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COVID-19

Working and Learning from Home: Tips to Stay Active

Vlad Georgescu
Vlad Georgescu
Practices Manager

The last couple of months have produced a real change in dynamics for people around the world, so working and learning from home might have seemed challenging for many.

Nonetheless, some of you may have taken advantage of the extra time on your hands to prove that skill and determination lead to success, no matter the disruption. Once you embrace the #NeverStopLearning mindset, wonderful things happen.

Working and learning from home - Never stop learning

Where there’s a will, there’s a way: learning never stops, so use your time wisely.

The global coronavirus pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. Although many of us have occasionally worked from home, this extended period of isolation has impacted our well-being beyond what we had initially imagined. But instead of losing precious time worrying, the best idea is always to make the best of it.

Working and Learning from Home – Adapt and Move On

Many of us shifted to remote work in a matter of days, and one challenge was to continue our everyday activities in much the same manner as when we were in the office.

So, we’ve decided to maintain our rituals as a team, starting with morning coffee meetings and continuing with mentoring sessions or tech community meetups. Yes, it’s important to keep those learning activities and events going, even more so in difficult times. At Pentalog, this provides the sense of normalcy that we longed for.

How we did it:

We implemented Pentalog’s Business Continuity Plan and moved all of our operations online. The plan worked perfectly, and after every colleague on three continents started working from home, we focused on building connections and team spirit.

Continuing our learning streak was one important pillar:

  • Tech-related communities, like the QA & Agile Community or the PHP community remained active, as my colleagues are always eager to learn
  • Internal mentorship programs continued, which are great for guided knowledge sharing of important tech information
  • Our signature PentaBAR meetups have slowly but surely moved online, with remote sessions that keep the learning atmosphere going
  • Lunch and Learn meetings have become even more interactive, with group exercises for participants and an invitation to unmute the microphones so they can express their opinions
  • We’re broadcasting our PentaLive talk shows in English and French on social media. Moderators and experts present weekly discussions that tackle various subjects like agility, decision-making in times of crisis, the benefits of working remotely, and more
  • Hackathons and coding challenges powered by SkillValue inspire and keep us on our toes.
Working and learning from home

Working and learning from home comes with its perks 😊 As you can see, we still manage to find time for our learning groups, webinars and PentaBARs

Tough times call for creativity and motivation, so we united as a team to confront COVID-19 together.

Discover the Opportunities of a Disruptive Situation

We still miss interacting with each other but socializing continues with the help of remote team communication tools. A microphone and webcam are all we need these days to keep in touch, both professionally and personally.

My colleague, Daiana, shared her perspective on how to make the best out of telecommuting.

Use Your Time Wisely

One of the biggest advantages of working and learning from home is having more time. We’ve transformed hours spent on commuting to the office into time for ourselves – but what should we do with it?

Investing in your future and learning something new is the best bet, and it will come back tenfold.

1. Take online courses

Technology has made nearly anything possible. In a matter of seconds, we connect with colleagues from every corner of the world and search for online classes on almost any topic.

With access to numerous learning platforms, we’re lucky to have the opportunity to finally start (and also finish) courses on programming, databases, AI, Azure, or any other skill that has been on the backburner. Personal development courses are also useful for brushing up on our soft skills.

The choices vary, from free online courses like Coursera or edX to more advanced classes that require some investment. Here are some of our recommended tools:

  • Pluralsight;
  • O’Reilly (formerly Safari Books Online);
  • RayWenderlich;
  • MindTools;
  • Udemy;

2. Learn a foreign language

Our colleagues and clients located on three continents appreciate linguistic diversity.

Working and learning from home - PentaKids Learn and Play

At Pentalog, our in-house teachers continued their activity through online courses.

Also, thanks to the newly implemented PentaKids “Learn and Play” remote language learning program, my colleagues can be sure their children learn English, French or German in a fun manner, from the safety of their own home.

3. Listen to audiobooks

Since we’re all spending more time at home, many of us found a new hobby that I call “Vacuum-reading.” It’s when you listen to an audiobook while vacuuming – but it works just as well while doing laundry, washing dishes, or doing any other household activity. How’s that for multi-tasking?

In terms of platforms, we’ve used Audible and Scribd.

Recently, a colleague recommended Blinkist – a book summarization app that I started using. It offers a quick outline of a book, good enough to get the main ideas and figure out if it’s worth investing the 10-16 hours needed for the whole read.

Want even more ideas?

  1. Start reading those books that have been waiting on the shelves.
  2. Dust off the guitar, piano or – why not? – your voice and express yourself musically, by singing alone or together with your loved ones.
  3. Borrow your kid’s paintbrushes or colored crayons and create your own modernist piece of art.
  4. Take 10 minutes per day to relax, meditate or work out.

Stay Positive

Although it’s difficult to grasp, any stressful situation has its advantages. It pushes us to embrace change and look for different perspectives.

We don’t know what the future holds: if telecommuting is a permanent change, we’ll return to work in our offices, or if a mixture of the two is the best course of action. But I’m sure of one thing: we’ll be proud to have used all of our skills and knowledge to overcome the challenges gracefully and with more confidence.

On a related topic, you can also read:
Work from Home Productivity Tips: Doing Your Best Work Ever


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