20 Things to Do If You’ve Been Furloughed

20 things to do if you've been Furloughed

20 Things to Do If You’ve Been Furloughed

A lot of workers have been furloughed recently, including staff at my company HarperCollins. It’s a shame, but a safety measure that has been put in place to protect jobs later on.

I haven’t been furloughed, but I thought I would share a list of 20 things to do if you have been furloughed, to help keep those currently off work entertained.


Skillshare is a great platform for learning and passing the time. From lessons on interior design to marketing to calligraphy, it’s educational and fun. Good for those productive moments throughout the day.

Write a novel

There have been a lot of jobs about ‘quarantine novels’ but honestly, if you’re not allowed to work for the next three weeks why not have a go. It’s unlikely you’ll ever have a long period of quiet like this again!

Start a blog or podcast

If you’re a creative or someone that likes to be busy or productive, then start a blog or a podcast. It’s a great outlet for frustration and productivity, as well as being a long-term project rather than a short-term boredom stopper. I’ve got plenty of tips on both if you need help.

Update your CV

It may seem a little odd but everyone should update their CV more often, so why not do it now? Change up the design or have a good proof-read at least.

Download The Sims 

I’ve become a major The Sims addict lately. I recently got The Sims 4 on Origin and now every weekend is dominated with playing the game. It’s easy, relaxing, and mindless. It also passes the time ridiculously quickly.

Grow your personal brand

I love a personal brand! Work on your own. Up your Twitter or Instagram followers by curating your feed, deciding who you actually like on your follow list and looking over your posts, and deciding which you don’t really like. Be yourself.

Start a journal

There’s not much to journal at the moment, per se, apart from ‘got up, got dressed, got back into bed’ basically. But you can start a different type of journal, from a dream journal, a random thoughts journal, or a vision book. I love making use of notebooks, it’s creative and fun.

Create a vision board or scrapbook

Speaking of Vision books, why not create a vision board or a scrapbook with the stuff you’ve got around your house? From loose photos, magazine or newspaper clippings, receipts, postcards, stamps, etc. You’ll have a ton of this ephemera around the house, you just need to find it.

Put together a budget

If you’re concerned about finances, either now or post-Corona then put together a budget. Look at what you have, what you’re going to get, and what you know you’re going to spend and see how much you have leftover and what you could do with it to make it go furthest.

Set a reading challenge or start a book club

I love reading so I’ve done both of these things. I follow the Goodreads Reading Challenge, which I begin at the start of the year. But during self isolation some publishing mates and I have started an impromptu book club and it’s been great! Very intellectual as well as hilarious. The tangents we have are brilliant. Let’s get back to intergenerational conflict…

Organise an after-work party with colleagues

Just because you can’t work doesn’t mean you can’t socialise with your colleagues. Organise after-work drinks sessions, morning coffee or a lunch-time meet up to connected to everyone and socialise. Great excuse to start yet another quiz during self isolation.

Watch YouTube Videos

YouTube is full of videos that instructional, funny, and entertaining. If you love books immerse yourself in the book tube community. Like Skillshare you can learn plenty of skills via YouTube as well, and there are copious amounts of silly videos that will make you smile during down days.

Write a five-year plan

If you’re a planner like me then get down a five-year plan. Honestly, I don’t have one as I don’t plan this far in advance as I’m constantly changing my mind, but it can still be fun to spend half an hour visualising the future and making goals for yourself.

Start a movie marathon

I’ve been incredibly surprised to hear so many of my colleagues and friends have not seen iconic movies and movie series like Harry Potter, Star Wars, Star Trek, The Maze Runner, The Hunger Games… among many others. To be fair I haven’t seen any of The Godfather movies or The Matrix. But since lockdown, I have watched both Airplane movies and they were ridiculous!

Offer mentorship or find a mentor

I’m a mentor to a few people in publishing and I’ve tried to check in with them all at least once during lockdown. If you’re on lockdown use your time wisely to help others and to grow your skillset. A friend of mine has been furloughed but is going to be completing some proof-reading training while off, and another is focusing on her dissertation due at the end of the year. It’s a good time to learn.

Start exercising

Even I am starting to consider this, and I hate exercising. My sister put me onto Bodyfit by Amy and now I’ve curated a playlist of 5-minute workouts I can do when I wake up or just before I go to bed. If you’re more into it you can try running, or even do some sort of physical challenge for fun or charity.

Do a 30 Day Challenge

I’m doing a 30-day challenge with the 30 Day Blog Challenge for the month of May, posting daily on my blog. There are many challenges you can do from home though, from self-belief challenges, a fitness challenge, no-spend month, etc

Try new recipes

Baking is great, but don’t forget to try new recipes for your breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well. You’ll learn a ton of new cooking techniques, try new foods and probably find your new favourite!

Redecorate your space

Whether it’s your bedroom, whole flat, or simply your desk space make a change by redecorating somehow. Can you touch up some paint, move some furniture around, add some fun patterns of accessories to spruce up an area?

Read all the books

Now is a great time to get through those books that you’ve had sitting on your shelf or wish list for ages. I’m finding the time to read classics I’ve been meaning to read since I was a teenager. If you’re struggling to concentrate though try different formats for reading or different types of books like poetry, short stories, novellas, smaller novels, etc. Audiobooks are also great for background listening when you’re doing other things.

But there we go, 20 things to do if you’ve been furloughed. I hope it’s helpful and there’s something on here that you can do to pass the time. The most important thing to do is to stay in touch and stay healthy.

Love Ellie x

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20 things to do if you've been Furloughed

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