I hate to use the “u-word” again, but yes, it has been a year of unprecedented proportions. Reading work predictions from January 2020 makes you laugh. Instead of dealing with Brexit, we were thrust into a global crisis and forced to work from our kitchen desk. We watched too much Tv, discovered the world of face masks (cloth or disposable? Which one is safer?) and learned that zoom fatigue is a thing.
Many of us saw our leaders at a loss for the first time. CEOs who had weathered the company through the storm of a worldwide recession in 2008 were initially clueless on how to respond to a situation no one in living memory had ever experienced. In that regard, Corona might genuinely have been the great equaliser. Many women I speak to realised there and then that the time was right to pivot. If their boss knew as much as they did right now, why not make use of the equally unprecedented opportunities?
Within weeks, the world of online business changed. What was once seen by many as a collection of influencers praising the benefits of fake tan suddenly became a necessity for product-based companies. Shops were closed for most of the year- where could they still sell their products? Again, the internet proved, if not a great equaliser, at least a way to get even small businesses in front of excited customers. The interest in independent shops grew- and so did the desire of many to make their dream come true and become self-employed.
Others realised that their time is more valuable than money. They have chosen to work only four days a week, using the extra day to increase their wellbeing by spending more time with family.
But wait- if you can do your work from anywhere, why not go somewhere nicer? An 8-hour workday is easier when you can jump into a pool at lunch break. There are even countries that did business out of it andoffered remote work trips. Travel companies have adapted and now offer packages for employees working remotely. The relocation platform Move Hub has seen a 32% increase in exits from the UK since the first lockdown. And Barbados even offers a “Welcome Stamp”, which allows you to live and work in the country for a year.
Many Londoners are looking at their favourite city with different eyes. With no clubs to go to and museums closed, they became aware of the disadvantages one of the most expensive cities in the world brings: lack of space, air pollution and heightened stress levels. The wealthier ones moved West- house prices in the Cotswolds increased by 100% in some areas. Farmhouses and small-town life become much more attractive when London’s only entertainment is a daily walk in the park. Another exciting trend: According to a Pew study, boomers are leaving the US job market early, citing their frustration about the pandemic as one of the reasons. That might translate into more jobs for the younger generation. There is no data for the UK yet, but it might be a similar picture here. Now that the world of work has changed so much, many of us get itchy feet and wonder: could I find a better job? Add more skills so I can change my industry?
Networking is easier than ever
Lunch Club offers business matches with people from all over the world. When signing up, you can choose which fields interest you and how often you want to have meetings. Now that we are all at home and have limited work opportunities, people are eager to meet new people and forge new business relationships. It’s a great way to practice for video job interviews too! Guess what: they are here to stay. Despite the vaccine now available in many countries, it will take months until we all had our turn. Until then, no one wants to risk an outbreak in their company, so zoom is going nowhere. The process will take much longer than before- 3-8 interviews are not rare.
Gaps are explainable
Never before was it so easy to justify a Sabbatical or defend a job loss. You can make use of this opportunity. Some of us use our redundancy payout to launch our dream career. If you are not in this position but would like to pivot, you can take baby steps- taking a course on Udemy might be the starting point. Even a simple act like decluttering your space can lead to more clarity: what made you buy them in the first place? What desire lies behind the decision to buy a french dictionary? Just boredom or a real desire to travel the world, maybe live somewhere else for a while?
Change is easier to manage
As humans, we naturally resist change. The unknown is not something that we feel comfortable with. There’s always the danger of failure included. In 2008, many people held on to their jobs for dear life in the fear they would not get another one. This time around, there are not only losses but also great opportunities. They are yours for the taking- but it means you have to learn to work with your fear. Dreading new challenges is just part of the journey. If you can manage to step into the unknown and embrace the unpredictability, you remain open to the opportunities. Fear clouds our vision- agility gives you a long view. There is talk about jobs that haven’t been invented yet but are about to come. Augmented reality journey builder or simplicity engineer could be one of them.
Do what you can now with the tools you have, ensure your mindset is in the right place, and you might have an unprecedented future ahead of you – in the best way possible.