Cast your mind back to what you were doing this time last year. Maybe you’d just started that great job, or recently moved somewhere new. Perhaps you were planning and saving for a summer holiday, or organising a big celebration. Whatever you were up to, what would you have said if we’d have told you that in a year’s time there would be a worldwide pandemic, that we all had to stay indoors to stay safe and that life as we knew it would be drastically changed?
The working landscape in particular has been decimated. A whopping 7.5 million UK employees have been furloughed so far. Most of us had never even heard of the term before now, but already it is ingrained into the national psyche. What exactly is furloughing? In terms of the Covid-19 crisis, it’s an employee retention scheme that is enabling businesses to continue paying their staff 80% of their salary while they are unable to work.
As the UK approaches its 9th week of lockdown, it is becoming clearer that our working lives will possibly never be quite the same. Businesses will be watching the government’s gradual relaxing of the lockdown rules with bated breath. Naturally, ending the restrictions will be a highly complex, gradual procedure and we can only surmise the impact it is all going to have on our careers. Worst-case scenarios predict some 2 million job losses this year. Chancellor Rishi Sunak has just extended the scheme to the end of October, hopefully in an effort to avoid such a disastrous outcome.
So why not just sit back and enjoy this impromptu time off? Some of us might feel we have worked damn hard in recent years to put a roof over our heads, so welcome the chance to properly recharge our batteries at last. Stepping off the hamster wheel for a sustained period of time can have a hugely positive impact on both our physical and mental health. It could help you to recharge your batteries so that when you do return to work you are more energised and productive.
Some of you may however be going stir crazy without the routine of work or are finding yourselves under impossible financial pressures. If an extended break isn’t on the cards for you, did you know that it is perfectly legal to find other work while you are officially furloughed? With this in mind, if you are worrying how to make ends meet right now, read on!
A significant fear when furloughing comes to and end might be that a lot of staff will end up being laid off at the same time, leading to a saturated job market. This is not as bleak as it sounds. Certain sectors will be desperate to hire as demand on them increases. The hospitality, non-essential retail, automotive and travel & tourism industries have been hit hard and jobs will be less forthcoming. The medical, care and food industries however are in high demand due to their essential nature and will be prioritising workforce development. Additionally, because on-line businesses are being encouraged, delivery driver jobs are there for the picking.
Prior to Covid-19, the 21st-century world of work had already been changing. The ‘gig economy’ – a prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work, as opposed to permanent jobs – had already well and truly arrived. Now more than ever, this kind of working may well become a necessity in post-pandemic times, as businesses find their feet again.
Outdoor work is also at a precedent due to the time of year. Lawns will always need cutting, windows will need cleaning and cars will need washing. Establishing an honest, reliable and quality local service will soon bring about word-of-mouth recommendations to increase business. Farms are crying out for hardworking people to pick their crops from now until the winter, ideal if you enjoy physical work.
Another rewarding option not always in the forefront of our minds is volunteering. In fact, choosing this route will keep you busy, motivated and learning new skills. Often a job offer will come along as employers usually prefer to recruit people who have already proven their worth. It will also give you a chance to gain experience in something you’ve never tried before (remember to put it on your CV!)
Ramsgate Rooms has been speaking with some of our tenants to see how they are doing work-wise during the Covid-19 crisis. They’ve given us some great insights into how to show your initiative. Here are their top tips:
- Update your CV, presenting yourself as employable and ready for work. Ask your housemates to proofread it, or send it along to us! We’ll happily review it at no charge, we’d love to help.
- Create a LinkedIn profile, a great way to present yourself professionally to a potential employer. It’s also useful for finding vacancies you might not see advertised.
- Check your social media presence and clean up anything that might not come across well. Many employers will check over your Facebook etc!
- Look after yourself. One of the biggest job-hunting challenges is keeping motivated and upbeat. All the usual things apply to maintain your wellbeing – exercise, healthy diet, good sleep and nurturing our friendships (even if this has to be virtually.)
Finally, there is plenty of advice out there to support you. Gov.uk has set out detailed advice and information for all pandemic-related issues around work. We also suggest making contact with the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, who have put extensive employment guidance on their website.
Most of all, please stay safe and continue to follow the lockdown guidance for as long as you are required. Everyone is in this together and Ramsgate Rooms are here if you need us.