Posted On: April 23, 2020
As a necessary response to the Coronavirus pandemic, we are all searching for ways to remain happy and productive while we ride out the health crisis from our homes. The fortunate among us are able to work remotely with little change to daily responsibilities and compensation. A growing number of Americans, however, are facing reduced hours, lay-offs and furloughs as a consequence of the economic uncertainty.
For those of us who now have a whole bunch of unexpected time on our hands, the natural reaction might be to catch up on our favorite podcasts, hunker down with Netflix and just wait for daylight. Although leisure time should be part of our regular routine, let’s not overlook the importance of making the most of our sudden abundance of time at home.
By embracing structure, expanding your professional network and seeking out opportunities for continuing education, you will emerge as an even stronger employee or job candidate as the health crisis is handled and life begins to return to normal.
Whether you’re working virtually or from a physical office, adhering to a schedule keeps you in a productive frame of mind. This is especially important at home, where distractions abound and your activities aren’t closely monitored.
Pets, children and household chores will disrupt your flow if you’re not careful, so the strategic allotment of time is of the utmost importance. Whether you’re studying, job hunting or working remotely, you need to set aside a block of time for that sole purpose.
As much as you can, try to handle family and household responsibilities before this period of time begins and after it ends. Apply the same level of time management and adherence to your work-from-home schedule as you would with a traditional job. The only real difference is that you now have a much easier commute.
Establishing a designated work area is also crucial. A laptop in the living room with TV blaring and children running in-and-out won’t be conducive to home-office efficiency. Ideally, there’s a spare room you can convert to a makeshift office, a quiet place you can retreat to when it’s time to get to work.
If not, set up shop at a desk or table in a low-traffic area of your home, as far removed from household distractions as possible. Only perform work-related tasks from this designated workspace, within the specified work time. Having little to no overlap between your professional schedule and family/personal time will help you make the most of both.
Once you’ve settled into a productive rhythm at home, there are several ways to further maximize your time. Expanding your professional network is a great way to advance your career, and although the present public health situation requires social distancing, this doesn’t preclude you from being active through social media and professional groups online.
For example, LinkedIn Groups offer an online forum for professionals with similar backgrounds and interests to ask questions, share insights and forge valuable connections within their industries. From your LinkedIn homepage, you can search thousands of existing groups or create your own group focused on a specific topic or career field.
The eLearning industry has grown exponentially in recent years, with countless online education resources becoming available. With work hours dwindling and more time spent at home, this might be an ideal opportunity to bolster your resume with some useful new skills.
One of the leading platforms for online learning is Coursera. Coursera collaborates with Google, IBM, Duke University, the University of Michigan, and roughly 190 other cutting-edge companies and institutions of higher learning to provide a range of courses, certificates and degrees online.
Designed for full-time students and working professionals alike, Coursera allows you to learn the most valuable skills from the brightest minds in business and academia, all from the comfort of your home.
Skillshare is another eLearning resource for adding marketable skills. Tailored primarily to creative professionals, Skillshare is an online community offering thousands of classes on business, writing, photography, visual design and more.
While the pandemic is and will continue to pose serious challenges to the economy, public health and our overall quality of life, if anything, the job market will become more competitive. So there’s never been a better opportunity to practice adaptability and to take advantage of the many career advancement resources at your disposal.