Blog Img
Back to blogs

Locked Down and Upskilled

insights 6 min

While the Covid-19 pandemic has underlined the importance of a good work-life balance, with many feeling the impacts of working from home during an unprecedented time, it has also highlighted how skills developed can actually be translated into the workplace, helping to upskill us for the future.

The vast majority of workers faced drastic changes to their working lives, with many having to adjust to working from home full-time. However, this has resulted in workers saving on their daily commute. On average, UK workers save 57 minutes on travelling to and from the office each day, while US workers save an average of 54.2 minutes. Meanwhile, in the Asia Pacific, commute times vary rapidly by city, but it’s Tokyo workers that come out on top with an hour and 42 minutes saved.

Concentrate on skills

Life in isolation and periods of lockdown has been different for everyone. And while not applicable to all for various reasons, many used this new-found time to devote themselves to a hobby – whether that’s learning a new language, trying to hustle for that muscle, or rediscovering a childhood love of painting.

From learning new skills to flexing your artistic license, some individuals fully immersed into a new hobby as a way of prioritizing wellbeing and making the most of the downtime. Such developments are not just a way to pass the time, they have impacted and affected who we are, and also offer the opportunity to develop new skills – skills that are likely to be essential in the post-pandemic workplace or can be equally beneficial in an interview.

A productive use of time

Not only can lockdown hobbies help with personal growth, but they can also highlight the type of attributes an individual already has. Pastimes such as drawing or knitting require a level of creativity, which can help develop problem-solving skills and the ability to think outside the box.

While activities such as running virtual book clubs or weekly Zoom quizzes with friends often involve a great deal of online communication and organization. For those that choose more flexible working opportunities, these skills honed during the pandemic are again useful at arranging virtual catch up and calendars.

Demonstrating how lockdown experiences helped you find a new level of clarity; whether that is personally developing, changing direction in your respective career, or seeking a new adventure is powerful. So, let’s delve deeper into the most popular hobbies that resurfaced during periods of lockdown and discover how they could be converted into key skills.

Transferring lockdown hobbies into essential skills


It is crucial to point out that not everyone was able to devote their free time to personal growth in the pandemic. During periods of self-isolation, you didn’t have to write a book, become an entrepreneur, or undertake a marathon in productivity. Many have discovered a renewed strength in personal reflection and wellness, dedicating this time to self-care regimes or pursuing the path to self-discovery. Developing a fully enriched understanding of yourself; whether that’s setting expectations, engaging within your local community, or connecting with loved ones is an incredibly beneficial experience that may simultaneously translate into self-awareness skills.

Life in lockdown could have sparked a push to go beyond your comfort zone and establish boundaries with the nearest and dearest, your current employer, or yourself. In many ways, quarantine may have also offered a welcomed opportunity for personal growth; perhaps limiting your screen time, slowing down, and stepping back, or confidently learning how to say ‘no’. Sharing your self-isolation stories in an interview is not only compelling, but it elucidates a growth mindset – a mindset that is highly desirable within the workplace.

Experiences of empathy

It’s important to remember that mental well-being, as much as our physical, must come first. Some spent quarantine caring for a family member, shielding or grappling with health issues themselves. These simple acts of compassion and empathy not only regulate emotions, help us identify with our sense of self, and build meaningful interactions, but they are important virtues that can also be leveraged in showcasing your soft-skills in a future interview.

To put it simply, empathy incites innovation, extends thinking, and broadens your horizons. By understanding an unfamiliar point of view and thinking outside the box, this demonstrates an ability to problem-solve under the pressure of an interview. Empathy also facilitates cooperation; a key ingredient that can hold a team together, increase decision-making, and ultimately enhance business growth.

Articulating empathetic experiences and narratives of personal growth during an interview is likely to provide hiring managers with a glimpse into your personality. What’s more, by recognizing and addressing self-isolation activities, not only can you demonstrate an acute awareness of reality, but this telling insight may help build authentic connections with prospective employers.

A focus on fitness

Many recouped their commute time to pack in a good stretch or set healthy boundaries by walking regularly. Whether you are training for a charity run, improving flexibility, or looking to maintain your physical wellbeing, the sanctioned daily exercise offered a chance to discover a new-found hobby.

