The COVID pandemic and events of 2020 have required everyone to adapt and change throughout the workplace in just about every industry you can imagine. But change does not have to be a negative, and can be a catalyst creating opportunities to find improvements and drive forward positive transformation. 

Here are some of the key skills to help people succeed in this new time of uncertainty. 

1. Adapting to change

An ability to accept and adapt to change is essential, change has always been inevitable but more than ever before, those who can think quickly and embrace the new normal (at every phase) are those who succeed. Employers are increasingly looking for people who can move out of their comfort zone and see change as an opportunity for growth and innovation.

Through the pandemic, you’ve likely faced and overcome new challenges that you didn’t foresee. So, although this may have felt difficult and uncomfortable at times, you will have been building up your resilience, adaptability and ability to deal with change in the process.

You should take time to acknowledge how your mindset may have shifted in recent weeks and months. If you’ve noticed that you’ve managed to adapt to the changes quickly, it’s likely that you will have done so using a growth mindset, which is a great attribute to highlight in interviews with employers. 

2. Creative problem solving

With a rapidly changing world of work comes the demand for people who are quick to adapt and solve problems efficiently and effectively. As leaders involve their teams in problem-solving discussions, they are looking for professionals who can come up with creative ideas and solutions to ensure deadlines are met and results achieved, despite limited or perhaps strained resources.

Chartered occupational psychologist Dr Maggi Evans explains some ways to help yourself to get your creative problem solving juices flowing;

  • Giving yourself some space; many people come up with their best ideas when they’re doing something unrelated, such as walking their dog
  • Be curious and playful; take fresh perspectives on a problem by asking yourself questions like, ‘What would my superhero do?’, ‘What if I had more time or limitless resources’, or ‘What if I had to find a solution today?’
  • Create a positive environment; if you’re working with a team on a challenging project, spend some time chatting or doing something positive first

3. Enthusiasm

People from all backgrounds and seniority levels will likely be feeling the pressure at the moment, from tough decision making to lingering uncertainty, by embracing the best and being enthusiastic to adapt, compromise, support and even upskill, you can set yourself apart. Your positivity and enthusiasm can be contagious and may just help set the tone for your team or be the positive kickstart someone needs to their day. 

Furthermore, we now live in a world where everything can change almost overnight, and with this change comes demand for different skills. As a result, upskilling should have moved up your priority list. By devoting time now to upskilling and learning, you will be demonstrating to future potential employers your willingness to learn through how you used this time to better yourself and grow your knowledge base.

Regardless of the industry, a willingness to learn and a desire to stay on top of current trends and changes relevant to your profession is valued by employers both large and small. Showing that you are willing to learn is key to learning about and understanding any new developments from a technical point of view, ultimately helping your organisation to progress. 

4. Effective communication

These above-mentioned skills are all well and good but get lost if you’re not able to communicate and demonstrate them successfully to others, such as a potential employer in a job interview.

For example, stating that you are adaptable to change isn’t enough; you need to use your strong communication skills to illustrate just how adaptable you are, perhaps by providing examples. After all, employers favour jobseekers who possess exceptional communication skills and are comfortable speaking with people at all levels of an organisation in a professional manner.

It’s worth acknowledging, too, that communication has now changed substantially and as we transition to a hybrid working world – with team members split between home-working and office-working – strong interpersonal and communication skills are only going to become more important as we learn and adapt to building and maintaining relationships, collaborating and sustaining productivity virtually rather than in person.

Video calls, virtual conferences and online presentations also require new levels of self-confidence you might not currently possess, but will be able to develop in time.

Are you looking to take the next step in your career?

Advance TRS are growing quickly and we are always looking for ambitious, driven people to join the team. If you are interested to find out more about our current opportunities, visit our website or for a discrete conversation, contact Paul Metcalfe, Advance TRS CEO on 07793 554 413 or email

The last few months have seen a lot of change. If you have found yourself looking for a new opportunity in the post-COVID world, here are some job search tips!

Engage a specialist recruiter

Good recruiters will have a comprehensive understanding of your market and current opportunities. Engaging recruiters is a quick way of tapping into this knowledge to help you in your search. They can proactively represent you! Even better, they already have a relationship with the hiring managers and can guide you through the process, from interviews and salary negotiation through to offer and onboarding.

Update your CV

It is very important to get your CV right as it is often the first impression potential employers have of you. Make sure you have a clean and clear layout and TRIPLE check your spelling and grammar. Get someone else to check it over for you as well. Highlight your key relevant experiences, education and certifications. Include all the details in your last 3 jobs, as this is likely to be how far your potential employer or a recruiter looks. Make sure your CV doesn’t go over 2 pages if possible!

