COVID-19 has led to massive upheaval in all aspects of life and most workplaces have had to transition to working from home pretty much overnight. Even as restrictions begin to ease and things start to open up again, it seems unlikely that things will ever go back to exactly how they were.

For a lot of manufacturing and engineering roles, it has not been possible to work remotely. With so much extra time spent at home and away from their workplace many people have reexamined their career choice and the path that they are on.

Learning new skills

The dramatic overnight shift in the world has made it very clear that as workers we all need to know how to adapt and constantly focus on improving ourselves. Manufacturing and engineering roles have been particularly affected as production ceased, and even now demand for products has dropped.

With increasing numbers of people being made redundant and uncertain futures for many industries, most people have been forced out of their autopilot, 9-to-5 routine to consider how they can prepare themselves for the future.

All the extra time we’ve had on our hands has led many of us to start new projects, begin learning new skills, and taking courses. COVID-19 has given us a renewed focus on our career progression prospects, and exactly what we need to do to stay employed and find new opportunities in the coming months and years.

This might also be reflected in a shift of employees expecting more from employers in terms of personal development and opportunities to develop their careers. Companies like Digital Ocean that focus on supporting the growth of employees, allowing them to work flexibly and remotely, and ensuring they’re progressing, are going to be much more appealing to those looking for new roles post-COVID.

Are we doing the right job?

For those that have been able to work from home, without coffee break catch-ups, team lunches, and all the other regular social interactions between colleagues, many workers are finding out just how much they actually enjoy their job. When you don’t have all your normal workplace distractions it quickly becomes apparent how fulfilling your job really is.

During the pandemic, many of us have realized that it’s more important to us that we are doing something that we really care about and enjoy for work. This might not necessarily mean a complete change of career but looking to use our current skills for a better purpose, or to work for companies that are better aligned with our personal values.

For example, there’s Vet Comp & Pen, which was started by a nurse practitioner working at the VA who realized that many of the veterans she worked with qualified for disability benefits but didn’t know how to access the support they deserved. She left her job and set up a medical consulting business that helps vets to connect symptoms and diagnoses with their military service.

Post-COVID, people will place higher importance on finding work that fulfills them and is in line with their values, rather than just focusing on career progression and financial reward.

Launching side businesses

People have also found more time during the pandemic to focus on their other hobbies and interests outside of work. And for many with a level of uncertainty about the future, they have looked at turning their passions and projects into a new side business.

Following the example of businesses such as True Vintage, an online clothing store that was started by a university student from his bedroom and is now one of the largest vintage retailers in the UK. For most people, these side businesses are unlikely to take over from their main career, but it will hopefully provide them with some added income and security.

Better work-life balance

At the same time as people have become more focused and more productive, there’s also been a move towards better work-life balance. We’ve found that we can be just as productive working from home, without an hour or two commuting through rush hour traffic every morning. Most of us are reluctant to return to working longer hours and sacrificing evenings and weekends to get more done.

For many, adjusting to working from home meant that they had to introduce as much separation as they could between the working day and their personal time. And they’ve discovered that things don’t ground to halt if they don’t reply to one more email late at night. The pandemic has made us realize that there are definitely more important things than work and switching off is good for improving personal relationships and maintaining your mental health.

COVID-19 has changed a lot of people’s perspectives on their careers and working life. For many of us, we have had to consider how we can adapt and improve our skills as jobs become less secure. We’ve also had the time to consider what’s really important, whether we’re on the right track for our long-term career goals, but also just how crucial maintaining a good work-life balance can be to our overall well-being.

Rodney LawAbout the Author:

Rodney Laws is an ecommerce expert with over a decade of experience in building online businesses. He’s worked with the biggest platforms in the world, making him the perfect person to offer advice on which platform you should use to build your website. Check out his reviews on EcommercePlatforms.io and you’ll find practical tips that you can use to build the best online store for your business.

Connect with him on Twitter @EcomPlatformsio.