Millions of people around the world are re-evaluating their working lives in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Commonly known as the ‘Great Resignation’, this growing movement of reflection continues to drive record numbers of workers to voluntarily head for the door and join a job market brim-full of labour shortages and rising unemployment.

Should I stay or go?

Many different inspirations can trigger the search for a new job. When compiled by the pressures of a global epidemic, permanent changes to working environments, or even a new appreciation for the ephemeral nature of life, it is no surprise to see so many people reassessing their situation.

Like most things, jobs have ups and downs and, while it is easy to get swept along in a sea of change, here are some thoughts to help you to decide whether it’s the right time to make a change, or not.

  • Know your purpose.

Whatever the catalyst for change, when working out the best way forward, the most important thing to do is to make sure you understand what it is that truly motivates you.

We spend more than half our waking life at work, so getting satisfaction should be the priority. If you aren’t happy then maybe it is time to weigh up your options.

  • Be honest with yourself.

Start by asking yourself questions along the lines of What are you good at? What are you passionate about? What do you like about your current job? What is important to you?

You need to work out what matters most in the long-term and, if you’re lucky enough to match this with your strengths, it should become a lot easier to figure out the direction to your goals.

  • People grow out of even the best jobs.

Sometimes you need a change or a new challenge to reinvigorate yourself, but before you begin to search, make sure you take time to think about your current role, your employer, and your prospects.

Does your company’s ambition match your own? Do you get on with your colleagues? What does your boss think of you? What do you think of your boss?

There’s a lot to be said for being appreciated and trusted in the workplace. If you feel empowered and have autonomy, you need to make sure that will remain if you decide to move on.

  • Work-life balance sometimes requires compromise.

Try to avoid making decisions based purely on money. While it always pays to be aware of your market value and the quality of your total package, sometimes you may have to compromise a little on some of the wider benefits like holiday entitlement, pension payments, or bonuses, if you want to positively affect your overall level of job satisfaction.

That’s not always the case, but key questions to consider should be whether you have flexibility at work? Are you supported when you need it? And what is your current work-life balance like?

  • Think long-term.

No job is completely perfect, so it’s important to think about the bigger picture. Consider the experience you’re gaining, the networks you’re exposed to, and the kudos you get from working where you do. This should all help you understand what to do next.

Is the grass always greener?

The grass is not always greener but if you’re not happy you need to make a change of some kind rather than live with regret.

The decision to move on comes down to knowing what you want and understanding what your employer can offer, so, don’t forget to speak to them and give them the chance to change things.

It could simply be that you’re stuck in a rut and it’s not as bad as it seems once you adopt a more positive approach but, whatever you decide, be confident and don’t be put off by the fear of change because the rewards from finding a job you love can be life-changing.

It is obvious that the world of work is changing but, in truth, it has been changing for some time.

Driven by continuous digital innovation, we have been witnessing a shift in workplace culture for many years. The speed and scale of this global pandemic has simply accelerated it beyond belief.

The way we work, the places we work in, and the skills we are going to need to be successful in business must all be reconsidered.

Homeworking is the new norm, with many people’s uncertainty around this as a serious long-term strategy superseded after seeing the productivity gains that can be made when people are encouraged to fully integrate their work and personal life.

The trust required to do this has been forced in many cases, but it is something that will be in high demand long after this crisis, which means employee engagement must also become a priority.

Employee engagement and productivity have always gone hand in hand, no matter where people work, and, with flexibility in high-demand, organisations must do all they can to help managers develop the skills they need to lead a dispersed team.

Whether through training or regular communication, it is important to get everyone involved as much as possible. You will also need to find a way to routinely monitor your team’s motivation and level of commitment if you want to retain them in the long-term.

Contrary to investing in people, the idea that machines are going to take all our jobs isn’t something new but does seem more prevalent than ever due to the complexity and constraints around people and space.

Big data, artificial intelligence, robotics, automation and global connectivity are just some of the solutions being fast-tracked by businesses, with advances in these fields offering the opportunity to transform the way they operate and make cost-effective productivity gains in the process. However, this does not have to have the knock-on effect of mass unemployment.

If we focus not only on the application of new digital improvements but also on how these advancements will affect jobs and talent in the workplace, it is possible to adapt working practices so that they help people to develop the skills they need to thrive alongside machines, rather than be replaced by them.

Most jobs consist of around 20 to 30 different kinds of activity and, while some may be easily replaced by technology, it’s unlikely that every aspect will be, so rather than be made obsolete, it could be that most jobs will simply change.

This means if you’re a business leader or manager, you have a responsibility to begin redesigning the way your company not only works with technology but the environment in which people operate and the way you recruit and manage talent.

How will your working models change when there is no longer a need for physical proximity to colleagues? Will you join the growing number of companies who are crowd-sourcing people with the skills they need for a particular contract? Perhaps you’ll utilise the more and more skilled people who are choosing to work as freelancers so they can pick and choose projects they are passionate about?

Whatever you do, it seems that, in the future, successful careers will most likely be built around learning and skills rather than specific jobs and, if that is the case, we will all need to be recruiting people who not only have the right attitude and outlook but who can also solve problems, lead well, communicate expertly and have excellent technological skills.

Emotional intelligence, empathy, curiosity and the understanding and creative application of what we can do with the information that computers create will also be critical to the new way of working, which is also going to mean companies have to operate in a nimble and agile way – thinking big, but acting small.

There can be any number of reasons to kick start a new job search but, whatever the trigger, the most important thing to do is to understand your motivation for change.

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