The F Word – making Furlough, work for you!

“Life is growth. If we stop growing, technically and spiritually, we are as good as dead.” – Morihei Ueshiba

As state after state, country after country closes all but essential businesses, many companies are laying off and furloughing employees. Furloughs differ from layoffs in that a furlough is a temporary, unpaid leave and a layoff is a full separation from your former employer. Furloughs can be better for employees. Furloughs help employers’ weather a financial storm by reducing their labour cost without adding the costs involved in severance packages. They allow the employer to save jobs and more quickly become competitive again by rehiring furloughed employees once the economy improves.

On a furlough, you are an employee, however, one without work, and thus without pay unless your employer’s policies result in you receiving pay for accrued paid time off. Your employer may have taken your cell because they implemented a zero-tolerance No Work Rule, which prohibits furloughed employees from doing any work.

All of this, of course, shakes you to the core, and you have the right to know how your employer expects the next several weeks to play out. Your employer may be in free fall and not have many answers. But this is the time where you can develop yourself, explore new hobbies and interests as well as relax.


1. Spend Time with your Family.

One of the biggest complaints, working people have is their inability to find work-life balance. Well now is the time to spend quality time with your family (even if it is for no other reason than you have nothing else better to do). When your kids flee the nest or your parents pass away, you will regret having not spent more time with them. Money truly is nothing compared in importance to your family.


2. Follow up with neglected friends and extended family.

There is undoubtedly a long-lost friend or extended family member you have not contacted for at least a year because life gets in the way. Our suggestion is to make a list of three people whom you used to have great relationships with and reach out. Use this time to catch up via video call or chatting platforms and get reacquainted.

Happiness is all about having that good network of people you trust and whose company you enjoy. If you want to invest in your happiness, then work on building your relationships.


3. Start the side business you have been putting off forever.

A furlough is a good reminder of how dangerous it is to depend on only one source of income during this time of uncertainty. The key to financial security is to generate as many income streams as possible so that if one goes down, your team of other income sources can keep you afloat.

According to research, the average financially independent person has at least five different sources of income. Meanwhile, no one income source accounts for more than forty per cent of their entire income. It is always beneficial and important to build new sources of active and passive income to truly be financially independent and free.


4. Work on your skill development and look for a new job

Change the ‘Furlough time’ to ‘Favorable time’. Use this time to invest in yourself. Follow the passion you gave up for that 9 to 5 corporate life. With so many free online courses to choose from, develop those skills that are lying dormant within you and use them to improve yourself and to stand out from other candidates.

Furlough of any kind means there is a serious dysfunction and that your company is going through serious financial difficulties. Be pro-active and aggressively start looking for new work opportunities, even if those are part-time jobs. Getting ahead of the curve will likely increase your chances of finding new work and more job choices.


5. Pretend you have retired early.

If you are feeling great during the furlough, then you just might be closer to retirement than you realize. If this is how you feel, then just sit back, and relax. This furlough was just meant to be an eye-opener for you.


Either way, ground yourself by doing productive work. If you work on yourself, you will probably never be laid off, furloughed or fired next time.


ABL Recruitment team