Learning can take many forms. The desire and ability to quickly grow and adapt one's skill set to remain employable throughout their working life, or learnability, can be practiced both in-person and remotely. Professional development doesn’t have to be attending a conference or a four-hour workshop. Here are ways to continue learning remotely and foster career development. Focus on the future Continue career conversations with your manager, even if they are virtual. Don’t lose sight of the goal: Getting ahead both today and in the future means constant learning and development. Leverage technology training It’s not always possible to train everyone together. That’s where technology can come in and reach multiple workers on a flexible schedule. Social media chat forums allow real-time peer discussions to address challenges. E-learning, videos, and gamification are all options that ensure learning can take place anywhere, anytime. Shift to microlearning Conferences and workshops build in breaks and socialization for a reason. Taking downtime helps keep attention fresh and facilitates learning to sink in over time. Harvard Business Review recommends focusing on microlearning, or short lessons on a single topic in a five to 10-minute segment. Take educational breaks Your brain was not designed to be constantly “on” throughout the day, and you need recurring breaks to replenish your focus on tasks. But your rest can be productive, rather than simply scrolling through social media. Give your brain a boost with your break. You can use an app that teaches you a new language, do a crossword puzzle, or read a chapter in a book. Search for something that energizes you to be more productive later.
Distance Learning: How to Continue Education Remotely
Tips for Leading Virtual Meetings
Running efficient meetings can be a difficult task under the best of circumstances. It can add to the challenges if all attendees are remote and reliant on technology. Here are tips to keep virtual meetings running smoothly. Set an agendaIt’s second nature to interpret physical and facial cues in person, but the task becomes harder when you can’t easily see everyone’s screen at once or if there is a lag in audio or video. This can lead to uncertainty about who should be contributing or people accidentally talking over each other. An agenda can help clarify a meeting by sharing ahead of time who is starting a conversation and then who is contributing. Over time, the flow will become more natural. Encourage participation In a time of physical distancing, it’s important to still connect with others on a human level and encourage active participation. Getting everyone to speak up in a remote setting can feel like a challenge since it’s easier to “hide” in a digital setting. First, provide time to talk socially, even putting aside time at the beginning or end of the meeting to share personal stories and small wins. Especially when there’s no physical place to gather, everyone needs a virtual watercooler. Second, manage participation by following five steps outlined by Harvard Business Review, which includes making sure the problem is felt by participants, and no more than five minutes goes by without people working on active solutions to problems together. Use meeting chat –– politely In a physical meeting, attendees can bring hands-outs, charts or slides. All those items can be used virtually by uploading and sharing links and attachments in the chat channel of the meeting for context about topics at hand. It can also be used for texting and asking questions while another person is speaking. But also use this politely by not dominating a conversation in the chat, just as you wouldn’t talk over someone in an in-person meeting. Use the chat function to supplement conversations, not replace them. Set up office hours and take breaksNot every virtual interaction has to be a formal meeting. Many online meeting tools like Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business allow you to set a status, where you can open up your virtual door and let others virtually drop in to ask work questions –– or just to chat. Don’t schedule back-to-back meetings which can lead to virtual meeting fatigue. Take a break away from the screen to give your brain a chance to switch gears between meetings.'Finally, remember to be patient with colleagues and with yourself as you adjust to virtual meetings. It will be an adjustment for many people. And when someone forgets to mute their mic –– inevitably –– just politely remind them that everyone can hear. We’ve all been there.
How to Boost Your Skills Remotely
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the world to a standstill. That includes what has traditionally constituted professional development, with businesses cutting non-essential travel, flights being canceled, and conventions and conferences have been called off or postponed. But this time can also be used effectively to keep professional skills sharp for when the world returns to normal. “If you’re not earning, use the time to be learning,” Becky Frankiewicz, President of ManpowerGroup North America, recently said in an interview with Cheddar. “The economy will come back and you can position yourself now to ensure that you have the right skills and capabilities.” Here are options for virtual learning that can be done anywhere, anytime. Webinars and online training Many conferences that have been forced to cancel in-person events have provided alternatives through webinars and virtual forums, often at reduced prices or no cost. Even if you weren’t planning on attending any upcoming conferences, the abundance of affordable and accessible webinars that provide star power and high talent is worth considering. Online learning courses are another option, such as LinkedIn Learning and Percipico. Currently, ManpowerGroup is offering 60 days of free access to Percipio, for those interested in online learning.Listen to podcasts In podcasts you’ll find authors talking about their books, researchers expounding on their discoveries and experts discussing techniques to improve any professional field. Search in Google Play or Apple’s iTunes for keywords that you want to learn for work, such as public speaking tips, advice for management or productivity hacks. To make sure you’re hearing from an authority, look for podcasts that are hosted by someone with credentials that you trust. Virtual networking Coffee meetings don’t need to stop just because you can’t physically meet for coffee. In fact, you have more possibilities if you open up to virtual coffee meetings to people across the country or world. Reach out to mentors or colleagues to ask questions, learn from someone more experienced and keep your networking skills sharp with virtual coffee. Reread classic business books Libraries and bookstores are closed. And yes, you can still order new business books online or access them on an e-reader. But you can also use this time to re-read (or finish) older business books that you have on your shelves. Consider what lessons you learned in the past, and if you have been following or have absorbed them over time. With the rapid pace of change, it can feel like surviving the daily battle is enough. But that means there’s never been a greater need to pursue continuous professional education. There has also never been a better time to learn for those who want to learn and keep growing.
