With the outbreak of Covid-19 there’s been a drastic increase in unemployment. Predictions suggest that the pandemic could lead to a loss of 3 million jobs in the US and, according to the United Nations, there could be a loss of almost 25 million jobs worldwide by summer.
Even for those who are still employed, the work environment has seen great changes as employees must work from home, some for the first time.
For those who are still currently employed in non-essential jobs one of two things might happen: Either you’ll continue to work remotely and must find a way to adapt to your new working conditions or you’ll soon be among the population filing for unemployment.
Whatever the situation, you need to be proactive about it. Here’ what you can do to adjust and cope with your new work status.
Right now, one of the most important things you can do is make sure you don’t intensify the effects of the virus. This means voiding situations that put you (and others) at risk.
Most states have already made it mandatory for all non-essential employees to work from home. Respect these mandates. And, if you haven’t yet been required to work from home, but your employer allows it, consider making the change now before it becomes compulsory.
You’ll be able to set your self up for success more easily and you’ll be helping to slow the curve of infections.
The good thing is, as more and more companies transition to work-from-home models, they’ll be able to take advantage of services like Zoom. Videoconferencing will soon be the norm, and you should prepare for this by ensuring you have access to the internet from home.
If your find yourself working remotely during the crisis, you need to embrace some best work-at-home practices. These will go a long way in keeping you sane and productive.
First things first, create a workspace and avoid the temptation to stay in bed or work from the sofa. Choose a good spot in your house where you can work while maintaining good posture and avoiding distractions. This is also an area where you want to leave your office work at the end of the day.
Remember to stick to your usual routine. Wake up early, take a shower, and get prepared for the day by making sure you have all the supplies and documents you need. This will help you mentally prepare for the day as you switch to a workday mindset.
It’s also a good idea to create a weekly or daily schedule that’ll enable you to maintain a life-work balance and avoid burnout.
It may seem like the perfect time to catch up on house chores but try as much as possible to avoid multitasking. Although it’s not wrong to take short breaks, don’t do anything you wouldn’t do while in the office.
Cut Your Budget
Unfortunately, we have no way of knowing how long this pandemic — and its effects on the economy — will last. That’s why it’s important that you create a workable budget, projecting into several weeks of uncertainty.
Start by reviewing your expenses and establishing how much you spend monthly. Consult your bank statements, financial files, and receipts to determine this figure. Then, look for expenses that you can avoid during the crisis.
For example, you won’t be dining out or grabbing drinks with friends. Although some of this money will be rerouted towards groceries, any extra can be put into your savings. The same goes for clothing purchases and standing appointments such as hair and nails.
Any non-essential spending should be put on hold so that money can be added to your savings, ensuring you have enough to cover essentials like rent, should you find yourself out of work or working on reduced hours.
Consider setting up auto drafts on your checking account for payment of bills and purchase of groceries. This could be once a week or every two weeks. With such a schedule, you’ll avoid potential pitfalls that lead to overspending.
Don’t forget about your stimulus check. Depending on your priorities and financial situation, that check should either go into a savings account or investment fund, or towards debt repayment.
File for Unemployment
If you do end up loosing your job or having your hours drastically cut as a result of Covid-19, you’ll need to file for unemployment. File your claim as soon as you lose your job or have your working hours significantly reduced.
With so many other people trying to file, you may experience issues, errors, or system crashes on the site. Be patient. You will be able to file your claim, it just might take a few attempts. If you’ve tried several times over the course of the day and still experience issues, you can always call the IRS directly through the telephone number provided on the unemployment help site.
Enhance your chances of completing the process in a timely manner by having all your documentation ready. This includes your employers ID number, your most recent W2, bank account information (if you plan on applying for direct deposit), and your social security number.
The good news is, with the new stimulus package, everyone eligible for unemployment benefits will receive an extra $600 a week from the federal government until July 2020. You may end up making more money than when you were employed full-time!
Remember: You’re Not Alone in This
All this may seem too much, but remember you’re not in it alone. A pandemic presents many complexities and has far-reaching effects on a better part of the population. Don’t take any of it personally, whether you lose your job or have your hours cut.
If the situation makes you feel frustrated or scared, reach out for help. Talk to family and friends. There are also online therapists available to those who need extra support.
And don’t forget, even with the economy transitioning to a work-from-home model, you can still look for a new job online. Here’s a great place to start. You may be surprised at the number of remote positions available.
About Ashley Lipman: Ashley is a content marketing specialist and award-winning writer. She is passionate about providing knowledge to readers worldwide on topics closest to her heart — all things digital.