Is it time to redesign your career?

For many of us in employment, particularly those of us who work in offices, the past few months of lockdown have meant that we have needed to work from home. This has brought about change on a number of levels for employers and employees alike.

The way we now work has been an eye-opener for many employers. Whereas in the past, they may have rejected requests from employees for a flexible working week, saying that ‘it won’t work’, they have now realised that working from home can actually work – and work rather well!

There are many positives to ‘WFH’ – you can be more productive as you are less tired because the time you spent commuting has vanished. Your office can be anywhere (including the garden on sunny days); you can wear what you like; you save money on all those takeaway sandwiches and coffees. You also have more time to live your life.

As lockdown measures loosen, albeit tentatively, we return to ‘a new normality’, whatever shape or size or form that takes on, there is an opportunity, I believe, to really look at redesigning your career, your work life. Your whole life.

Change is great. However, when change is thrust upon us, it can sometimes feel really scary. Suddenly we’re faced with something that we actually have to act upon – instantly. Something we have to deal with in order to survive. In these unprecedented times, this has been the case for all of us – employers and employees alike. However, without wishing to minimise the size of this particular situation, once this bump in the road has been navigated and the necessary change implemented, the revelation that things can be done differently, and more effectively and efficiently can quite often be remarkable.

All too often we get caught up in the rut of routine – the easy path, the one where we don’t have to think. However, that path lessens our growth. We get nudges along the way that indicate that we need to change, to move on, do things differently, and when we don’t, bigger things like redundancy can happen to force our arm. This year, we were all shaken up by Covid-19. And, at the time of writing, we are still navigating our way through to the other side.

Returning to my point about change – when change is thrust upon us, all too often we become enlightened. We open our eyes, we see things differently, we feel lighter as what has weighted us down previously lifts, and we see that things now work far better than they did before.

Clearly, this pandemic has been bigger than most of us would ever have envisaged in our lifetimes, and certainly not something that we want to go through again. It would take more than a short blog post to really discuss from all angles why it has occurred. But hey, it’s happened, let’s embrace it, and take the positives from this unique situation that none of us could have predicted happening last year.

Employers are now aware that many of us can work successfully from home. We’ve been empowered – responsibility for the self, decision making, and autonomy have been returned. We have been encouraged to become more self-motivated, more driven. For many, this has involved embracing new technologies, which may have been resisted previously. We’ve learned so many new ways of working and living during this time thanks, in large part, to what is available online.

Over the last 11 years, since becoming self-employed, I’ve created my own work from home life, and I navigate things as necessary to meet the deadlines set by myself and my clients. I can work into the evenings and weekends, and take time out during the week as I wish. Yes, I probably work a lot of hours, but to me it’s what I love doing so invariably it’s not work. I have designed, and redesigned, my career – I have manifested my dream job! And it’s still a work in progress.


What’s stopping you from redesigning your career / life right now?

Are you able to redesign your career so that it works for you and gives you more purpose and enables you to be more productive?

If you are employed, your employer will be able to get more out of you. And for those employers who may be reading this, how much more work will you gain in return by empowering your staff and working with them rather than against them?

Change is good! We live in a time whereby change is constant. Every day is different.

As mentioned earlier, employees can become more productive when they don’t have to spend time travelling to and from their workplace. The commute I used to do was painful – 45 minutes to an hour for a 15-minute journey. Crazy. So much wasted time spent in traffic, and don’t get me started on the air and pollution!

During the last 11 years, there have been periods when I have had to work in the city centre, but I’ve always travelled outside of the key commuter hours. Is that something, for example, that you can do instead – if you do have to travel to your workplace?

As we navigate our way back towards some sort of normal, are you able to redesign your current role and create permanent new ways of working that suit you? How can you approach your employer?

Solution-focused outcome thinking is a great way of working. Try approaching your employer with a solution whereby they benefit, for example, if you prefer an early start / finish, but up until now your hours have been a set 9 to 5 and the company you work for often gets calls/business coming in early that aren’t handled until staff arrive, you could outline how much work you would be able to handle if you were able to start an hour earlier – before the interruptions of the day begin – and in doing so provide a better level of service to your existing client base and potentially pick up business that might otherwise have been lost.

So think how you can ‘sell’ your offer to your employer whereby you both win. And if they won’t embrace your suggestion, maybe it’s time to take your experience elsewhere?

Personally, I’m bringing my external office back home to cut costs, as my current office is a luxury rather than a necessity. This is an exciting change for me. When you bring about change, it doesn’t mean you failed, it means you’ve tried something, the situation has changed, you do things differently and you move on – you progress.

These days, you can do almost everything using a computer – aside from the obvious, such as construction work, manufacturing, gardening etc. For those of us whose work is done at a desk with a computer, it has become more apparent that the work can be done, in many cases, from home. The current times we live in have revealed that things can be done differently.

 Over to you!

  • How can you make your role work for you, office based or not?
  • How would you redesign your work life right now?
  • What would work for you?
  • How could you approach your employer with a solution that would enable them to get the best out of you?
  • Have you been able to design or redesign your role?
  • What parts of your role do you want to keep?
  • What could you drop?
  • Who in the organisation might love the work you hate? What can you do that they dislike?

My Office Manager / PA and I love completely different elements of the work that needs doing in the office. I love communicating and talking to people, whereas she is brilliant at all the detail, the admin, the techy bits – which I can’t bear! It’s a perfect distribution of responsibilities and tasks. We make a good team, blending our skills and expertise.

Take time to think how you have the opportunity right now to potentially redesign your role so that both you and your employer get the best out of each other. Or maybe completely redesign it and change career, or even become self-employed!

There are always different options, different ideas, different perspectives and different ways of doing things, so how will you work differently moving forwards?

So, will you redesign your job?