Remote working is now the normal!
Many people try to make the best out of this situation and learn and acquire new skills. Others just need to work and learn remote and virtual now for business continuity. To support everyone we collected the below tips & helpful ressources and hope they help you.
It is a holistic view, combining place & room, health & body, values & mindset, methods & hacks, content sources as well as tools.
Together with the SAP Community we enhanced those tips even further. From march to June 2020 we ran the mission “Remote Learning Advisor” and many SAP Community members contributed with great input. You can find them in the comments section below the blog.
Tips for remote learning & working
Place & Room
- Ensure the right furniture to avoid back-pain. To stand up sometimes you might put your laptop on a box, ironing board or window board. Or you might just invest into an adjustable desk.
- Ensure propper equipment (Headset, Laptop, Monitor, Chair etc.) – imagine how long you spend in front of the screen and how much you invest
- Ensure proper connectivity, stable internet connection incl. access to company network via VPN
- Discuss with the ones you live which spaces are used by whom for work
Health & Body
- Ensure regular breaks (stand up)
- Exercise – from yoga to stepper – there are many great apps for guidance. Free e.g. and extensive is e.g. the Nike Training Team (NTC)
- Time to relax and calm-down: practice a daily mindfulness or meditation session via guided apps – a good list is here – on Spotify you find guidance in the Genre Meditation
- Set yourself a goal for daily steps if you have a smartwatch or fitness tracker.
Values & Mindset
- Remote learning & working needs trust in self-organization as everyone has another context (family, space, equippment etc.) and needs to organize the own productivity
- Clear goals & tasks and regular communication help to keep on track and be motivated
- Self discipline is important as you do not have the drivers of colleagues or managers meeting you in person- online-sessions for parallel work can help (like a virtual co-working space)
- Respect, appreciation & empathy if others are not reachable, or work focused on their learnings/ tasks without interruption
- Some find it helpful if they use similar clothes like at work to be more in a “work” mode – I personally do not care about that.
Methods / Hacks
- Set goals & timeslots (via your calendar) for learning.
- Never plan meetings for a full 30/ 60 minutes. First check at all if a meeting is not waste of time – and if you think you need it – schedule it for 25/50 minutes so you have enough time for a break.
- Develop a learning plan on how to achieve your goals
- Also use a daily plan e.g. via a Kanban Board with your family (joint breaks, school support etc.)
- Break up your learning goal into many small steps & plan regular tasks to achieve it – plan it like a project
- You can use a timer, an app or the pomodoro technique (25 min) to learn or work focused
- Don´t forget to plan self-reflection & hands-on-practice
- To focus and avoid distraction/ procrastination it might help to listen to concentration or chill-music like in brain.fm or e.g. Genre “Focus” on Spotify
- Ensure social support like via a learning buddy, mentor or coach
- Think of energizer tasks – e.g. find a red thing in your room and show it in the webcam, change location (e.g. outside, stand-up)
- Fostering engagement is not only helpful to keep everyone focused in meetings, most people also want to be involved. Try to minimize powerpoints in meetings – use digital whiteboards to involve and engage meeting participants.
- A rule of thumb from instructional design says to have every 8 minutes an interaction if you work or learn focused.
- Similar is the research on attention spans which says that you have ~20 minutes of focused attention – that is e.g. why TED Talks are always just 18 minutes.
- Use a short check in in every meeting with Intros like a Wheel of name, use ideas for check-in or Tschek-in rounds, and icebreaker questions.
- Document your progress – for your self e.g. in blogs, mindmaps, whiteboards, wikis, digital-notes like evernote/ one-note – also collaborative with your team and network
- Develop routines like daily standup meeting with team, but also your family
- Ensure to meet via video to create social interaction & emotional rapport
- Find examples how others learn remote and learn from them
- Do regular retrospectives in the evening or end of the week
- Create virtual private sessions with NO work talk
- Leverage personal productivity methods from time management or GTD (Getting Things Done)
- A virtual LernOS Circle combines many elements (guidance, social support…) → https://cogneon.github.io/lernos-core/
- Leverage further LearnHacks: Collection of Tips & Tricks for effective learning via the SAP Community or templates for download
- There are already different experiences in learning from home – see e.g. the blog: Learning from home: Lessons from Speexx (a language learning company)
- If you design Learning Experiences: here are tips for Learning Experience Design
- SAP Live Class offers all SAP Training remote via Zoom in a virtual Classroom
- There are several new special formats like the virtual halfday training, virtual blended SAP Academy and several models for consumption like a flatrate or 3torun virtual scheduled courses
- For everyone interested in SAP Training: there is an info page around Covid-19 measures, e.g. with SAP Live-Class Demos
- SAP Learning Hub to access learning content around SAP products – incl. trainer-moderated learning communities, expert-led live webinars, thousands of e-learning and handbooks as well as training systems (Trial, live demo, Web).
- openSAP – the well known free SAP & IT related online courses
- Remote Readiness & Effectivity Academy – free online courses from SAP Litmos on remote work, hygiene etc,
- Podcasts: see a collection here on SAP Community – we also recorded a session from the EducationNewscast on “Remote Learning“
- Swoot – social Podcast App (social Podcast recomendations)
- Class Central – search engine & reviews site for free online courses popularly known as MOOCs
- There are many further free sources like Duolingo for free language training, Khan Academy for free school courses also listed under Online Educational Ressources
Tools for Working, Learning & Collaboration
- Enterprise Social Networks (ESN) like MS Teams or SAP Jam help employees to collaborate & connect
- RUUM, SAPs leigthweight projectmanagement & collaboration tool incl. templates from the center of disease control
- Remote Work Pulse Check by Qualtrix to understand how employees are doing
- Atlassian offers the well known social collaboration tools like Jira (Project & issue tracking), Trello (Kanban based task management) or the Confluence Wiki (which we use here for joint documentation)
- ZOOM is probably one of the most popular video conferencing tools
- Google Hangouts Meet: Online-Video-Conferencing & Desktop sharing
- Microsoft offers with Teams incl. video & VoIP telephony, collaboration, task management (via planner & todo), Wiki & integration many further apps.
- There are many newer tools for conducting virtual meetings like wonder.me – a good list can be found here on wikipedia.
- Beekeeper is a mobile employee communication app based in switzerland (=secure data) https://www.beekeeper.io/en/ – another one is Threema and of course Slack
- Mural or Conceptboard are tools for visual collaboration like remote brainstorming, sketching etc.
- Cuckoo is a productivity timer for remote teams to work on tasks using timeboxing/ pomodoro technique: https://cuckoo.team/ (and make breaks afterwards)
- Online Co-Working Apps: work on your own online next to each other, not alone: Focusmate
- SAP Enable Now to develop learning content, e-learning or documentation or enhance SAP help
I use Zoom for Videokonferences, Teams for collaboration & telephony, Jam & MSTeams as Enterprise social Network, Mural for Brainstorming – however check out what is best for you and your business + check out further lists if you need further guidance:
- Tool-List for virtual teaching (german – e-teaching.org)
- List from Cogneon on virtual events & meetings (german)
- Very good list from Switzerland: Learning in coronatimes for schools (german)
- Whitepaper: The Rise of the Remote Workforce (incl. tool list)
The mission to earn the “Remote Learning Advisor” badge has ended, however all further comments below are still very welcome.