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14 tips to improve online Teaching

Here are 14 quick tips to make online teaching better, from Kyungmee Lee, an expert in online learning.

1. Record your lectures – don’t stream them

If students are unwell or are struggling with internet access, they will miss a live streamed lecture. Record videos instead and send them to your students so that they can watch in their own time.

2. Show your face

Researchhas shown that lecture videos that show instructors’ faces are more effective than simple narrated slideshows. Intersperse your slides with video of yourself.

3. Keep videos short

Videos longer than 15 minutescan cause issues of slow downloading and learner distraction. If you have more to say, record two or three short videos.

4. Test out slides

Make sure you test slides on a smartphone before shooting your lectures so all text is readable on small screens. Font sizes, colours, template designs and screen ratios can be double-checked.

5. Use existing resources …

It is unrealistic to expect that you, on your own, will produce a semester’s worth of high quality videos. You can use pre-developed resources available online and provide students with clickable links.

6. … and make sure they’re open access

Using open resourceshelps prevent access problems for students. If any of your suggested resources are not accessible, you will receive an inbox full of student emails and eventually waste all your time troubleshooting. Spending a few extra minutes carefully searching for fully open access materials will save you a headache later.

7. Give specific instructions

When you suggest online media which runs for longer than 15 minutes, students will be put off watching. Instead, suggest the exact parts they need (eg 13:35 to 16:28) as this can even make students more curious. When you provide more than two resources, label them in the order you want students to approach them. Simple numbering, based on the level of difficulty or importance of each resource item, can be of great help for your students.

8. Provide interactive activities

Most learning management systems, such as Moodle, Edmodo and Blackboard, include a range of functions to create interactive learning activities such as quizzes. Step-by-step guides to creating them are widely available online. Use them.

9. Set reasonable expectations

When you create quizzes, you should make sure all questions can be answered by referring to the given learning resources. When you ask students to write a summary of lecture videos, you should make it clear that this is not a serious report. Making this as a mandatory assignment but a low-stakestask will produce the best outcomes and responses from students. A set of 15 quiz questions or a 300-word limit will be sufficient to engage students for 30 minutes.

10. Use auto-checking to measure attendance

If you tell students that their attendance will be measured by their participation in a quiz, it will increase compliance. However, you won’t have time to check them all, so use the automatic checking and grading features on the learning management systems.

11. Use group communication carefully

Group communication shouldn’t be used for direct teaching. Instead, set up “virtual office hours” on a video conferencing tool like Zoom. Simply log in at the appointed time and wait for students. Focus on providing social support and checking if any issues need to be addressed immediately. This can be a great way to collect student feedback on your online teaching as well. Make meetings optional and be relaxed. No need to be frustrated when no one shows up: students are still happy to know that this option is available.

12. Let students take control

You can set up online group spacesfor small groups of students and ask them to support and consult with one another before sending emails to you directly. You can post a couple of questions to help students break the ice and start conversation. Encourage students to use the communication tools they prefer. Some groups will click well and some will not, but this little tip can make students feel socially supported and reduce your inbox traffic.

13. Don’t hide your feelings

Online teachers’ emotional opennessis a great instructional strategy. Tell your students that it is your first time teaching online and you are learning while teaching. Explicitly ask them to help you, reassuring them that you will do your very best to support their learning as well. They will be sympathetic since they share the same emotions, and you will be set up for success.

14. Repeat

Online students do not like frequent changesin their learning style. They are happy to repeat the same structure and activities. Once you find a teaching style working for you, feel free to repeat it each week until you are back in your classroom.

 

First published in theconversation.com by Kyungmee Lee, Lecturer in Technology Enhanced Learning, Lancaster University

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Tips and Ideas to help Parents working at home with Children

Working from home tips and ideas

Check out these tips from Parent Club – a Scottish Government website offering up-to-date guidance children’s health and education.

Coronavirus has affected everyone’s life and the changes we’ve all made still take some getting used to. This is especially true if you’ve been working from home while juggling your childcare responsibilities.

To try to help you keep up with your work and your kids, we’ve put together a few handy tips from parents who have been there. These vary from general tips that every parent can try out, to ones that are perfectly suited for your own child’s age group.

Tips for everyone

Tip #1: Stay flexible

There’s no magical system that will work for every family, so try different options to find one that works for yours. Even when you find your own special method, try to remember that it won’t work every time and some days will be tougher than others. However, if you’re a little flexible, you’ll soon find a way that works for both you and your kids, where everyone is getting things done most of the time.

Tip #2: Find your own quiet corner

Chances are, if you don’t usually work from home then you won’t have a nice space set up and ready for you! If you can, try to set aside somewhere in your home to be your work area. If you have younger children, this could be the corner of a room – so you can still keep an eye on them. Just be sure to let them know that this is a no-go area for them.

Tip #3: Prioritise & schedule

With the kids around, you’re not going to have as much time to dedicate to work, so it’s important to use this time wisely. Make a list of key tasks that you need to get through each day and try thinking about what important tasks you can do during quieter periods.

Tip #4: Teamwork

If you have a partner living with you, and you're both working from home during this time, try to agree a plan between you of when to spend time with the kids. This will mean that you’ll have time for work while the kids are also getting some much-needed attention from your partner and vice versa.

Tip #5: Embrace the change

Coronavirus is affecting everyone. You’re not the only one in this situation, and many of your co-workers may also be working from home with kids to look after too. So don’t try to juggle it all as though it’s ‘business as usual’. Let your line manager and colleagues know that you will be balancing childcare and home learning with work, and block time out in your calendar for this. 

