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For many people, one of the upsides of the pandemic is being able to work from home and those who used to commute to and from the office are now finding themselves with a bit more time on their hands.
With more time in the day, there are more opportunities to relax or complete household chores, but free time also presents the perfect opportunity to upskill or develop personally and professionally. A study undertaken by PwC found that 77% of people are looking to learn new skills as a way of ‘pandemic-proofing’ their jobs for the future, and a handy way to know what skills need improving is to think about where technology is heading and what your industry and role might look like in the future. From there you can look for gaps in your current skillset and aim to upskill. Here’s how.
Attend virtual events
In-person events may have stopped or slowed down, but webinars and online conferences are more popular than ever. Not only can you garner the same information you would have in person, but you can also expand your mindset from the safety and comfort of your own home. The best bit is that they are usually recorded, so if you can’t attend the live session you can catch up later on.
Utilise the resources available to you
It is likely that your employer will already have a set of resources available to staff so that they can upskill. This might take the form of webinars or extra training or opportunities to become involved in interest groups or projects. The benefit of these resources is that they are likely to be tailored to suit the organisation you work for, so they offer maximum benefit for people looking to embed themselves further in their work and prove that they take their job seriously. If these resources aren’t readily available to you speak to HR or perhaps look for other ways to upskill, such as by offering to present at the next team meeting or taking on a piece of work that forces you out of your comfort zone.
Schedule regular catch-ups with your mentor
If you have a mentor, now is not the time to let the relationship lapse. Just because you cannot meet up in person does not mean you cannot meet up at all. Take some time to check in with your mentor and see how they are managing with working from home and how they are continuing to develop professionally. It may be a simple text or a quick email, or you may prefer a more formal meeting over Zoom. Either way, seek advice and guidance from your mentor in the way you normally would if you could see them in person and make sure you do so on a regular basis. Don’t forget to thank your mentor for their previous advice and explain how it has helped you to progress.
Listen to podcasts
Instead of listening to music or the TV while you work, pop on a podcast on a topic that is relevant to your work or focuses on an area you would like to upskill in. There are also plenty of podcasts that are useful for personal development, such as those that offer tips on investing and finances, personal relationships, and mental health and wellbeing.
Take an online course
You may not have enough time to take on a degree, but plenty of short courses are available in a wide range of areas that are sure to help you upskill. Whether you want to specialise in a niche area of your work or become a Microsoft Excel wiz, a simple online search for the best short course to fit your needs is all it takes to set you on the path of professional development. One of the best places to begin is LinkedIn Learning, which offers thousands of courses across a gamut of business-related areas.
Schedule in a time to upskill
Like all personal and professional development, upskilling only works if you commit to it. Set aside some time each day, week, or month that is strictly dedicated to your own development so that it becomes a habit.
Using spare time to invest in yourself can help with being and feeling more productive, building self-confidence and assurance, and the ability to inspire your teammates to do the same. What better time than during a period of working from home to achieve your personal and professional goals.