Safely Back to Work in the New Normal
The impact of the Covid-19 health crisis and lock down continues to present unparalleled challenges, including rising unemployment in many markets. To prepare for a safe return to work and to restart economies around the world, ManpowerGroup has formed a HR services industry alliance and with that will make a vital contribution to helping people return safely and enabling companies adapt to the new normal. In a new paper, “Safely Back to Work in the New Normal”, the industry - which is the world’s largest private sector employer - calls for employers, trade unions, and NGOs to collaborate and for governments to support, stimulate and endorse these efforts. Download Report
A Practical Guide to a Safe Restart
As the date draws closer to 1st June 2020, preparing for the gradual re-opening of businesses after the end of the circuit breaker is top of mind for many employers. Most organizations are now at a critical juncture as they navigate a phased shift from remote work to restart operations and support their people to return to the workplace, while working within the requirements of the new physical distancing economy. Although the re-opening of workplaces differs by industry, we know that it will take large-scale cooperation and alliances to prepare. That’s why ManpowerGroup has forged a key partnership between other HR industry leaders to help companies plan a safe return to work. This week we co-published an industry report, “A Practical Guide to a Safe Restart: Best Practices for Organizations”, and call upon employers, trade unions and NGOs to join us, too. Organizations of all types and sizes can use this report to identify and apply best practices that will get them up and running in a safe, healthy and productive way. Download Report
How to Collaborate with Colleagues Using Tech
Welcome to the Work from Home age. The impact of the covid-19 virus has suddenly transformed the global workforce into largely a remote workforce. For some, their familiarity with technology has made the transition a relatively smooth one, with more conference calls and Zoom chats. For others, learning digital etiquette and use of technology requires some getting used to. Below are guidelines and helpful tips to follow and share with colleagues to collaborate better. Designate channels for types of communication And stick to their purposes. It can add to the stress to sort through emails, texts, Slack messages, voicemails and other forms of communication to find what you’re looking for. Having multiple forums for different types of communication –– such as urgent vs. long-term planning –– can help as long as everyone is clear which forum is used for which type of communication. Once a system is in place, it’s much easier to find what you need in a timely manner. Remember the phone call One rule of thumb is to have two or three email replies before you pick up the phone. It can be much faster and more efficient to have a 5-10 minute phone call to hash out details rather than 5-10 emails back and forth. It also helps to bring a sense of humanity into a conversation simply by hearing someone else’s tone and voice. Take advantage of chat – wisely Quick text chat tools like Slack and Microsoft Teams can be time-savers if you need a quick question asked without opening up and composing a whole new email. But it can also be a time suck when chat turns into a longer discussion that’s better for a conference call or email. Or it can splinter your focus time if you constantly get pinged. Feel free to on an away message or set your status as busy if you don’t want to be interrupted while you’re working on a project. Don’t overuse reply all With the best of intentions, people try to keep others in the loop by replying all to an email chain. But before you send a message to everyone by default, consider if everyone needs to read what you’re about to send. Overcommunicating in terms of replies to everyone can bury someone’s inbox, and hide some of the most important communication that needs addressing. Technology can be a godsend when it connects us across locations or time zones when there’s no other way to reach out. But it also can take over. Make sure when you’re working remotely that technology is your tool, and you’re not becoming a tool of technology.
