With the global COVID-19 pandemic that has affected the world for the past couple of years now, more and more people than ever before have been consistently working from home and have been living quite socially isolated lives, by normal standards.
While for many people, working from home has been a long-term dream – and while for many it has also served as a great incentive to finally begin with an entrepreneurial venture that may have been on the back of their minds for sometime – for many others working from home for a long period of time can present a number of different challenges.
For one thing, when you’re working from home consistently, you may lack a lot of the structure and oversight that you typically experience from being in a traditional office setting. In addition to this, it can be a bit too easy to find yourself falling into a routine where you find that pursuing professional or personal growth might be difficult to do to the same extent.
But, when all is said and done, working from home doesn’t have to mean stagnating professionally – and it certainly doesn’t have to mean that you give up on pursuing professional growth, or for that matter, personal growth either.
Here are a number of different tips for growing professionally while working from home, so that you can keep consistently moving towards the career of your dreams, regardless of the overall uncertainties of the world at large.
Look for remote mentoring and training materials and platforms
First things first: Matching Mentoring Software, and all sorts of different training and mentoring platforms and programs are now available to an extent they never were in the past, while also being much more accessible to the average person.
For most people, working from home means that you will be relying a lot on the Internet in order to stay on top of your daily workflow, and to ensure that you are maintaining proper contact with colleagues, clients, and so on.
While the Internet can be a great avenue for working remotely, and for staying in touch with all sorts of different individuals in both a personal and professional context, that’s only scratching the surface of what the World Wide Web has to offer when it comes to things like professional development.
These days, you can learn many skillsets almost entirely by studying them from the comfort of your own home. You can, for example, learn to code to a good level of proficiency by taking online courses, and even for some more “hands-on” professions and avenues, seeking out online mentoring and training opportunities can help to give you a very good grounding as well.
Many jobs would traditionally offer a range of opportunities for in-house optional training and workshops for their employees. In the absence of these traditional office settings, many individuals may feel as though these avenues have closed, and as if these possibilities are no longer “on the table.”
As a matter of fact, though, there are a huge range of different opportunities and avenues available for skill development, it’s just that you need to do a bit of legwork in order to find them, and you need to be able to structure your routine and your own home-based learning environment in order to get the most out of those courses and programs.
Mentoring, in particular, may be quite helpful in this regard – as it may involve maintaining regular contact with an individual who can keep you accountable, who can check that you are remaining consistent in your training, and who can also offer answers to any questions or concerns that you may be dealing with.
Take this time to assess the state of your professional life and the direction you want to head in
For many people, working from home for a prolonged period of time may end up feeling a bit like a form of “Limbo,” where it feels as though they are going through the motions, but aren’t really excelling or engaging fully with their professional life in an organised way.
Of course, this isn’t an ideal situation to be in if it applies to you – but even if you feel as though things are somehow “on hold” when you’re working from home over a prolonged period of time, there are still opportunities in this experience that you can take advantage of.
Essentially, you could use the time that you are working remotely to assess the state of your professional life and to consider the direction that you want to head in going forward.
It may be that the role that you’ve been in for some time now – or even the industry or overall profession that you’ve been in for some time now – no longer seems quite as fulfilling, or to hold quite the same promise that it once did.
In fact, many people during the pandemic have been having just these sorts of thoughts, and have been seeking out opportunities for retraining, or pursuing new professional opportunities, as a result. Some commentators have referred to this phenomenon using terms such as “The Great Resignation.”
In your case, maybe there won’t prove to be a compelling reason to leave your current profession or job, but it’s worth considering, in any case, whether this moment in time may be right for a bit of self-reflection.
With less time spent on things like commuting, try out some of your own side projects and endeavours
One thing that you can say for working from home is that it results in less commuting time – because, for most of us, it doesn’t take very long to get from the bedroom, to the kitchen and then to the home office.
With less time spent on things like commuting, there are a lot of opportunities to be found when it comes to pursuing additional side projects and ventures that you might otherwise have found you didn’t have enough time for on a daily basis.
Maybe you could spend an hour in the morning before getting started on your work writing a novel manuscript, or learning a new skill? Or, maybe you could use the time to polish up your CV and look up new job opportunities as they arise?
Working on your own projects and side endeavours in this way can be very rewarding, and can even unlock professional opportunities that you hadn’t been aware existed before. It might be that what starts as a side project that you spend an hour or two on a day ends are blossoming into a full-fledged business in its own right, and becomes your primary source of income.
Even if it doesn’t, though, you might find that spending some of your newly freed up time on personal projects and even hobbies, could help you to grow both personally and professionally in a way that just surfing the web for an extra hour a day wouldn’t.
Look for opportunities to take on extra responsibilities during an uncertain tie
Although this certainly won’t be a universally applicable idea, one way of potentially excelling in your career, and expanding your professional horizons while working from home during times of uncertainty, could be to seek out opportunities to proactively take on additional responsibilities during those times.
In some cases, making yourself more indispensable to a given company can help to land you a promotion, or to put you in a stronger bargaining position in a number of different ways. And during periods of uncertainty, in particular, there are likely to be quite a number of different areas where you might potentially be able to “pick up the slack” and make yourself more valuable in this way
Of course, this is the kind of thing where you need to be pretty careful, and where you have to assess your individual situation quite thoughtfully, too. Because it’s also the case, unfortunately, that in certain companies and positions, taking on additional responsibilities won’t put you in a stronger bargaining position, but will just open you up to exploitation.
Use the time working from home to fine-tune your routines for better productivity
Your daily routines will always have a significant impact on your ability to be as productive as possible, while also managing to juggle as many different professional tasks and projects as you can, in a reasonable manner, at the same time.
When working from home, many people find that it becomes significantly trickier to maintain healthy and balanced everyday routines – as going to a physical workplace tends to be a pretty grounding part of most people’s daily routines.
If, though, you take the opportunity to use the time spent working from home to structure your everyday routines to emphasise real productivity, you may find that you are in a significantly stronger position than you were before, and are capable of maintaining higher overall levels of momentum and productivity as a result, particularly in situations where the normal flow and rhythm of everyday working life is somehow disrupted.
Among other things, establishing a powerful and productive morning routine can work wonders, as can keeping consistent sleep and wake schedules, and set meal times and opportunities to work on hobbies.