Using your valuable free time to learn something new

If we asked you to keep a record of all the things you do during your busy day-to-day lives, we’re pretty sure that learning new skills isn’t on that ever-growing list. For many of us a 9-5 job takes up the majority of our precious time.

As adults, we’re faced with extremely hectic lifestyles, squeezing in the occasional hour for ourselves around full time employment. Our weeks can be full to the brim of routine, activities and chores, making learning new skills or trying something different the last thing we think about. However, if you do make it through your daily routine and find that you have some valuable spare time, we’d highly recommend using those moments to work on your own self-development.

With that in mind, we spoke to a selection of industry leaders, who pride themselves on motivating people to acquire new skills regardless of their age, lifestyle or job role, and compiled their thoughts and reasons why continually learning benefits us on both a personal and professional level – highlighting that learning something new should be on the top of your priority list when away from the office.

In a recent blog post of ours, we established the benefits of stepping outside your comfort zone and flexing those mental muscles thus contributing towards our own personal development.

However, James Lloyd-Townshend, CEO at Mason Frank International explains how up-skilling is imperative for professional development too, impacting both our pockets and our credentials:

“Up-skilling should always be something you consider. As well as learning a new tool, software, or language, it also adds more credibility and credentials to your name, which could be used as grounds for a salary increase or even a move to a different job.

In our 2018 Salesforce salary survey, we found that 29% of respondents reported an increase in salary after becoming certified. Demonstrating a tangible level of expertise that sets you above your colleagues, making career progression a lot easier, as you’re already floating at the top of the talent pool.”

Keir Wright – Whyte, Director at accountancy firm, Accounts and Legal, echoes this notion here he comments on the importance of having a little extra on your CV, helping you cut through the applications of other candidates:

“When you have over 150 CVs to screen, employers are looking for a little bit more than just professional qualifications. A good CV needs an interesting narrative and those things you do with your evenings and weekends undoubtedly help create the impression of someone interesting to work with.”

If you’re seeking a change in career or looking for the next step on the career ladder then acquiring credentials whilst outside of the workplace is a great way to set you apart from the crowd.

As well as being too busy with your current role, another reason, which may deter us from seeking new opportunities to broaden our knowledge and understanding, is that the skill we’re choosing to learn may differ from our current job requirements. There may be worries that employers will see this as off putting.

We asked a selection of employers whether this is the case and the majority of employers would be delighted to hear their workforce are looking to grow their own skill set away from the office. Understanding the importance for our own personal development and fulfilment:

Keir continues:

“We can now all accept that the notion of your career being a journey from A to B, working in one industry or even for one employer, is now dead and employees are going to leave at some point and you have to accept that.

 The focus should be on ensuring that you can provide an environment where employees can take as many of steps between A to Z as possible and allow them to grow and try new roles, allowing this has huge potential benefits for both them and our business, helping us keep a strong emphasis on personal relationships.”

Tony Cosgrove, Director at Masgroves, leading communication specialists, raises the point that employers should celebrate those looking to grow their careers as a way to motivate others to do the same:

Very few people want to be the only person doing something; we like to go with the crowd. That’s why creating norms, the ‘informal rules’ guiding our behaviour at work and at home, is one of the answers to motivating employees to learn outside of work. 

Great communication can show how more and more people are bringing skills they learn outside of work into the workplace. This makes it more likely to happen again and again. 

Employers should celebrate volunteering and the difference it makes, they should show how people are using their new skills to grow their careers and be successful and they should support people who want to learn outside the workplace.”

We hope this round up has left you feeling motivated to continue learning outside of the 9-5, without the boss questioning your choices. The only question for you is – what will you learn?

Learning a second language can be a great way to expand your CV and earn professional credentials. Being fluent in multiple languages will help to open doors and as an adult, it’s a lot easier than you think – in some ways older students have an advantage over younger students! Read about the benefits of language learning for older students here.

If you are inspired, please don’t hesitate to get in touch via email