You can find example CV’s and CV templates here.

Read our CV writing tips here.

Update your online CV

Your social media profile can act as a virtual CV, it’s there 24/7 as your own personal advert to the job market. The sites you need to create or update are your LinkedIn Profile and your chosen Joboard accounts.

Create a LinkedIn profile or update your existing profile by detailing your relevant skills and experience to maximise your online presence. The more experience you detail, the more searches you will appear in. Share your profile edits to draw attention to your refreshed profile among your followers.

The number 1 reason people change jobs is career opportunity and the number 1 way people discover a new job is through a referral. Social professional networks are the number 1 source of quality hires, followed by internet job boards and employee referrals. Now that LinkedIn has over 5 million members, businesses and recruiters are utilising this to look for new talent!

You can choose to show recruiters and hiring managers, who are searching for potential candidates, that you are ‘open to opportunities’ on LinkedIn. This will not be visible to your current company but will alert hiring managers and recruiters that you are open to approaches!

Read more guidance on our advance advice page.

If you are looking for a new job in Rail, Property, Water, Utilities or Construction, contact us today on 01483 361061 or contact us via email here. We have plenty of permanent and contract roles across all of our sectors and our recruiters are here to help!

Many people are finding themselves working from home for the first time, or with more family in the house than usual for a working week.

Maintaining focus when working from home can be challenging at the best of times and with all your family at home, it can test your focus to the limits! Here are some top tips for keeping productive whilst balancing family life during isolation. 

Working from home: with your partner

Set boundaries: Don’t pretend it doesn’t bother you when your partner broadcasts Skype meetings (or watches TV) while you try to answer emails. Also, don’t passive-aggressively work in the bathroom to hint that you’re not happy with the noise in the living room. Turns out a simple “Could you put on headphones?” is an effective way to get someone to, you know, put on headphones.

Designate private areas: Set up clear and separate areas for you each to work in your own way. Work out what works best for you. One of you needs the radio on whilst the other needs peace and quiet? Separation is probably best. If you like similar work environments carve up the dining table so you can work together. Need to take part in web meetings? Set up a meeting space where you can have uninterrupted quiet.

Come up with a schedule together: Sync up your work breaks to enjoy some quality time together in between the work. Share meals, take turns cooking and cleaning up, take a coffee break or agree a time to switch-off and plan a joint activity for the evening. Knowing when your next break is can help keep you focused on completing the task at hand motivated to get the job done before your break. 

Working from home: with toddlers

Get up early: The best way to work when your toddler is around is by getting as much done as possible when they aren’t. This means setting an alarm an hour or two before they are up for the day.

If you do your best thinking in the morning, tackle your largest projects sans distractions during this time. But if you’re not a morning person, getting up early can still be useful. Have a cup of coffee and use this time to organise yourself, respond to quick email requests, and plan out the rest of your workday.

Take Advantage of Nap Time: Enforcing a nap time each day is not only important for your little one’s health and development, but it’s also critical for you. If you can, encourage a long nap of two to three hours in the afternoon.

Encourage Independent Play: Independent play is important for toddler development and should be encouraged. For working parents, independent play can give mum or dad some much needed time to get work done. Busy bags are a great way to entice your toddlers to play by themselves. They’re exactly what they sound like: bags of simple activities designed to keep toddlers busy.

Give Your Toddler Undivided Attention: In these unprecedented times, take advantage of the benefits they offer. Leaving work behind physically is not possible, and it can be tough to let it go mentally as well. But if your toddler is trying to get your attention, chances are, they’re not going to stop until they succeed. Put your to-do list aside, log off the computer, and give your toddler the attention they need and deserve.

Set boundaries and make sure there are plenty of work-free times throughout the day. After all, the biggest perk of working from home is spending time with your toddler – so make sure you take advantage of it.

Working from home: with kids

Start off on the right foot: No matter how many tasks are on your to-do list, its important to create a schedule that includes time for your kids – ideally prior to hunkering down. Give them some undistracted time (no phone in your hand!) before you need to work.

By doing this, you’re giving them the attention they need to feel seen and secure, which should help prepare them to play more independently when you need to focus on work. Eat breakfast together, offer them your undivided attention and then set some clear expectations about the day ahead.

Adjust your schedule: If your job doesn’t require you to be on the clock at specific times, consider adjusting your schedule to work when your children are sleeping or less active. Doing your hardest work first is a good strategy for anyone, it allows you the freedom to be more present and feel like you can step away for an hour or so when the kids wake up and make breakfast.

Set up your workspace and set some boundaries: Even if you don’t have a home office, it’s important to establish a defined work area at home – and to let your kids know that when you’re in work mode, you’re not to be disturbed. Ideally, look for a quiet corner of the house where you can set up everything you need to work through your tasks as efficiently as possible. 

