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Published on Friday, May 1, 2020

How to manage Covid-19 redundancy - from someone who knows

Tom Bell was recently made redundant as director of sales UK and Ireland at G Adventures as a result of the Covid-19 crisis. The former regional manager of Bedsonline shares his 10-step action plan for travel colleagues who find themselves in the same position.

1. Ask your employer to furlough you
If you've not been offered furlough, challenge this decision. Anyone on the payroll on March 19 (extended from the original date of February 28) is eligible, as long as your employer agrees to put you on the scheme. If so, you'll receive 80% of your wage up to £2,500. It currently runs from March to June (although it could be extended until July or further). Even if you recently left the business, your ex-employer can still re-hire you on this scheme. Wages are funded by the Government through PAYE, so the cost for the employer is minimal.  Admin costs and annual leave accrual are the only cost to their business, and you might be able to agree to not accrue any annual leave during the period you are furloughed if that's a deal breaker. The scheme opened on April 20 and your employer should get the money within six working days of their application. So, if you fit the criteria, there's no good reason why employers shouldn't offer it. They can also top up your wages by an extra 20% if they choose to.

2. Defer payments
Many utilities and other companies are being really supportive during this time and offering deferral options, payment holidays or reduced rates. Mortgage companies are generally offering at least a three-month deferral, council tax can be deferred by two months, utility bill companies are lowering rates, car lease companies and loan companies are also allowing deferrals. Don't be afraid to call each one and ask what their policy is for those affected by Covid-19. You'll be surprised by what they are offering people who are affected.

3. Review your expenditure
Sounds a simple one but we don't know how long this will last. Use this time wisely and review all your direct debits. I immediately saved £300 a month by cutting direct debits that are luxuries and not necessary during these times (or ever again, maybe).

4. Swallow your pride
I've read stories about ex-pilots doing delivery rounds, directors stacking shelves in supermarkets and more. Swallow your pride and just look at the income during this time. I have no doubt that when this is over employers recruiting won't criticise candidates for doing these roles but instead applaud them for their initiative and their work ethic. Be prepared at your next interview to be asked: "How did you manage through the lockdown?" I'm sure it will be a common question.

5. Be open and reach out

I put a post on LinkedIn explaining that I'd lost my job due to Covid-19 and the post was viewed over 36,000 times with many comments and shares.  This led to many people contacting me and offering support and advice. I've spoken to numerous potential employers following this post. During these times, you really see the best (and sometimes worst!) in people and I've experienced some great responses and support that I'm truly grateful for.

6. Be proactive
It's a difficult climate for sure but send your CV to every recruiter you know. Follow that up and ask for a phone call so they know exactly who you are and what you're looking for. A lot of recruitment companies are still working! Get in contact with business owners, HR directors and anyone else who is a decision-maker in businesses. It's easy to find these people on LinkedIn. Even if they don't have positions available now, they might refer you or at least contact you when something does come up. Don't be afraid to be knocked back, as many companies have frozen their recruitment but there are definitely jobs still out there.

7. Review and update your CV and cover letter
Both are vital to getting an interview. Think about how many jobs are out there right now and how many people are after them. You need to stand out from the crowd. There are loads of resources online and companies that charge a minimal cost to make your CV really eye-catching. Shout about your successes. Don't waffle!

8. Keep learning
Use this time wisely. There are some great online courses. LinkedIn Learning courses are free for a month (remember to cancel afterwards, otherwise you'll be charged) and are useful tools to gain more knowledge.

9. Speak to people in the same boat as you
Reach out to those who are also affected and offer support and advice. Who knows, they could offer an insight to you that you hadn't thought about or put you in contact with someone. I've had calls with people who I don't actually know that well, but it's been great to speak to them and share stories, insights and contacts. I feel I have more and closer connections now than ever. Even if it's just to have someone to share your story, then it's worthwhile.

10. Make the most of family and 'me' time
What a great time this is to spend time with your family, try new recipes, do more exercise, read more books or whatever floats your boat. Think about those things you've not had time to do, such as painting the house, clearing out the garage etc. Make the most of technology. There are so many programmes like Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, HouseParty and Microsoft Teams now to speak to family and friends. Maybe arrange and organise a bingo, quiz or games night or even a virtual pub session with them. Spending time with your loved ones and keeping busy during this time is great for your mental health and that sense of accomplishment once you've done something new or completed a project is a real boost.

Tom is offering his support and guidance to anyone in a similar position. Contact Tom at:

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