With the discovery and spread of the novel Coronavirus, we are truly in unprecedented times. From forced restaurant and business closures, to companies transitioning to fully remote operations, and overall economic uncertainty, we are seeing extensive consequences in the workforce. Whether workers have been laid off, have had to move to work-from-home, or are now considered essential workers, the pandemic is upending work as we know it.
No matter what your circumstances are, there are action steps you can take to put yourself into the best position moving forward.
You’ve been laid off, furloughed, or had your hours reduced...
If you have been laid off or furloughed during this, you’re not alone. According to the Labor Department, jobless claims jumped to 3.28 million between March 15 and 21, and we will continue to see the number of people losing jobs to increase as more companies fold or temporarily slow operations. While this a scary time, there are still many options for employment and things you can do to start applying now.
- File for unemployment. There are so many people filing for unemployment that sites are slow or crashing. Despite this, file. You don’t know how long your job search will take and it’s always best to be prepared.
- Update your resume. Whether it has been years or months, update your resume. Explore our resume tips to get started.
- Apply to companies that are having hiring surges. There are many companies and fields that are desperately hiring. At last report, Amazon was looking to hire 100,000 workers, Walmart was looking to hire 150,000 temporary workers, grocery stores are hiring, shipping carriers are hiring, the medical field is hiring as many healthcare providers as possible, and many other companies are hiring as well.
- Consider gig work. With the increased demand for food and grocery delivery, gigs like Uber Eats, Favor, GrubHub, and more are all seeing an increased need for drivers. The process to start driving for these companies is quick and easy and you can be making money within a few days.
- Upskill. Now is the time to learn a new skill that could help your job search. Whether that’s learning to code, pursuing advanced certification in your field, or maybe getting a CDL certification, decide what you want to do, and what training will help you get there.
- Go easy on yourself. You couldn’t have predicted these events. Losing a job is an overwhelming and scary place to be, however, with persistence and patience, you will find a new position. Continue to wake up each day and give it your all.
You’re now working from home...
Overnight, many workers went from working in an office every day, to working exclusively from home. This can be a challenging transition for many people. You must figure out how to make working from home as effective as your time in the office.
- Make a schedule. Our best recommendation is to attempt to mirror your in-office schedule as much as possible to start since you already know it is successful. When working from home, it’s easier to end up in a position where you’re “always on.” When your workspace is easily accessible, you might find yourself “just checking on something” and ending up working more than expected. Set boundaries and do your best to stay within them.
- Be patient and flexible. The schedule you make for today or this week might not be the best schedule for you tomorrow or next week. If your new schedule doesn’t work, change it.
- Communicate. Communication can be difficult in offices even when you see each other daily, however, with an all remote team, it becomes even more difficult than that. Utilize the resources that are available to your team to stay in touch, whether that’s email, phone calls, video conferencing, or an internal messaging system. Continue any 1:1s you typically have in the office and add quick meetings to touch base when needed, just a quick 10- or 15-minute sync to make sure everyone is on the same page.
You work in an “essential” field...
First, we want to say thank you. We understand the enormous sacrifice that you’re making, continuing to show up at work every day. During this time, your focus is on how to remain as safe as possible while working.
- Be safe at work. Follow any rules and procedures your employer has put in place for your safety. Whether you work in medicine, retail, restaurant, shipping, or another essential field, you will have slightly different precautions. No matter what your field, socially distance as much and as often as possible. Wash your hands frequently (opt for a 20-second handwashing or hand sanitizer if a sink is not immediately accessible), and do your best to break the habit of touching your face.
- Ask for what you need. If your employer isn’t providing a safeguard you think should be provided, ask for it. Many companies are making changes because their employees are pushing for them. If what you need is a low-cost item, get it for yourself. This article from the Harvard Business Review covers how essential businesses can keep their employees safe, and this webpage from the San Francisco government covers essential business safety measures, use these as guidelines for what you should expect your employer to be doing during this time.
- Be safe at home. When you get home, leave your work shoes outside of your home, immediately put your clothing into the wash, and take a shower before touching anything (or anyone) at home. While home, follow guidelines set by the CDC. The New York Times has a great guide you should check out with current Coronavirus prevention precautions.
You’re now a homeschool teacher/childcare worker...
With more than half of schools in the US currently closed, more than 32.5 million students are home with their parents. Some districts are turning to distance learning and some are closed altogether. The same applies to many preschools and childcare centers. While childcare is considered essential in many cities and states, many parents are choosing safety first and keeping their children home.
But what do you do when you’re working from home and trying to keep an eye on your children?
- Do what works for your family, and your situation. There are a lot of people sharing ideal schedules of teaching their children at home, including all of the subjects they would have in school, but if you’re trying to get work done and teach, don’t feel bad if you can’t make this happen. Figure out what works for your family and do that, no matter what other people are doing.
- Take advantage of flexible schedules. If both parents are working from home, consider having one parent start working early while the other is watching the children, and then swap late afternoon. Staggering schedules will allow you both to get your work done while still making sure your kids are supervised.
- Get outside at least once a day. Whether you take a walk, or just stand on your porch or patio for a few minutes, get some fresh air every day.
- Stay positive. These are unprecedented times, but humans have gone through many hard times and made it through. If you’re struggling with depression or negative thoughts, consider using an online therapy option like Talkspace or practice meditation.
- Stay connected. While you’re practicing social distancing by physically staying separated from one another, you don’t have to stay distanced emotionally thanks to technology. Call your friends and family, use social media, play video games online with friends, whatever allows you to connect with others while not requiring close physical proximity.