4 Ways to Stay Productive if You’ve Been Furloughed

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Have you or someone you know been furloughed? If so, how can a professional stay productive and positive? Due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, uncertainty within economies and businesses is at an all-time high. As a result, many organizations have furloughed employees. A furlough usually involves employees being mandated to take an unpaid leave of absence. During that time, staff members tend to receive less or no payment from their job. However, in many cases employees can keep their health and other benefits.

Furloughs are different than layoffs, because the employment agreement with an individual isn’t permanently terminated. Public and private organizations both engage in the furlough process, even though it primarily began as a government practice. If you’ve been furloughed, it’s normal to feel some apprehension, fear and/or doubt about your employment. These are four ways to stay productive if you’ve been furloughed.

1. Stay current on advancements in your industry

When professionals have been furloughed, it’s easy to start getting consumed by other things. Many people begin to substitute all of their work hours with family, household and leisure activities. Even though you’re not working, it’s best to stay current on advancements in your industry. What industry publications or websites can you read? Are there influencers or researchers online that you can follow on social media? Whether you get back to work quickly with your company or not, remaining up to date on what’s going on in your industry is important.

2. Keep networking

Keeping up with your colleagues during a furlough can be helpful to prevent feelings of isolation. Many areas are still under some quarantine restrictions, which can lead to people feeling disconnected. Networking online via social media can help you strengthen your current connections and build new ones.  Proactively like, comment and share posts that you think are insightful. Picking up the phone to call coworkers and contacts is also another way to stay in touch.  Utilizing a video service to speak with people can also keep your networking efforts going.

3. Update your resume

Even though many companies will retain employees after a furlough, the reality is that some workers will probably be laid off. It can be hard to know where you stand with your organization. When was the last time you updated your resume?  Does it have compelling achievements and accomplishments to help you stand out if someone were to do a quick glance of your resume? It’s best to update your resume just in case you decide to start looking for jobs while you’re furloughed. This is also preparing you in the event of a layoff.       

4. Maintain your online profiles

How do you feel about your online presence? It is commonplace for people to search your name online and review the displayed results. Maintaining up-to-date social media profiles can be helpful if you decide to pursue other job opportunities, while you’re furloughed. Also, creating and updating profiles on different job sites can allow recruiters to find you to discuss potential jobs. If you haven’t seriously considered what information or details are out there about you online, now is the time. 

If you are going through a furlough, there can be a lot of uncertainty and doubt regarding your career. Even though you can’t control your employment status with your organization, there are some things you can do to stay productive.  Remaining current on advancements within your industry and networking online can keep you sharp. Updating your resume and maintaining your social media profiles will also help you be ready for any potential job opportunities. What are some other ways to remain productive?

Porschia Parker-Griffin is a Certified Coach, Professional Resume Writer, and Founder of Fly High Coaching. (https://www.fly-highcoaching.com) She empowers ambitious professionals and motivated executives to add $10K on average to their salaries.

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