Putting Learners First: Adapting Training for Remote Work During the Coronavirus Outbreak

We put learners first. This is our core value, and it’s the heart of Lessonly. It will forever be our top priority. Because of this, we can’t think of a better time to discuss frontline employees than right now in light of the ongoing rise of COVID-19 cases around the world. The outbreak forces all of us to figure out what it means for teams and employees to prioritize their health and do Better Work through remote work and online training.

That’s why we put together this guide and list of resources. Our job is to help you take care of your team and equip you with the tools you need to effectively move your offline training programs into an online environment should you need to. 

Staying Healthy at Work and Home

Employees are the foundation of every great business, which is why their health and safety should be top of mind for everyone—now and always. We chatted with Pediatrician Dr. Ana- Maria Temple to get the facts about COVID-19 and learn what steps companies should take to protect everyone’s well-being. 

First, Dr. Temple stresses the importance of not panicking. “Panic is causing more problems than the actual virus,” she said. “The problem with this virus is that it causes isolation which turns to fear and panic. That actually makes employees less productive.” 

To keep you and your team healthy and happy, check out these great tips from Dr. Temple. 

  • Wash, clean, repeat: Washing your hands with soap and water can reduce the spread of coronavirus by 70%. Encourage employees to wash their hands frequently and provide antibacterial disinfectant around the office. 
  • Minimize screen time: Urge everyone to turn off the computers and get at least eight hours of sleep a night.
  • Ditch the sugar: Take a look at your company’s kitchen or break room. If it’s full of donuts, candy bowls, and sugary drinks, swap them out for healthier foods like fresh fruit and vegetables. Sugar directly reduces your body’s immune system response. 
  • Give team members a safe space to talk: There’s a lot of misinformation and misconceptions about the virus. Create a forum or chat group that brings employees together to learn more about COVID-19.
  • Share the numbers: Give your employees access to real-time numbers and information. Use a weekly email or your company’s intranet to deliver important updates from the HR or executive team.

Dr. Temple separates the facts from fiction and shares even more tips to stay healthy here

At the end of the day, Dr. Temple encourages everyone to listen to their body and commit to staying home if you feel unwell. “Giving employees the flexibility to work from home is key,” she said. “It takes a bigger person to stay at home and admit they don’t feel well than the person coming into work.”

Just last week during Lessonly’s all-team meeting, our CEO, Max Yoder, told the team that it’s never heroic to come into work if you’re feeling under the weather—and it’s especially not heroic right now. It’s infinitely more praiseworthy to listen to your body and make decisions that are wise for yourself and for the people around you, and Dr. Temple echoes this same sentiment.

The flexibility and trust to let employees work from home absolutely require some thought and intentionality. “With technology, you can still do a whole lot,” said Dr. Temple. “It’s easy for us to get stuck in the same way of thinking and feel we can only do certain things or meet with other people if we’re all in the office. There are all of these other ways to work together even if we aren’t in the same room. Consider tools like FaceTime, Zoom, and other applications when possible.”  

Transitioning from Offline to Online Training & Enablement 

As companies encourage, or even require, employees to work from home, enabling, coaching, and training strategies may need to pivot a bit. We’ve already seen canceled sales kick-off meetings, travel restrictions, and postponed events. To help overcome some of these challenges, our Director of Sales Enablement, Bryan Naas, has five steps that any team can use to move offline training and enablement online. 

  1. Always start with the end in mind: What outcomes were you looking to measure in your live training? Think about how you’re going to measure it online.
    • Pull content and load it into your training software, LMS, Google Docs, or email.
  2. Package your resources into a consumable format: Meet your learners where they are by delivering content that is easy to access and digest. 
    • This could be delivered via training and enablement software, email, or Google Docs. 
  3. Think about the in-person interactions: How can you achieve personable interactions online? It’s important to get your teammates in a live environment, even if it’s digital.
    • Leverage systems like Zoom, Webex, or Skype. We highly suggest you check out Zoom Breakout Rooms, which lets split your Zoom meeting up into smaller breakout rooms. 
  4. Leverage online communication: Keep the conversation going within small groups, even when training is done. 
    • Programs like Skype or Slack promote asynchronous discussions. 
  5. Double-down on practice: Since you won’t have in-person time with learners, it’s important to focus on extra practice so they can hone the skills they need to succeed. 
    • Turn to your training software for practice scenarios, or leverage video recording with Slack or Skype.

Additional Resources to Help Navigate Change

Over the years, we’ve worked with hundreds of global teams who have successfully transformed their training programs to rely on online training methods. Whether their team is made up of an already existing remote workforce or spread across multiple offices around the world, they’ve found ways to deliver efficient training so everyone can learn, practice, and perform. Here’s a brief look at some of the tips and strategies they’ve followed. 

Adapting Existing Training Materials for Online Learning

The transition to online learning may seem like a huge step, but proper planning and execution can optimize any training material for online training software. This post was written a couple of years ago, but it gives a great explanation of how to think about transitioning traditional training materials into an online environment. When it comes to moving your training efforts online, we suggest: 

  1. Identifying training objectives
  2. Adapting existing training content
  3. Optimizing training material design

3 Challenges of Onboarding Remote Employees and How to Solve Them

Nicole Schneider, our Content Program Manager, works with a mainly remote workforce. She drew upon her experiences to share three challenges that she’s faced with a remote team and how they overcame them: 

  1. Introduce communication channels: If one of your remote employees needs help, do they know where to go? Are they aware of your company’s communication norms and expectations? Are they able to quickly get the answers they need?
  2. Create a sense of camaraderie: Have your remote employees been introduced to everyone? Do they feel comfortable reaching out to other members of the team or speaking up in meetings? Can you tell how far they’ve progressed in their training and how engaged they are?
  3. Provide role clarity: Does your training include specific details around an employee’s day-to-day work? Do employees know where to find this information?

If you’re looking to quickly make the move to online or remote training or manage a temporary remote workforce, here are some other helpful resources we recommend. 

If you want to learn more about making the move to online training, chat with us—we’re here to help. Current Lessonly customers can also use our lesson template to help your team stay in the know. Preview it here and contact your CX or Services Manager if you’d like it imported into your account. 

Here’s to staying healthy, putting learners first, and doing Better Work together.

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