How to use furlough downtime

So, you’ve been furloughed and suddenly have a lot more time on your hands. There are the obvious options of organising your stockpiled tins, maniacally cleaning your home all day and binge watching Tiger King on Netflix but there are more productive things you can do that will help with your personal development and allow you to jump back into your role a more improved model. So, let’s begin:

1. Access webinars

The whole world is going digital at the moment and there’s never been more webinars and online training sessions at our fingertips, literally. So, make the most of them. Whether you want to brush up on your industry knowledge or learn more from others within marketing, there will be a webinar out there for you. Marketing Week has a full schedule that might benefit you and Marketing Interactive has a full suite of content scheduled. Or if you’re looking for some more sector specific content, RICS has some interesting sessions scheduled over the coming weeks.

2. Read, read and read some more

I’m a massive fan of a good book and whilst I think picking up the latest best seller is always better than a Netflix binge, whilst you have time you can devour all your relevant trade press. Digital version of magazines are being emailed out and paywalls are being abandoned, so take this time to become an expert in your sector. Set aside time every day, even if it’s just half an hour, and when you come back into work, you’ll be the oracle everyone will be coming to for sector insights.

3. Your NHS needs you

If you’re young, fit and healthy, there’s no reason you can’t put this downtime to good use and volunteer. In an official capacity, the NHS was recently crying out for volunteers and whilst these places are all full at the moment, they’re being updated on a daily basis. There are other volunteer organisations, such as mutual aid groups, that are specific to each region in the UK. Even just a text to make sure elderly neighbours are doing okay is better than nothing.

4. Keep learning

I personally love to learn so free Open University courses are like my kryptonite and there is an abundance of courses you can take over the next few weeks to help further your own career. From ‘effective communication in the workplace’ to ‘introducing corporate finance’, there will be a module out there that will help develop your career progression. And if you get a certificate at the end, even better.

5. Keep in touch

Whilst being furloughed means you can’t do any work for your company, you can still keep in touch with colleagues on a personal level. Self-isolation is hard and as the name describes, isolating. Organise weekly ‘House Parties’ with the team to check in and make sure everyone is coping. They’re probably missing you as much as you’re missing them so talk about your self-isolation plans, courses you’ve started to take and meals you plan to cook. You’ll probably feel a LOT better after.

6. Tweet, post and share

It’s important you remain a familiar face in your industry and one easy way to do this is via social media. Impressions have never been higher across social media and other digital platforms so make sure you’re sharing the insights you’ve learnt. Retweet relevant industry news, make new contacts, create online content for yourself. Research, drafting and sharing LinkedIn articles is also a great way to make sure your writing skills stay up to scratch and market yourself.

7. Learn a new skill

Always wanted to dabble in graphic design? Photography a hidden passion? Use this time to jump in with both feet and do it! Whilst working, we rarely have time to perfect the art of Photoshop or experiment with exposure on our camera so use this time to practice a skill you can take into your role when you return.

8. Take time for yourself

It’s never happened before and realistically, it’s unlikely you’ll ever have paid extended leave ever again. Whilst it’s important to brush up on skills that can benefit your career make sure you have a lie in, do some yoga, learn to cook a new dish or just FaceTime friends. Learn to relax and come back to work a happier, more rounded person.

If you’ve been furloughed, or even just have spare time now we can’t leave the house, let us know what you’ve been getting up to by tweeting us at @RefreshPR.

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