Lockdown: Time to invest in yourself and your employees

06 April 2020 by Louise McElvaney

In totally unprecedented and unexpected times, the majority of us find ourselves working from home. With the juggling of home schooling, constant raiding of the fridge and showing off the dog to colleagues on video calls, a near whole working nation is trying to navigate this new environment. 

How then, as an individual can we maximize this time and make some good of it? As an employer, how can we use this time to really engage with our employees, make them feel less isolated and support them through this time of change? 

Invest in yourself 

For many, moving from a workplace-based environment to home has actually left us with slightly more time in our day. Travel time has been slashed, meetings faster by phone, fewer distractions from colleagues, and of course, some tasks by their nature, have had to take a back seat until business can resume as normal.

Using this extra time is a perfect opportunity for self-development.  Mandatory learning that might have previously been lurking towards the bottom of the to-do list can now be focused on. Digital learning by its nature is so easy to fit around other calls and tasks and your learning will benefit hugely from not having the distractions of the normal workplace setting. Also, this is a great opportunity to embrace new areas of learning that might be available to you from your L&D department, building your skills and knowledge for the future. 

Naturally, in the new environment, you may find switching from home to work mode each day can be difficult when you remove the commute, which acts as a clear line between the two. It’s important to be able to make this transition so starting the day with some elearning that has been set for you could be a very productive and focused way to start. 

Engage your employees 

Those working in more digitally focused environments are likely to find the transition to home working easier, but many people will be feeling disconnected from their employer at this time. I think L&D departments have a wonderful opportunity here to ensure that staff continue to feel valued and respected. Pushing out fresh and engaging training content that focuses on people’s personal development may make staff feel more engaged and show them that their organization is still investing in them and can help your team feel connected, better utilized and valued. 

Reskilling/upskilling employees ready for future roles also expands the overall capability within the business. I think it would be wonderful to look back on this time and be able to say you achieved a lot from an employee development perspective. 

Support through unsettling times 

On a more immediate level, there is also an opportunity here for L&D departments to support employees through a difficult period. These are challenging times for all, and many employees will be feeling very disrupted by their new working environment and some are working and living totally alone. There may be a lot of anxiety and stress associated with the change.

Employees can be helped through this period of change by giving them access to a range of learning materials that will support them with the emotional turmoil and practical skills needed to navigate the new environment. Here at Learning Pool, we have a number of different ready-made courses that can support your employees through this time; namely, Change Management, Conference Call Etiquette, Email Stress, Emotional Intelligence, Healthy Lifestyles, Learning and Managing Change and Transition, Time Management, Mental Health Awareness, Personal Resilience, Remote Working and Stress Awareness – to name a few! 

Many schools have very quickly recorded lessons with integrated tasks for children to carry out and pushed these out to students. L&D professionals and other departmental leaders could easily consider recording a variety of short videos which might provide vital emotional support and coaching to employees during challenging times. This medium could also be a more personal way of keeping employees up to date on news and generally engaged with the rest of the business. If your organization has a Learning Experience Platform, then these can easily be distributed and tracked so there is no better time than now for more learning, and this is not only from a corporate training point of view but in your personal life too. So, go on; learn to play that Ukulele you asked for at Christmas, bake that first batch of bread or get focused on learning how to grow your own veg. There is no better time than now to concentrate on your own self-development.  

Learning Pool has created a COVID-19 essentials library to help fight the business impact of the current pandemic, by maintaining performance and delivering results through elearning.

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Louise McElvaney
Director of People and Performance

Louise is Learning Pool’s Director of People and Performance. She started her career in the financial industry with Bank of Ireland and Deutsche Bank, in a variety of roles before moving to HML in Derry in 2004 in an operational process role.

Louise has been with Learning Pool since its foundation, taking up a full-time role 7 years ago to prepare the business for scalable growth, create a people-oriented approach and deliver world-class customer service.

Passionate about providing people with an opportunity to grow and develop in their careers, Louise implemented a company-wide improvement programme to ensure Learning Pool remained an employer of choice and a fantastic place to work.

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