Published September 24, 2020

How can I engage in professional development while working from home?

With many people working from home during the Covid-19 pandemic it’s no surprise that some have felt a little less stimulated when it comes to work and professional development. Homelife stressors such as childcare, pets and the lack of routine combined with the absence of colleagues can lead to a loss of passion for your job function. It is therefore important to maintain professional development and continue to learn while we continue to adapt to the new normal. However, even with all the best intentions, it can be hard to find the motivation to learn a new skill or virtually network with others while working from home. Here are a few tips to get you excited about professional development. 

Engage in self-evaluation

We all want to develop and learn new skills but sometimes knowing where to start can be half the battle, especially when you’re busy. Take some time to think about your professional strengths and weaknesses, the opportunities you would like to pursue in the next 12 months and, maybe most importantly, the skills and information you would like to learn. Identifying these aspects of your professional identity will help create an action plan for professional development. This can include the goals you would like to achieve, how you will go about achieving them and the time frame in which they can be achieved. Refer back to this plan regularly and note where you are on your development timeline.

Keep lines of communication open with your colleagues

Throughout lockdown we’ve all participated in Friday evening zoom quizzes that, let’s face it, we’d rather not be invited to and while this may seem like a fun way to keep in touch with your colleagues at home how beneficial is it really? That being said it is important to keep in contact with colleagues, not only from a social perspective but also from a professional development one. Learning from others is truly powerful and is something that may be neglected while we’re working from home. Suggest scheduling a virtual, informal coffee meeting (within the working day if possible) with your colleagues in which you can discuss what you’re all working on, what you’ve achieved so far this working week and your goals for the next. You can also use this opportunity to ask colleagues for feedback on your current projects and work together to solve any challenges you may be facing. 

Join a Virtual Roundtable or Webinar

A great way to engage in professional development and network with others while working from home is taking part in a Virtual Roundtable or Webinar. The discussions that arise on these platforms can be so rich in terms of the information that is shared as the dialogue is organic and participants will be experts in your industry. What could be better? Discussing industry topics and trends with like-minded individuals, learning about advances and news in your industry all for free from the comfort of your own home. You can see Inspired Business Media’s Virtual Roundtables calendar and register your interest for upcoming events here.

Make time to listen to podcasts that are related to your industry

Without a commute, many of us have an extra hour or so on our hands and while it’s easy to just have an extra hour in bed or slump onto the sofa to watch Netflix straight after work making use of this time could prove rewarding. Simply listening to a podcast or watching a Ted Talk that discusses your industry allows you to expose yourself to material that could help you grow professionally. Whether it’s listening to a podcast while getting ready for the day or trading and episode of the latest series for an interesting talk, these additions to your daily routine will only benefit your working day and professional development.

Enrol on a free online course or workshop

There is a breadth of online courses available that are suitable for almost any industry and job role. Many of them are free, can be completed at your own pace and provide certification on completion. From graphic design and marketing to money and business there is a course out there that will benefit you professionally and maybe even open doors for you in the future.

A great way to decide what kind of course or workshop you’d like to complete is to benchmark your role within the job market. Research the adverts and job specifications for roles that are similar to yours and see what hard and soft skills employers are looking for. 

Committing to professional development can seem time-consuming, especially under current circumstances, however, these simple tips will help you kick start your learning journey from home and reignite your passion for your role. 

Miriam Collett

Media Communications Executive

Inspired Business Media