How to deal with being furloughed in a global pandemic

It goes without saying that this current global pandemic with CV19 has brought the global and local economies to grinding halt. This has resulted in a number of challenges that has pretty much affected every working professional in all nations across the globe. Many companies, large and small, have to do introduce new ways of working and adopt new strategic approaches to ensure that they keep operating. One of these strategies is by taking advantage of the UK Government Furlough scheme.

What Does Furlough Mean?

Under the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers can access financial support to continue paying part of workers’ salaries that would have been laid off as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

If your boss intends to use take advantage of the job retention scheme, they should talk to you about being classified as a furloughed worker. Once considered a furloughed employee, you will remain on the payroll and not lose your job.

Here are 8 Practical Tips That Can Help You While Being Furloughed

1)  Don’t panic and keep Calm: Firstly, it’s not your fault, don’t take it personally, the global pandemic in one way or another has impacted us all, and in a place of uncertainty it’s very easy to be fearful and worried about your job. It’s important to keep calm and evaluate exactly how you are impacted and how you can make the absolutely most of this situation. At times like this, it can be a golden opportunity and a blessing in disguise.

2)  Embrace the change: Human beings are most certainly creatures of habit and a lot of us don’t like change at the best of times. Sometimes it’s good to embrace times of change, albeit not from our own doing. Change can always be a good thing when looking at it from a positive perspective. So make the choice to look at things with a positive spin and embrace the ‘silver linings’ in what can seem to be a dire situation. Many of us are finding that the slowing down of our routines is doing us a world of good to really re-charge our batteries and get a sense of perspective.

3)  Re-visit your long lost passions and hobbies: Whilst being furloughed, perhaps this is the time to fall back in love with some long lost passions and creative hobbies. Maybe you’re into gardening, sewing, origami, DIY or even DJing. The never-ending 9 to 5 (which really is no longer 9 to 5, let’s be honest!) routine can sometimes stifle our creative gifts and potential. So whilst you’re at home, use this time to have fun and engage in your passions. Doing this can certainly improve on your creative stimulation and also help your own personal mental and emotional wellbeing.

4)  Evaluate your current role: Some people love their jobs more than others, perhaps you are one of those people that didn’t really enjoy what you were doing, and now this is a great opportunity to really find the career that you really want to do. Maybe for years you’ve always wanted to get a certain position or get into a specific field, this may well be the time to do. Officially, whilst under the Furlough scheme, you are not allowed to apply new roles or work in your current role, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t browse job boards and see what is out there for you, you just can’t make any applications.

5)  Remember and recognise your strengths, skills and abilities: Not working whilst being furloughed has the potential to make you feel worthless unwanted and even rejected. This is breeding ground to make you feel bad and even depressed, don’t let this happen. This is the time to really remind yourself of your potential, your skills, your abilities and your worth. Remind yourself of the recent work successes; this will boost your confidence to remember how good you are.

6)  Update your CV, personal brand and LinkedIn profile: Even though whilst on Furlough you’re not allowed to work or apply for new work, that doesn’t mean you can’t get your house in order. This is the time to get your CV, personal branding and LinkedIn profile fully up to date, so that when the markets open up officially, you are ready to respond to and apply to the many opportunities presented to you.

7)  Always Look at the bright side and stay positive: The global pandemic has and is devastating for us all in so many ways, whether through the loss of a life, a job, a career or a business. We do however have a choice, the choice to be down and depressed or to look at the bright side of life. At the end of the day, we will all get through this, and we can only get through by initially embracing what is happening around us, being sad a for a little whilst, being compassionate to all and also by being upbeat and positive. Choose to be an optimist, optimism is infectious and will often pay off great dividends in so many ways!

8)  Evaluate your finances: Be practical about your finances, the government furlough scheme assist your employer by paying 80% of your salary, which for many is quite a lot of money. So be practical and look at your outgoings and evaluate your essentials so that you can remain in the black. Speak to your bank about any help on overdrafts, credit card repayments and mortgage holidays. If you are really finding it difficult, speak to your friends or any financial related charities such as the Citizens Advice Bureau, you are not on your own.