Staying motivated through a period of being furloughed is essential. This break in working came unexpectedly for everyone, as COVID-19 drastically altered the way we live and work.
An estimated 9 million workers in the U.K. have been furloughed, with 140,000 companies applying for financial aid from the government when the furlough scheme opened on 20th April 2020.
The critical thing to remember is that if you’ve been furloughed, you’re not alone – many financial organisations have had to make significant changes to their payroll. The furlough scheme is in place to keep as many people in employment as possible, and it is essential to remember that furlough is not forever.
While the last few weeks have been challenging, we are now looking forwards to the full lockdown being lifted in a matter of weeks. With this in mind, today, I thought I would share some advice for finance employees to boost your confidence and stay positive throughout your furlough.
Do the Maths
Being furloughed can lead to concerns over your earnings. If you have been placed on furlough, the government will be paying 80% of your wages/salary up to £2,500 per month, with your employer having the option to top up the remaining 20% depending on their circumstances.
For many furloughed employees, this means looking carefully at your finances and adjusting where possible. It might mean saving less this month or cutting back on certain things.
Remember that furlough is not permanent, and your employer will be in touch with you regarding the date of your return to work. As soon as you have this information, you can start to undertake the appropriate planning for when your finances are back to normal.
The furlough scheme does not allow any employees to carry out work while at home for their current employer, and working while on furlough can invalidate your eligibility, so it must be heavily discouraged.
You can, however, complete training while at home. Training while on furlough is an excellent idea for financial employees – you are being given a chance to upskill and enhance your personal brand.
Are there any certifications relating to your role that you could complete? If you want to complete some training to give you the edge when you return to work, ask your manager if there are any training programmes your company can provide for you. Alternatively, complete your training on a subject relating to your role that you want to improve.
I would advise some form of training to keep your confidence in your abilities in check during this uncertain time. Upon returning to your finance role, there will have been many weeks that you have been out of the business – the last thing you want is to return to work feeling out of practice.
A great way to keep your spirits up is to set some personal goals. Think of furlough as a time to complete the things you’ve had on your own ‘to-do’ list for some time.
This could be a fitness goal like running a 5K in a specific time, practising learning a language, even organising your loft. Make sure your goal is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound.
There are plenty of apps you can use to track your goal – Duolingo is great for learning languages, Fitbit Coach (which syncs with your Fitbit) or signing up to Goodreads to help you reach a reading goal and discover more books.
Setting and meeting goals, even small ones, is crucial for keeping your confidence high while you’re not working.
Keep in Touch
Your employer should be checking in regularly with you throughout your furlough, and keep you up to speed with what’s going on. That way you won’t feel out of the loop.
You could even sync your training with what’s currently going on in the business to help you feel connected.
It’s essential to keep in touch with friends and family at this time, but also with your colleagues. It’s a strange time for everyone, and they are likely finding working from home just as odd as you are with your new free time.
Send an email or a message to your colleagues; it doesn’t have to be long – a simple ‘Hi, I hope you’re well’ is all that is needed to keep yourself feeling connected.
Finally, I want to share a few tips for keeping a positive mindset through the final weeks of lockdown.
Taking steps to keep your spirits high and your mindset focused on the positive will do wonders for you during the remaining few weeks of your furlough – the following are my top tips-
- Savour the little things – are you enjoying spending time at home, seeing more of your partner, your children or your pets? Have you managed to finally tidy up the garden or have you got back into cooking? Focus on the small things that have been making you happy recently.
- Take your time – all of us are guilty of saying that we haven’t got time to do certain things, and it’s true – our modern lives usually leave us feeling rushed off our feet. Enjoy the current period of rest and relaxation – studies show that slowing down reduces stress and improves your mental health.
- Look for the good in others – it can be easy to slip into a habit of negativity – combat this by reading stories of all of the positive that has come from lockdown. From Captain Tom Moore raising millions for charity to restaurants providing free food to NHS staff and key workers; you will realise there are uplifting stories everywhere when you start to look for them.
The latest data suggests that the government will lift the current restrictions in May, with us fully returning to normal in the weeks and months afterwards.
The current isolation measures have impacted everyone – it is essential to keep an optimistic attitude and keep focused on the positives. If you have any queries about your finance career going forwards, you can get in touch with our team here to discuss your options.
About Rebus Financial Recruitment
Rebus Financial Recruitment provides a specialist and focused recruitment service to its customers, which historically range from a wide variety of organisations including SME’s to large PLCs.
We strive to offer both the client and candidate a seamless recruitment experience. Using our expertise, we get to the heart of employer and employee needs; and, in doing so, we match the two perfectly. To find out more, get in contact with one of our team today, or you can call us on 01282 930930.