Mastering the New Normal of Video Interviewing
Hiring looks different these days. With businesses practicing social distancing as much as possible, traditional interviews have morphed into virtual exchanges with video taking center stage. Here are ways to master the virtual interview new normal. Practice the “route” to avoid technical difficulties It’s common practice to drive to the location before your interview to make sure you don’t run into any construction or confusing directions. The same is true of a virtual interview. Make sure the appropriate tool is downloaded, you have an account and are signed in, and you know how to use the technology. Virtual meetings can also be frustrating if they are hampered by freezing frames, lagging audio and dropped calls. Help ensure that your virtual meeting goes smoothly by asking others in your home to avoid using high-bandwidth activities like online video during the time of your interview. If wifi is still an issue, use hotspot data as a back-up. Many wireless carriers have added bonus hotspot data for free for the upcoming weeks. Pay attention to your presence During an era of working from home in casual wear, remember to dress up, look professional and be confident. Presentation matters in an interview, and in a virtual interview that includes having an uncluttered and professional background. Sit up straight and hold an upright body posture. Notice your breathing and inhale from your diaphragm, which prevents you from hunching over. Practice how you’re going to present eye contact, facial gestures and even your listening. Pay attention to how you are going to carry yourself, show enthusiasm and confidently lead with skills. Conduct a mock virtual interview Getting confident at interviewing takes practice, and this is also true for adapting to a virtual interview format. Practice by conducting a mock interview over video. Most college career centers provide services to alumni and often have services to conduct a mock job interview, and many are offering virtual services. If this isn’t available, rehearse with a friend before the interviewing process.Send a timely follow-up A timely follow-up can help highlight and reinforce your best impressions after the interview. Send an email note to recruiters saying what made you feel connected to the position and how the interviewers helped you understand the role. This can reinforce what others thought of you. You don’t need to say too much to stand out in the digital flood of information. In this format, many of the same interviewing techniques apply while new challenges arise at the same time. Don’t expect perfection –– interviewers are likely going through the same struggles. But preparation to adapt to the new medium will show another layer of skill and can work in your favor.
How to Reduce Social Isolation While Working from Home
A big part of work is about being human and needing social connection. When working remotely, it’s easy to feel the effects of social isolation and a lack of different interactions in your daily routines. It’s important to combat the isolating effects by being intentional. Here are tips to stay connected beyond task-oriented work. Designate a social channel Not every interaction with a co-worker needs to have an explicit work function. The watercooler effect has an important place for bringing people together. But in a digital world, that needs to be fostered by creating a place where it’s permissible to open up, share photos of pets or simply blow off steam. And the research backs up why this is important. Stick to a quitting time Working all the time can make anyone feel disconnected from the larger web of social frameworks. Setting and maintaining a time to stop work for the day will allow you to reconnect with family, get in touch with friends or even take a walk and get a breath of fresh air. Seek out a (remote) mentor For people struggling to adapt, there’s no reason to go it alone. Assigning or seeking out mentors can prevent someone from spiraling into problems. Change and working remotely is a difficult process for anyone but guidance can ease the process. Grow your network Socializing doesn’t just take place with coworkers. Your extended network of professional connections also provide valuable social contact, and you can continue to build that web through digital platforms. There are digital options to spread your message, including blogging, vlogging, and podcasting. Tools like Anchor.fm now make it possible to start a podcast with little equipment or training, using equipment as basic as your phone. Take an actual lunch When you’re in the office, you may take a hurried lunch by yourself at your desk. At home, you have the luxury of making a real meal in your kitchen and sitting down at your dining room table. Use this time. Make a real lunch and connect with people either at home or through an online chat. These measures are important not only personally, but also professionally. According to a study published in Harvard Business Review, 35% of the variation in a team’s performance can be accounted for simply by the number of exchanges among team members, and the “right” number of exchanges in a team is as many as dozens per working hour. So go ahead, indulge in social conversations –– and feel and perform better.
