How COVID-19 is changing the way Kiwis work

For many Kiwis, COVID-19 has turned working life upside down. Jobs have been lost, working hours have been cut and the commute to work may have become a short trip from one room of the home to another. But as New Zealand’s lockdown restrictions continue to ease, new employment trends are emerging. What do they mean for you? Here’s a look at what’s happening in the job market and what it means for you and your next job search.


Hello home office

New research conducted for SEEK by Nature reveals how COVID-19 is impacting peoples in their working lives and beyond. It shows that 47% of Kiwis are now working from home, and this figure rises to 3 in 4 white collar workers.

Will the trend continue in the post-COVID-19 world? Most Kiwis hope so. Almost 70% agree that working from home should be a more common practice in workplaces, especially those who believe they work more efficiently at home.

If you’ve been struggling to maintain your focus while working at home, it could be helpful to read up on smart ways to structure your day, such as maintaining a routine and keeping in contact with your colleagues. You could also check out 5 ways to make working from home better, and a round-up of the best tech tools to help you work remotely.


Prioritising mental health

Mental health has been a concern for Kiwis during the pandemic. One in four feel they’re lonelier than ever and almost 34% agree that they feel nervous or uncertain about their job security.

SEEK’s Resident Psychologist Sabina Read says the current sense of uncertainty is bound to take a toll on mental health. It may be reassuring to know that if you’re feeling anxious or stressed at the moment, you’re not alone.

“Humans like to fill uncertainty with predictability and solutions and understanding,” she says. “But, at a time like this, no one can join the dots with 100 per cent certainty, because there’s just so much that we don’t know.

“Anxiety correlates with uncertainty,” adds Read, “In addition to anxiety, many of us are now dealing with the agitation of being locked in the house with kids or a partner, and this has a secondary effect on our mental health.”

The line between work and home may also be blurred if you’re required to work remotely, which can add to your stress, so it’s important to look for ways to improve your work-life balance.

If you think your stress or anxiety could be because you’re worried about losing your job, there are things you can do to cope– such as focusing on what you can control, and even setting aside time to worry. You can find more advice on dealing with job loss here.


Regaining a sense of control

The pandemic triggered an abrupt change for all New Zealanders, so it’s natural that we are feeling less in control of our working lives now than we were at the start of the year.

In January, 51% of Kiwis felt in control of their working lives compared to mid-April, when the figure was just 35%.

One way to regain a sense of control is to focus on what you have to offer your next employer. Take time to refresh your resume and highlight your transferable skills and experience. You could also consider building your skills and gaining a greater sense of control by volunteering.

Now is also the time to update your SEEK profile – it’s a popular way for employers to look for new employees, and the more relevant information you include about yourself, the better your chances of standing out.


Standing out from the competition

Despite the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, positive signs are appearing on the horizon. Optimism about future employment among Kiwis reached an all-time low in late March at 59% but has started to bounce back in mid-April to 62%.

At the same time, 40% of people agreed overall that there were not enough jobs to go around.Competition may be a little tougher in the current market, so be sure to give yourself the best opportuntiy to stand out in a crowded market. What examples can you show to back up your skills and experience? What’s the unique selling point that makes you the best person for the job? Have you prepared insightful questions for your interview?

Applying for your next job can feel overwhelming, especially if your confidence has taken a knock with all that’s happened lately. This 7-step job application checklist can help to prepare your application and make a positive impression.

Source: Independent research conducted by Nature on behalf of SEEK. Interviewing 4000 Kiwis annually.