- Beginner level - 1 - 2 years of using that skill
- Intermediate level - 2 - 5 years
- Advanced level - 5 - 10 years
- Expert - 10+ years
After the exercise you’ll then have a list of your skills. Some you’ll be an expert at and some you won’t have any experience of at all, but for the first time you’ll see where you need to improve to get yourself up-to-scratch and job-hunt-ready.