Furloughs, whether involuntary or voluntary, can cause stress and anxiety, especially when they are long term. Furloughs can happen for several reasons; it may be due to financial issues experienced by the company or the economy as a whole. If a furlough has already happened or you are preparing for one, it is important to be prepared, as your life will change, even if it is only a short-term arrangement. These are some ways to make the most of a furlough.

Stick to Routine

When you are employed, you become used to a set routine. In the midst of a furlough, you can become completely lost with how to fill up your time and this can easily lead to depression. Many people end up staying up late and sleeping late in the morning, as they don't have anything specific they need to do. This is a bad routine to get into, especially for starting back in your job or a new one. It is important to keep yourself in a routine and plan your day. You can make the most of the furlough by embracing activities you didn't have the time to do, such as exercising and visiting friends. The more occupied you are, the less likely you will be to become stressed and unhappy.

Financial Planning

It is important to carefully plan your finances during a furlough, as your income will be lower than that you have become accustomed to. You should always make sure you are able to pay the necessary bills, such as rent/mortgage and this may mean you need to cut back on other expenses. If you can budget during the furlough, you are less likely to find yourself suffering financial difficulties.

Network

It is quite often the case that you might not know exactly how long the furlough will last, so it is a good idea to find new opportunities for employment. At this time, you may want to widen your network and make contacts who might be able to help you secure work. LinkedIn is a good platform for building connections and you can target specific individuals, such as recruiters or hiring managers. The more connections you have, the easier it will be to secure further employment.

Develop Skills

A furlough is an ideal opportunity to develop your skills and broaden your experience. Any prospective employers will want to know what you did during the furlough and it is important that you can explain this in a positive way. There are many opportunities to work in voluntary roles, which might allow you to acquire skills in other areas. You may also want to consider training courses, where you can develop your skills. This is the ideal opportunity to do things you would never have considered before, so always make sure you use your time wisely. You can choose to view the furlough in a positive or negative way, but looking at it negatively will not do anything for your state of mind.