Is time out of the office good for your career?

Whether you’re working from home, on furlough or been fired, being out of your regular work environment might be the best thing to happen to your career in the long-term.

Alongside the mental health benefits, with the extra time at home, we’ve been given the chance to assess whether we actually enjoy what we’re doing or where our career is going without the distraction of the bustle of day-to-day office life or tea break chats. 

Being out of the office has given us time to reflect on our own progress as well as how we engage and relate to the world around us. Does your work fulfil you? What impact do you have at work on a social and political scale?

If you’re a key worker you will probably feel as though you’ve contributed to society, your job (if not your pay) is rewarding, as it strives to lessen the pandemic and is the fundamental back bone of our society. There is literally nothing we could do to repay that debt to you – better pay would be a good start though Boris.

Whereas, I’m left like other non-key workers wondering how I can contribute, both inside and outside of work, to efforts to address global issues including (but not limited to) Covid-19, climate change, systemic racism and gender equality.  

Whether you have a long commute into work or not, the extra time at home has made room for inward and outward reflection about ourselves and lives. I think it might be the best thing that has happened to our career in years and here’s why:

You’ve figured out what’s important to you

Perhaps you’ve had more time with your children, had an extra hour in bed, or time to unwind each evening. As a result, what you value in life might have changed.

The hour commute to work that you didn’t think about before lockdown, might not be worth it now at the expense of sleep or family time. 

You’ve been forced to slow down 

I don’t know about you, but normally my life is non-stop. Full disclaimer I’m busier than ever, but at least I’m physically not darting around all the time, it’s done from home.

Everything is full speed ahead towards a millennial/Gen Z burnout. It has taken a global pandemic to finally slow us down, which is beneficial for our stress levels as well as our mental and physical health. 

It also leaves time for meditation or reflection. Does what you do every day make you happy? What does make you happy? And is there any way you can do that for a living instead?

Our whole method of working has changed

Every issue your manager might have had with your last-minute appointments, having to work from home when ill, childcare commitments, has gone out of the window.

For months, every employee has had to adapt to working remotely or still in their place of work, juggling their personal and professional responsibilities without any external support. That 10am start after a doctor’s appointment doesn’t seem that problematic now, does it?

Hopefully, it means that employers will be more accommodating in the future. It definitely means employees will be asking for more flexible working terms that suit their lifestyle.  

It might be the perfect opportunity to completely change your career path

The pandemic has been a global reminder that life is too short to spend it doing things that make you unhappy, which has left many people reassessing their careers.

The job market might be uncertain, but there has never been a better time to research into a new career, take an online course or learn more about an industry that you’re desperate to work in. 

If you’re furloughed or out of work, the additional time off might give you more of chance to figure out what you want from your job – your values and how they align with your job. As well as, more importantly, how you’re going to get it. 

It’s a chance to learn something new

Whether that’s going back to university to do a Masters or doing a free online course, the additional time and flexible working conditions has left more time for you to develop your interests. 

It’s a big commitment to invest money into training, but when it can be done from your bed, by yourself, for free, it’s never been easier to test out a career before you start one. It also adds to your CV so if you’re out of work you can still be extending your options. 

Also, despite paying the full fees for remote learning, it might be a great chance to go back to University. Most courses of 2020/21 will begin remotely cutting down travel and time costs of getting to campus. It will be a cheaper and flexible way of learning that could lead to a new career path for you later down the line. 

You might have the time to start a side hustle 

Especially to land a creative job, a great way to start that career is as a side hustle. Taking up a side hustle shows you’re committed, invested and interested in the subject as you’re willing to spend your free time (usually money too) and effort developing a skill. All of which can be added to your CV or portfolio, which is an asset for future employers.

I’ve written more about how to successfully run a side hustle here.

In short, I think the world of work has changed for the better and the time out of the office will only strengthen our resolve not to settle for a career we don’t love

While the future of our careers is uncertain and entry level jobs are scarce, if you’re looking for a sign to do what you love and start over, I think this is it. 

Do you think time out of the office is good for our careers?

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  • Hannah says:

    I cannot personally comment as I have not had any time-off during this pandemic as a key worker but I have definitely noticed a difference in my mind-set during this time. I have had more time in the evenings because there has been nowhere else to go but home and no one else to see but my boyfriend whom I live with so I have had a lot more time to spend by myself to reflect on what I want and where I want to go with my life. This time has definitely highlighted how lazy I can be but also how much I can succeed when I truly push myself. I honestly believe that nobody is coming out of this the same person that they were when the pandemic started. xx

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