We are all living through a very strange time, which may affect various aspects of our lives. Many of us are trying to juggle challenges such as working from home, looking after children or sick family members, in addition to keeping finances in check and minding our mental and physical health. No matter what your profession is, this unusual time may challenge our norms of how we do our jobs. For those of us who are lucky enough to be still in employment, here are some simple reminders below about how to utilize and develop your skillset, as well as managing your career:
Look after yourself –Besides official guidelines and those from your employers around social distancing etc., keep yourself healthy and ensure you are keeping good sleeping patterns and a healthy lifestyle. Before you can focus on managing your career, you must be feeling positive and healthy.
Be a role model – Role modeling with your colleagues, team, organisation to show them that you are well informed on how the Covid-19 situation is progressing and how you are following guidelines and recommendations. Keeping up to date with how other organisations are managing this situation can be beneficial in bringing ideas to the table on how your organisation can make its next step towards recovery or growth. Listen to the news but don’t get sucked in by ‘fake news’ that is circulating via social media platforms.
Be a team player – Be aware of your colleagues who may be experiencing various challenges around illness, managing childcare etc. during this time and stand in for colleagues where necessary. Check in on colleagues to make sure they are ok. Some might be living alone or be looking after sick family members.
Think outside the box – No matter what your job is, most organisations will be affected by the current situation. Think of ways that you can help your organisation get through this time or strategically plan for the weeks and months ahead to get back on track.
Be comfortable with the uncomfortable – This may be a very uncomfortable time for you at work due to lack of stability, the unknown etc. Whilst this is an awful situation, as an employee, you can try to use it as a way to develop your skill of working through a changing environment and managing your career. It may feel uncomfortable but try to make peace with the fact that this is the new normal for now and try to evolve with the situation changing day by day.
Keep communication lines open – Keep in touch with your team/ colleagues on a regular basis both formally and informally. Keep conversations going but don’t gossip about other colleagues, some may be ill or in self-isolation or looking after family members.
Be consistent and reachable – As many people don’t have access to childcare at the moment, there may be challenges for people on how and when they are available for work. Most employers should be understanding of this. However it is important to manage your employers’ expectations on your availability to ‘show up’ for work during these weeks. If you can only work for a certain amount of hours every day, be honest about this and be consistent – don’t overpromise and under deliver.
Show empathy and compassion – Colleagues are all facing different types of challenges in their lives at this time. Try practicing empathy and compassion where appropriate. You might just make someone’s day! Most of us remember how a person made us feel rather than what they have achieved.
Don’t complain – As much as possible, try and take some positives (as an employee) from this time period. This affects every person and we should try and lift each other up where we can.
Embrace the learning’s – If possible, keep a daily diary to help you set work goals, manage your career and remind yourself of what you have achieved each day. Note how you feel at the end of every day and what it was that contributed to you feeling good/bad and what made you feel uncomfortable. Also note any new tasks or work that you have undertaken, any ideas that you have come up with and/or implemented during this time. Have you kept motivated and how have you achieved that?. You can learn a lot about yourself during this time in terms of how you like to work in a changing, challenging and unstable environment, how you work under pressure and how you are managing your career.