Prevent boredom for your kids by mixing things up: Kids of all ages appreciate having something new and different to occupy them, try a toy rotation to keep them immersed in play. Take a few minutes to sort through their toys, organising them into separate bins, then keeping only a select few out for them to play with.

The idea is that having fewer toys encourages deeper play. Guide your kids toward activities that don’t require your assistance or constant supervision.

Reserve some activities for special occasions: Got an important Skype meeting or rushing toward a deadline? Have some back-pocket activities at the ready that your child loves and can occupy them for 10 to 15 minutes. 

Embrace healthy screen time: No one will send you to parent jail for allowing your kids to hop on a tablet for a while – especially if you’re directing them to fun and educational resources. There are plenty of sites and apps that encourage physical wellness with an array of free activities, such as free games that teach maths, spelling and music skills.

For school-aged kids whose classroom routines have been disrupted, stay on track with learning resources. Many museums offer free virtual tours and zoos have camera feeds to watch the animals. 

Working from home: with pets 

Create A Separate, Pet-Free Work Space: The best way to ensure your pet isn’t going to put a kink in the flow of your workday is to keep them in a separate area. Yes, it’s nice to be able to cuddle your pet while you are listening in on a conference call, but doing this tells them they can get your attention whenever they want. Setting up a separate workspace is great, not just for you and your pet, but also for your work-life balance in general. It helps makes you feel like you aren’t actually living in your office.

Keep pets occupied: If animals are bored or anxious, it can lead to destructive behaviours like chewing, marking or scratching around the house. To avoid an interruption to your workflow – like stopping to scold your pup for chewed up shoes – make sure they have plenty of physical and mental stimulation for when you’re hard at work.

Give your pet some attention time: Be it taking your dog out for a nice walk, having cat cuddles on the sofa or teaching your pet parrot some funny new phrases, make sure to make time for your pet. Give them your full attention in some of your breaks to make sure they are feeling the love and they may be better able to keep themselves distracted whilst you’re on your work conference.

Far more people are working from home during the COVID-19 isolation period. Here are some top tips to help you settle into the new normal and keep productive!

1 Stick to your morning routine 

Get up and have a shower, eat your breakfast, make your coffee and get dressed. Try to stick to your usual routine where possible to keep yourself in a work mindset. Use your time saved from a shortened commute to get ahead with distracting tasks. Do something for yourself, get the kids set up for the day or push your routine back to catch a few extra Zzz’s, but keep to your usual routine where possible. 

2 Set up a work station 

If you do not have space for a home office, find a quiet corner somewhere to make your new office. Somewhere separate from the rest of the house where your isolation companions know not to distract you and you can focus on work. With the increase in web conferencing, you may want to have a think about your backdrop too! 

3 Keep your usual work hours 

Set a schedule, and stick to it…most of the time. Having clear guidelines for when to work and when to call it a day helps maintain a healthy work-life balance. There are lots of apps out there to help you stick to timings and keep your focus so go and explore! 

4 Socialise with colleagues 

Loneliness, disconnect and isolation are common problems with work-from-home life, especially for extroverts. Take advantage of methods your company is offering you to stay in touch with colleagues. For example, they might have chat channels where remote employees can talk about common interests and virtual meetups for people in the same team.

It’s important to figure out how much interaction you need to feel connected and included. Even if you’re highly introverted and don’t like socialising, give a few interactive experiences a try so that you’re familiar with them if you ever decide you want them. Remember, things can get misinterpreted if all communication is via email so pick up the phone or video chat when possible. 

5 Make the most of your breaks

Don’t short-change yourself during breaks, especially your lunch hour. If this is challenging for you there are apps available to lock yourself out of your computer for 60 minutes. Or you can just launch a simple clock or timer on the screen when you take a break. If you return to your desk after only 40 minutes, walk away for another 20. Use this time to socialise with your household, do something creative, get some exercise, take a walk or catch up with some friends/colleagues via video chat.

Taking breaks improves your productivity, mental well-being and overall work performance. 

As a country, we all need to do what we can to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus. That is why the government has given clear guidance on self-isolation, household isolation and social distancing and maintaining educational provision.

And the most recent scientific advice on how to further limit the spread of COVID-19 is clear. If children can stay safely at home, they should, to limit the chance of the virus spreading.

That is why the government has asked parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible. They have asked schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend.

Guidance for schools

It is important to underline that schools, all childcare settings (including early years settings, childminders and providers of childcare for school-age children), colleges and other educational establishments, remain safe places for children. But the fewer children making the journey to school, and the fewer children in educational settings, the lower the risk that the virus can spread and infect vulnerable individuals in wider society.

