Self-Development Tips for Furloughed Workers

Self-Development Tips for Furloughed Workers

In recent months, we’ve all been thrown into an alternate universe that was not of our own making. You may currently be working from home with reduced hours or you might have been furloughed and are currently wondering what the future holds.

While some are now be preparing to return to the office environment, others still need to continue remote working or are sat waiting for the world to start moving again. Working from home has been an interesting experiment.

It’s also allowed many people to look at their careers and review their self-development with a greater degree of clarity. We may not be entirely sure what the future holds but now is the perfect time to take back some personal control.

Give Yourself a Self-Audit

The first step in any self-development plan is to take a look at your current situation and skills and where you would like to be in the future.

The easiest way to do this is through a skills gap analysis. This may relate to your current role but it can also be applied to your future career goals.

  • Perhaps you work on a customer service team and want to improve your communication skills in certain areas, for example, how to deal better with angry callers.
  • If you are in contact with your manager, you may want to ask them what new skills you should develop.
  • Alternatively, you might want to make an even bigger change and prepare yourself for a leadership role.

Decide What Self-Development You Want

Once you have identified areas you need to improve on, the next step is to put together a self-development plan.

For each self-development goal, that means first listing what its purpose is and what it will do for you. The more specific you can be, the better.

Next, you should identify where you are going to find learning opportunities. You might, for example, look at online courses, especially as many of us are still working remotely or have been furloughed. There is a wide range of choice out there nowadays, from small courses to major qualifications.

Your company may already have existing training materials online that you can access or your manager might direct you to other learning opportunities.

The next step is to organise your time and work through any courses that you have chosen. It’s a good idea to formulate a clear action plan and keep it close at hand so that you can refer to it regularly or tick off learning opportunities that you have achieved.

How to Stay Motivated

One of the biggest problems those who have been furloughed will find is staying motivated. When you don’t quite know what the future holds it can be difficult to plan for it and stay on track.

Family issues, mental health challenges and simply not having the normal routine of a working day can have a big impact.

It’s essential to set goals and get yourself into a routine where you are learning regularly, whether it’s improving your ability to communicate, developing better time management skills or focusing on a future leadership role such as team management.

This is the perfect moment to utilise some SMART goals. If you don’t already know, this stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound

The more specific you can be with your goal setting, the easier they are to achieve. Our top tip is breaking down your learning opportunities into small, achievable chunks so that you can begin to see your progress from an early stage.

Many of us, particularly if we have been furloughed, have far too much time on our hands. It’s a pity to waste this. Now is the perfect time to sit back and review your self-development and make a few changes that will have a real impact once the ‘new normal’ get back to normal.


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