Although it might not seem straightforward as popping to the gym, many took great strides to exercise at home. The pandemic brought with it a shift to virtual connectivity, which resulted in a surge of training sessions available on social media platforms and fitness apps. From apps like Glo, which provide unlimited access to Yoga, Pilates, and Meditation classes, to an abundance of home workout routines available on YouTube or streamed on Instagram Live, some made a concerted effort to prioritize physical health during lockdown.

Inhale attributes, exhale personal growth

Physical activity contributes to an overall sense of wellbeing, but what virtues can be gained by being active? Resilience and determination are an important attribute, not only in exercise, but within the workplace. Physical activity is an impressive vehicle for showcasing resilience. Exercise is not always triumphant – an ability to adapt and bounce back in the face of difficulty demonstrates a strong aptitude of character which is desirable to prospective employers.

Patience is a virtue, slow and steady wins. Turning up for socially distanced exercises or virtual sessions, week in and week out, demonstrates a strong sense of perseverance. At the beginning of a new endeavor, motivation remains high and adrenaline fuels activity. Bymlearning from mistakes and persisting with countless obstacles, this virtue highlights confidence in your capabilities and problem-solving skills. A sense of patience and trust in the fitness process lends itself strongly to success in an interview. The ability to stay aligned with your vision and focused on long-term goals will make you stand out to future employers.

Fitness and interview finesse

Are you prepared to answer questions relating to what you achieved when self-isolating? Recruiters and hiring managers may pose interview questions related to the global health crisis; so, navigating each covid specific question and preparing answers can help you nail that first impression. By asking tricky questions, employers often want to see if you can handle the heat, and whether your attributes bring value to the company, so preparation beforehand is key.

With many companies still conducting interviews online, it is a necessity to be well rehearsed with the various video conferencing formats prior to an interview. Instead of searching for the location or calming your nerves outside the office, virtual interviews will require you to cross-check internet connectivity and test that the video and audio functionalities are working efficiently. It is also important to accustom yourself with the layout of each video-conferencing app to avoid flustered moments if you are told to ‘turn your video on’ or ‘unmute yourself’.

The pursuit of knowledge

Many have taken the opportunity to dust off the shelves, open schoolbooks, and fine tune their foreign language skills. Whether you are learning from scratch or sharpening up on a second language, learning a language doesn’t have to be costly, thanks to an abundance of online resources and learning platform apps.

Although it might not be as interactive and structured as classes in a foreign language school, learning apps such as Babbel and Duolingo have made mastering a language entertaining and fulfilling. Babbel has expertly crafted courses with over 14 languages to choose from to help everyone from beginners to those looking to brush up on their skills. Duolingo is a popular language-learning platform that engages through exercises, multiple-choice questions, and flashcards to help you talk with confidence.

Educating yourself on a new language doesn’t have to be centered on apps and studying practices. YouTube, Netflix, and Audiobooks on Audible have an endless supply of learning material that is available at your fingertips. Virtual learning is available on a vast array of YouTube channels and Netflix has a Chrome extension that allows two language subtitles to appear at once while binge watching your favorite series.

Language learning

Learning a language is a wonderful skill to acquire. Not only is it beneficial for all ages and demographics, but it provides opportunities to travel, meet new people, accelerate brain power, and advance career prospects.

Foreign language learning is a muscle – it’s developed naturally through consistent exercise and training. Whilst its highly admirable to pursue self-improvement, it is also imperative to take time to nurture your mental well-being; thus reducing efforts of language learning, if necessary, is perfectly acceptable.

Did you know that learning a language sharpens mental abilities which can also prove useful in the workplace? It improves memory, sharpens the mind, and stimulates cognitive processes of learning, to name a few. Switching between languages in writing, speaking, and processing information often requires demanding work for the brain when juggling tasks. Those who have the ability to navigate back and forth into different language systems can often become better multi-taskers and concisely manage workflow.

What’s more, mastering the mechanisms of a new language can enhance decision-making. Regardless of the vocabulary, grammar, and extensive rules that go hand in hand with language learning, thinking in a foreign language helps place more emphasis on tangible outcomes, which leads to coherent and diligent decision-making.

Whether you’re a professional actively seeking a new opportunity or you’re a client looking to find industry-leading talent, we have got you covered. Have a confidential discussion with one of our talent specialists today. Contact us.