Furlough Observations

by | June 11, 2020

I’ve been supporting a number of people on furlough recently and I’ve noticed a lot less fear about career uncertainty and financial insecurity than I was expecting to find.

Maybe there’s something about a global pandemic creating a career pause for millions at the same time that ensures this can’t feel personal? But when I listen to people talk I’m not hearing self doubt and the dip in confidence that can often accompany redundancy or a big change in work circumstances.

Needing to live on 80% salary for a while is definitely leading people to think carefully about what they spend each month. But having made some cuts, it can be quite liberating to know they can survive on a lower salary if they need to and won’t have to keep chasing the best paying jobs just because that’s what they’ve always done.

Few people I’m speaking to appear to be just waiting to go back to what they were doing before. Many are actively completing short courses to build new skills and get a taster of different career areas. Most have no desire to return to a single place of work 4-5 days a week. They want the flexibility and autonomy to integrate good quality work into their whole lives rather than have work demands dictate the quality of the rest of their life.

Many are taking this opportunity to completely rethink their professional lives, what they do and how they do it. I’m interested to see how organisations plan to adapt their working practices as they prepare for their talent to return to roles later this year.

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