Supporting Employees Who Are Caregivers While Working Remote
Remote working has become the new normal in the wake of COVID-19. How can employers support their remote employees from afar during this period? Despite having been around for years, not many employers offer remote work as an option. Many employers were thus unprepared for the transition to telecommuting when governments around the world enforced stay-home policies to curb the spread of COVID-19 within the communities. With most businesses closed, these are challenging times for both employers and employees. Day care centers for children and seniors are closed and living at home with both children and elderly family members to care for can be taxing for working individuals. . Here are ways employers can support employees working to care for themselves and their dependents during the COVID-19 outbreak: Provide flexibility With kids at home and other personal commitments demanding for attention, staying focused while working from home can be challenging for employees. Employers have to recognize that employees, regardless of their gender or marital status, can be parents or caregivers. During this period, employers can support employees by allowing them the flexibility to arrange their work around their other personal commitments. For example, letting employees arrange video meetings during their children’s nap times. Communicate your expectations Many workers are telecommuting for the first time ever and may feel lost or uneasy with the new mode of work. Moreover, working at home has blurred the lines between work and personal life, and some employees may not know when to switch off. Leaders need to communicate their expectations to employees clearly and let them know how their performance will be measured during this period to help them understand what needs to be done. Also, when setting expectations for employees, be realistic and take into consideration various life factors that could affect employees’ productivity. For instance, the Internet speed might be slower at home as family members will be accessing it to do work or home-based learning. Focus on output rather than screen time Similar to presenteeism at work, employees’ screen time does not equate to productivity. Don’t insist that employees have to be at their screens from 9 to 6. Leverage on the flexibility that remote working gives and let employees work at timings when they are most productive. For instance, let an employee take a longer lunch break so that they can cook lunch for their family. The employee can make up for the additional time away by working at a time when they are better able to concentrate, such as when their dependents are asleep. Free from distractions, the employee may be able to produce better quality work or get more things done than usual, benefiting the employer. Check-in on employees regularly It is more important than ever to connect with employees personally now that opportunities to interact at the workplace are gone. Besides team meetings, employers can also make use of video conference technology to organize virtual team events where employees gather to mingle online. Employees’ children can also be invited to participate as well, which can help young children understand that their parents are working at home even though they are not at the office. Employers can also connect with their workers on a personal level by having one-on-one video calls with employees. During the call, check in on their conditions and if they have any concern that they would like to share. Lend them a listening ear when needed as some may have no outlets to turn to for stress relief. This is a difficult period for many and showing empathy and support can go a long way in helping employees stay engaged and motivated. Create a support group for employees in the same situation Employers can create an online platform for employees with the same situation to seek advice and share resources. For example, employers can create a group chat in communication apps for working parents where employees can share resources for home based learning, activities that parents can do with their children or seek advice from each other for parenting issues. With remote working becoming the new norm for now, employers have to rethink the way they manage employees and keep them engaged and focused during this challenging time. View working from home as an opportunity to discover new (and even better) ways to engage employees rather than a disruption to business as usual. Show employees that you care about them and they will reciprocate in turn.
Guide to Staying Healthy While Working from Home
Working from home sounds great, but the transition to telecommuting during this period can be highly stressful as governments around the world move to limit movement and curb the spread of the coronavirus. The disruptions to daily life caused by the COVID-19 pandemic are bringing forth new challenges that even seasoned remote workers might find overwhelming to handle. In the midst of trying to juggle everything, you might neglect your well-being and put yourself at the risk of burning out or falling sick. Besides creating a conducive work environment at home, you have to take care of your well-being to stay productive and healthy while staying home. Here are some self-care tips to help you get started. Watch what you eat You are what you eat, so eating a balanced diet is key to staying healthy. Plus, it will help you stay fuller longer, helping you to focus better. A simple way to make sure you’re eating healthily is to divide your plate into four. Wholegrains and your choice of protein should take up one-quarter of the plate each, and the rest of it should be filled with fruits and vegetables. Additionally, keep yourself hydrated by drinking lots of water. Avoid junk food and sugary treats Working from home means you have easy access to your kitchen, which means you can conveniently whip up a healthy meal for yourself. However, the opposite applies as well, and you might find yourself snacking on junk food more often than you would like to think. Many of us tend to snack to relieve some boredom or stress, and the snacks tend to be high in sodium or sugars, which are detrimental to the body in the long run. Stick to eating healthy and during your regular mealtimes. If you really want a snack, opt for healthier options like nuts and fruits instead of crackers and ice cream. Maintain a regular sleep cycle The body needs to sleep to function well, and maintaining a regular sleep cycle is key to achieving the good night’s rest. It can be tempting to stay up late, sleep in or take afternoon naps when you’re working from home but doing so can mess up your sleep cycle. Stick to waking up and sleeping at fixed times can help you achieve better quality sleep, and you are more likely to wake up refreshed and focused throughout the day. Also, make sure you are sleeping enough too – an adult body performs its best with seven to eight hours’ sleep. If you’re feeling sleepy in the day, do some light exercises or take a walk around your house instead of taking a nap to avoid disrupting your sleep schedule. Exercise Just because the gyms and parks are closed does not mean you can’t exercise. Working out have many benefits to the body, including feeling more energized and stronger immunity. Set aside thirty minutes to an hour each day for some exercise to stay fit. Keep things interesting by varying your workout. Besides jogging, you can participate in online fitness classes where there is some interaction with the instructor. Do social hangouts If you have been working in a bustling office environment, working from home can feel isolating due to the lack of human contact. According to a 2015 research article titled Loneliness and Social Isolation as Risk Factors for Mortality, feelings of loneliness and isolation can negatively affect your emotional and physical well-being, even more so than obesity and smoking itself. To prevent this, find new ways to interact with your co-workers and friends. For example, you can arrange to have lunch via video call with your friends. You can also create a group chat with co-workers for casual conversations and share interesting things that have happened to stay in touch.