Training 100% online
“So how’s it going now with you training people 100% on line?” the client asked”.
By the end of March 2020 knowledge workers and office personnel had all been sent home and told to work from there due to COVID-19. As we were already in the process of training quite a number of participants on the Personal Efficiency Program (PEP®) we were more or less forced to change track in mid-stream and go online. Fortunately we had invested in digital interactive study manuals for the Dutch market in 2019 and so we were prepared material wise, but what about the mind set of our PEP® consultants? The only online training we had done up to that point was a hybrid approach coaching people on the same day in multiple countries after a common group session in a predetermined physical location.
“So how’s it going then?” the client asked again, interrupting my thoughts.
“Well actually quite well by the response we have been getting from our participants,” I answered.
In the first month after being sent home many people were struggling with the change. But as we were in the midst of training and coaching them we were able to identify 6 barriers that they were wrestling with:
- No clear separation between private and work.
- Non ergonomic workstation. This varied from sitting on the couch or on the bed balancing a laptop in the lap to using the dining room table as a desk.
- Initially most of our participants were lacking the technical tools needed to do their job.
- Contact with colleagues via Zoom or Teams worked well but the spontaneous interaction on location was missed.
- Stress from work now entered the home.
- Partner also working from home, and in the first couple of months the kids sent home from school, created myriad work schedule problems.
As PEP® consultants we realized that we had to change the training so as to address these issues first before even starting with the formal PEP® training. And so we did.
There is no “back to normal”.
I noticed that during the summer months people started to return to the office first for one day a week and then for two days. Everyone was optimistic thinking things would soon be back to normal. But now, as anticipated, we are experiencing a second pandemic wave and the companies are toughening up their restriction rules and so currently working on location in the office is no longer advised or allowed.
- No matter what we would wish for the fact is that we will need to bite the bullet and adjust creating our own comfort zone in working from home.
- Ergonomics is really important. The costs for a proper chair and desk can often be paid for by your company. But you need first to check what are their health and safety requirements. One of my participants bought an inexpensive desk which filled his own requirements but his request for reimbursement was denied because the desk could not be adjusted for height.
- Wear the same clothes as you would in the office, including shoes.
- By now any technical issues should have been solved as well as coordinating schedules with your partner.
- Keep the same schedule as you did in the office and at the end of the working day remove your laptop from the dining table and if you do have a proper home office shut everything down and leave the space. You are now ready for private time.
A stable working home environment is fundamental and once it’s in place we can begin to focus on the PEP® process of improving the efficiency and, vital these days, lowering the high workload and stress experienced by a majority of knowledge workers.
“So yes, we are getting good results from our online PEP® trainings; the reason is that we adopt a flexible approach and address the needs of the participants.”
Our first objective is to help the individual to adjust to and create a comfortable and stable working environment at home where their productivity is on par with what it was in the office.
The second objective is then to assist them to increase their efficiency and productivity further by the application of the PEP® Principles. As the PEP® training by default already contains a number of follow-up visits done over a couple of months this presents no major format change.
“And yes, our consultants are now comfortable in training people 100% online.”
PEP® is a registered trademark, owned and licensed by IBT Europe BV.