We know this year hasn’t been easy and at Futureheads we’re committed to helping our community and sharing our expertise in any way we can. That’s why we decided to run a second #AskUsAnything Q&A series on LinkedIn, encouraging our network to ask Futureheads consultants absolutely anything – whether that be questions around the job market, current opportunities, employee wellbeing, or dealing with stress at work.

It was fantastic to see so many submissions. Don’t worry if you missed it – we’ve collated the Q&A into a helpful round-up below.

 

Culture and mental wellbeing

Question 1: My colleagues and I have been working from home for months now, and although operationally everything is really smooth, we’re struggling to feel like a team. How can I stay better connected with my colleagues?

This is a great question. Now that the novelty of Zoom quizzes has worn off, and colleagues are time poor as business starts to ramp up for many, it can be harder to stay well connected with your colleagues. Here’s a couple of things we’ve seen or done over the past few months:

  • Created a company-wide ‘Time for Tea’ every day at 11am – this is a 15-minute call where colleagues can chat about anything over a cuppa. There’s no “work” chat, and we’ve found it really helps in connecting colleagues that don’t speak regularly.
  • Daily stand-up – Each team has a 30-minute stand-up each morning, but we always make time for 5 minutes of non-work chat – we find this a fun, morale boosting way of starting the day.

Question 2: I’m feeling really burnt-out and stressed and would like to talk to my manager about it, but I’m worried that it might jeopardise my job if I do so. What’s the best way to go about it?

The pandemic has really helped re-prioritise the most important things in life, and for many, work-life balance, health and wellbeing are very much front of mind and rightly so. The impact that both burn-out and stress can have on your body as well as your productivity at work mean that this is something best addressed sooner rather than later.

As someone who has had similar conversations with my employer previously, my advice would firstly be to be as open as you feel comfortable – you are likely to be met with genuine care, concern, and a commitment to help you get back to where you want to be. Make sure you have a clear 30 – 60 minutes as the conversation is likely to be longer than you expect as your employer will want to be thorough in order to help. Think in advance what the primary drivers of your burn-out are, and what adjustments would be helpful at work to decrease your stress and ensure this doesn’t happen again.

 

Job hunting

Question 3: With WFH now a norm, can I move out of London in anticipation of only needing to work 1 or 2 days in the office, or will that restrict my career options too much post-Covid?

The vast majority of our clients are yet to communicate an official ‘post-Covid’ working structure, although most carry the sentiment that there will be more flexibility than before – in most cases, 2 or 3 days in the office. For the most part, this balance of home and in-office working is the preference for candidates too. So while moving out of London may reduce the amount of opportunities available to you, providing you’re able to commute in to the city two days per week, there should still be plenty of interesting opportunities.

Question 4: I am thinking of taking a job over the next few months in a supermarket, and hope to re-join the digital market after the pandemic ends – will this be frowned upon by future employers?

We expect our clients to have a high level of empathy toward candidates taking other short term work, or having extended gaps on their CV throughout 2020. It’s likely the hiring manager will have friends or family who are asking the same question. A person’s individual circumstances will dictate the right time to explore other opportunities, but it’s something that will be understood by hiring managers nevertheless.

Question 5: I’d like to look for a new job, but am unsure whether to look now or wait until spring next year. What would you advise, given the state of the jobs market?

The job market has slowly and steadily recovered over the past 6 months, and it’s likely that this will continue to be the case through to the start of December, which traditionally is a quieter month anyway. That said, it’s still quieter now than it would be within a ‘normal’ year. We expect that the market will be busier still in January based on conversations with our clients.

Searching for a new role can take a lot of energy, and in 2020 especially, has taken even more perseverance and resilience. We’d advise bringing organisation and structure to your search, committing a certain amount of time each day and being realistic with your expectations. If you have the energy now, then why not – the right opportunity may well be out there. If it isn’t, have a break, and go again in January.

Question 6: I’m an aspiring UX Designer. Do any courses stand out to you? And are their claims that there is huge demand for UX specialists something that you’re seeing too, especially at the junior level?

There are several very good UX courses available, ranging significantly in price, but any course that has a short commercial project for a real business tends to carry more weight afterward, but these courses can come at a premium.

With regards demand, the reality is and has been for a couple of years, that the number of aspiring UX designers outweigh the number of entry-level UX design positions. The junior end of the market is extremely competitive and it can take several months, lots of organisation and perseverance to lock in your first role. It’s important to keep this in mind when considering the financial commitment that you’re willing to make upfront.

There are more product design than UX design vacancies, so taking a course that teaches visual design alongside UX design will help to change these odds providing you’re equally adept in this area.

Don’t worry if you didn’t get a chance to submit your questions – we’ll be running another Q&A in the new year. Follow our social for updates!

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