Interview recorded in Early December 2020
ONS Data: More hours worked in the last quarter of 2020
The Office for National Statistics publishes the new data every month, and the most recent report (from November 2020) gives a bit of a mixed picture. It reports on record redundancies, and there is clearly a concern that redundancy levels are high, and they might continue to rise.
But it also reported that the number of hours worked had increased by a record 9.9%. That was about people putting in more hours when their companies reopened after the lockdown (2.0) and I think that is a very positive sign that business is starting to pick up again.
We saw activity continue into the Autumn, through November (even during the second lockdown), so I think that that is an indication of what we can expect going into the New Year – more hours worked, more jobs coming online, and hopefully we will be able to get people that have sadly and regrettably been made unemployed back into work quickly. That must be a goal for 2021.
Play Pooh-sticks to fast track your career! From James’ book ‘Life’s Work’
Here it is! ‘Life’s Work: 12 proven ways to fast track your career’. These are ideas that have come to me along the road, really, through experience. I put them in the book because they work!
This idea is playing Pooh-sticks – and it’s about, if you remember the story in Winnie the Pooh where you drop your stick in from one side of the bridge in a flowing stream, and you run to the other side to see whose stick comes out first. The idea here is if you are thinking of your career, and you are thinking forwards into the future, which areas have fast flowing water? Because if you drop yourself into those areas you’re likely to progress more quickly.
There are some obvious areas at the moment (www.keepbritainworking.com/job-information-in-your-area/) that are really busy, and those might be good places to start, because if you’re going to be a manager you don’t have to be the best manager in the world if you are in fast flowing water. The water will carry you along and you will still get to a good place. But if you go into a stagnant pool, you have to be a really really good manager to make any progress at all – so I think it is really important to think about that when you are thinking about your next career move.
Work from home trends …
Interesting how we have adapted so quickly to Working from Home (WFH), or those of us who have been able to, or asked to. I think for many people it works really well. But there are aspects of WFH that leave things to be desired, and one of those is not getting together as a team, and not developing and sharing ideas in a dynamic environment in the same way.
I think it is good to meet up and get together. So I would expect in the future a sort of hybrid model to emerge where people come into the office to convene, to meet, to share ideas. Perhaps then they go back to their own homes to do quite a lot of the work that the office meeting had generated.
So I think it depends also on what type of work you do. It is a big change, and a popular one for a lot of people, and I think it will have very substantial consequences – there is a new phenomenon called ‘Reverse Migration’ that has really begun. It is happening all around the world over the past year, where people are now leaving cities instead of going to them, and returning to the communities that they came from.
This ‘digital workplace’ that we now have, ‘dynamic working’, enables that – I think that will be a trend for the next few years.