Schools, and all childcare providers, are therefore being asked to continue to provide care for a limited number of children. This includes those who are vulnerable and children whose parents are critical to the Covid-19 response.

Vulnerable children include children who are supported by social care, those with safeguarding and welfare needs. This includes those on child in need plans, on child protection plans, ‘looked after’ children, young carers, disabled children. Plus, those with education, health and care (EHC) plans.

We know that schools will also want to support other children facing social difficulties. Therefore, we will support headteachers to do so.

Guidance for parents

Parents whose work is critical to the COVID-19 response include those who work in health and social care. Plus, other key sectors outlined below. Many parents working in these sectors may be able to ensure their child is kept at home. And every child who can be safely cared for at home should be.

Please, therefore, follow these key principles:

  1. If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.
  2. If a child needs specialist support, is vulnerable or has a parent who is a critical worker, then educational provision will be available for them.
  3. Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions.
  4. Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.
  5. Residential special schools, boarding schools and special settings continue to care for children wherever possible.

If your work is critical to the COVID-19 response, or you work in one of the critical sectors listed below, and you cannot keep your child safe at home then your children will be prioritised for education provision:

(For the full list of affected sectors visit

Public safety and national security

This includes:

  • Police and support staff
  • Ministry of Defence civilians, contractors and armed forces personnel
  • Those critical to the delivery of key defence and national security outputs (essential to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic)
  • Fire and rescue service employees (including support staff)
  • National Crime Agency staff, those maintaining border security, prison and probation staff
  • Other national security roles, including those overseas.


This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass.

Utilities, communication and financial services

  • Staff needed for essential financial services provision
  • Workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure)
  • The oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage)
  • Information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the COVID-19 response
  • Key staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications
  • Network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 critical services
  • Postal services and delivery, payments providers and waste disposal sectors.

If workers think they fall within the critical categories above, they should confirm with their employer that, based on their business continuity arrangements, their specific role is necessary for the continuation of this essential public service.

If your school is closed, then please contact your local authority, who will seek to redirect you to a local school in your area that your child, or children, can attend.

We are grateful for the work of teachers and workers in educational settings for continuing to provide for the children of the other critical workers of our country. It is an essential part of our national effort to combat this disease.

Social distancing measures are steps you can take to reduce social interaction between people. This will help reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).

They are to:

  • Avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough
  • Avoid non-essential use of public transport when possible
  • Work from home, where possible. Your employer should support you to do this. Please refer to employer guidance for more information
  • Avoid large and small gatherings in public spaces, noting that pubs, restaurants, leisure centres, and similar venues are currently shut as infections spread easily in closed spaces where people gather
  • Avoid gatherings with friends and family. Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media
  • Use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services

Everyone should be trying to follow these measures as much as is practicable.

We strongly advise you to follow the above measures as much as you can and to significantly limit your face-to-face interaction with friends and family if possible, particularly if you:

  • Are over 70
  • Have an underlying health condition
  • Are pregnant

This advice is likely to be in place for some weeks.

This guidance is lifted from the website and is for everyone, including children. It advises on social distancing measures we should all be taking to reduce social interaction between people in order to reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19). It is intended for use in situations where people are living in their own homes, with or without additional support from friends, family and carers. If you live in a residential care setting guidance is available.

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At tough times like these, it’s important to look after your mental wellbeing, especially during social distancing and isolation. Understandably, you may find that social distancing can be boring or frustrating. You may find your mood and feelings are affected and you may feel low, worried or have problems sleeping and you might miss being outside with other people.

It can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour which in turn can make you feel worse. There are simple things you can do that may help to look after your mental wellbeing during social distancing. In addition, staying mentally and physically active during this time such as:

  • Look for exercises you can do at home on the NHS website
  • Spend time doing things you enjoy – this might include reading, cooking, other indoor hobbies or listening to the radio or watching TV programmes
  • Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water and try to avoid smoking, alcohol and drugs
  • Keep your windows open to let in fresh air, get some natural sunlight if you can, or get outside into the garden
  • You can also go for a walk or exercise outdoors if you stay more than 2 metres from others

Understandably a key factor to support positive mental health is spending time with friends and family. 

What steps can you take to stay connected with family and friends during this time?

Draw on the support you might have through your friends, family and other networks during this time. Try to stay in touch with those around you over the phone, by post, or online. Let people know how you would like to stay in touch and build that into your routine. This is also important in looking after your mental wellbeing and you may find it helpful to talk to them about how you are feeling.

Remember it is OK to share your concerns with others you trust and in doing so you may end up providing support to them too. Or you can use an NHS recommended helpline.

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