By Ariah Zwolinski, Workforce Connection Center Specialist, Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin
It’s no secret that COVID-19 has affected how billions of people around the world live, connect and work. Beyond the long hours being put in by our frontline workers and the millions who are now facing unemployment, a significant percentage of our workforce has had to make a sudden transition to working-from-home. For the latter, at least, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, when asked in a recent survey about whether they would like to go back to their pre-COVID-19 work arrangement, 43 percent of respondents said they would like to work remotely more often going forward.
With the era of working-from-home upon us, here are five things to keep in mind as you navigate that transition:
- Space: Space refers to not only the environment you work out of, but the boundaries you give yourself while working. Did you get to the office around 8 am, take lunch at noon and leave at 5 pm? Make those your work hours at home. Do you find waking up a little later helps with productivity? If you have flexibility in your schedule, communicate that with your team so they know the best time to contact you. While you need to be available to your team, it’s just as important to have time away from work to recharge.
- Support: Working from home requires a lot of discipline and the ability to self-motivate. (Remember those traits for your résumé and interviews!) Without being surrounded by your peers, it can be difficult to ask for help, input and direction. Don’t be afraid to send a quick email or use a chat system if you need a quick answer or, for more complex questions, schedule a meeting.
- Technology: While it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, being somewhat technologically savvy is an important skillset. If you’re finding that you’re struggling to meet the requirements of a current or potential job opportunity, this may be a great time to explore new software, programs or technologies. The internet is a great resource for information and tutorials to help you learn almost anything!
- Education: Some universities and organizations are offering free courses to help you earn certifications or boost your knowledge base. Whether you want to advance within your current position or explore opportunities in new industries, find out what additional education you’d need to make that possible. It could be formal (through a university working towards a degree or certificate) or informal (utilizing tutorials or practice modules).
- Communication: Space, support, technology and education cannot happen without good communication. Work with your team, family or friends/roommates to set expectations. What should you be accomplishing in a typical day? Do you need to have a specific environment to do what you’re doing? What tools do you need and how can you access help if you need it? Consider giving peers access to your electronic calendars so they know when you’re available.
We’re Here for You
Whether you’re adapting to working from home or would like to pursue more remote work opportunities, don’t be afraid to reach out to expert resources like your local Goodwill. We’re happy to help you navigate a more virtual job seeking and working environment, including résumé writing and interview coaching. To learn about the career services available in your area, visit the Goodwill Locator. Click the Filter option and select Headquarters only. Then, enter your ZIP or Postal code and click the magnifying glass or hit Enter to find your local Goodwill’s website, social media channels or phone number for localized information.