You may need to change or even reduce your hours in order to manage – talk to your line manager if this is the case. You could also ask to be furloughed – there’s more information on this on the Working Families website.

Remember that this isn’t ‘business as usual’ and that you may not be as productive as you usually are – but that’s totally fine. We’re all in this together.

Tip #6: Me time

During this difficult period, you’re going to be multi-tasking on a completely new level and you’ll need a break yourself. If you can, try to take some time for yourself, even if it’s just for a cuppa or a quiet five minute break.

Tip #7: Get outside 

Now that the days are shorter it’s important that you get plenty of time outside. When you’re working from home you often have no reason to go out. But it’s very important that you spend at least a little time outside during daylight hours, as this can improve your mental and physical wellbeing.

Tip #8: Stay warm

It’s easy to get a bit chilly in the winter months, especially if you’re trying to keep the cost of heating bills as low as possible. Instead of having the boiler on 24/7 you can make sure you have a cosy jumper on and remember to keep the doors closed in the house. You could even make yourself a hot water bottle and sit with it on your knee! This will make a big difference and stop you reaching for the thermostat.

Extra tips for parents with babies (0 – 1 year old)

Working from home with a baby can be an incredibly difficult task. You’re already probably running on less sleep than you’re used to and your little one will need round-the-clock care. Now, on top of all that, you’re having to juggle work too. Here are a few tips specific to babies that might help you be a little more productive.

Tip #1: Take advantage of naptime/bedtime

Naptime can be a great time to get those more difficult tasks completed. Every baby will have its own pattern when it comes napping, but whether they have frequent short naps, or longer naps less often, these precious moments of quiet can be a great time to focus. However, if this is still proving to be difficult, and if you’re able to, try to hold off on doing more complicated tasks until the little one is in bed.

Tip #2: Enjoy the little moments

This is a stressful time for everyone as different worlds all collide in new ways, so it’s important to enjoy the little moments. Taking a quick break to get a little snuggle can really give you a little boost when you might need it most.

Tip #3: Wear that baby

If it helps you get time in front of your laptop, and your baby enjoys a little snuggle time, use a sling or baby carrier to keep them close to you while you work. Chances are, your colleagues will know that you have a baby, and if you have any video calls scheduled, your colleagues may delight in getting the chance to see your little one.

Tip #4: Multi-platform tools

If you are able to, look into working on multi-platform tools like Google Docs. This means that you can easily swap from the laptop to your mobile phone in the event you are trapped under a suddenly sleeping baby.

Tip #5: Dealing with crying babies

Dealing with a crying baby can be an emotionally draining experience for any parent, especially if you are unsure why they are crying in the first place. You can check out our why is my baby crying page, for some excellent tips on how to soothe your little one.

Extra tips for parents with toddlers (1 – 3 years old)

Working from home with a toddler can sometimes be a particular challenge for parents. At this time in their lives, toddlers are able to communicate with their parents, but not completely understand the world around them. These extra tips might be able to help you deal with this wonderful, but challenging, period in their development.

Tip #1: Take advantage of naptime

At this stage, your kids may now be having longer, more regular naptimes, and you can use these to your advantage. For example, this might be a great time to arrange that important conference call.

Tip #2: Enjoy the little moments

Your kids are more likely to be more settled and play happily and quietly after they have had some quality time with you. So, taking some time out regularly throughout the day to spend with your child means you’re more likely to get peaceful moments in between to concentrate on your work.

Tip #3: A little undivided attention can go a long way

If your toddler is trying to get your attention, there’s a pretty good chance they aren’t going to stop until they get it. Try to find time to put down the work and give your little one the attention they need and deserve. After a little undivided attention from you, your toddler is much more likely to get on with some independent play – and let you get back to the laptop.

Tip #4: The favourite toy

If your little one has a favourite toy that they just can’t get enough of, then try keeping this for those "must concentrate" moments. Chances are, they’ll be happy to get their number one friend, and you’ll get some much needed time to focus on work.

Extra tips for parents with children (4 – 8 years old)

At this age there is still plenty you can do to keep kids occupied if they're not able to go to school. From getting them to help around the house to scheduling virtual playdates, here are a few extra tips to help you out.

Tip #1: Mix it up

Keep things fresh, new and exciting by mixing up activities with your kids. You can switch between options such as screen time, games, puzzles and arts and crafts to keep them occupied while you get time to concentrate on work. And if you have time for a quick break, you can even join in!

Tip #2: To-do lists

To-do lists can be a great way for you to keep on top of work duties, but they can also be a great way to keep your kids occupied and engaged. Get them to make their own to-do lists filled with everything from playing different games to tidying up and even helping around the house. If your kids aren’t quite able to write yet, why not get them to draw their to-do list instead?

Tip #3: Virtual playdates

Outside of school hours, scheduling virtual play dates can be a great way to keep the kids occupied while you try to do some work. Even though they can now see their friends more, they’ll still love the chance to catch up with them online.

Tip #4: Movie time

One great way to keep the little ones occupied during an important call or task you need to complete is to put on their favourite film. Yes, you may be watching it for the millionth time now, but it’s a good chance to keep the kids settled when you need it most.

Tip #5: Set expectations & rewards

If you have something important you need to concentrate on, or a call you need them to be quiet during, then tell your little one exactly this. They won’t always listen to you of course, but if they do, make sure you praise them for doing such a good job. That way they are more likely to keep doing this next time.

Tips for parents with pre-teens (9+ years old)

At this age, if your kids are not able to go to school they may be missing their friends, and it’s understandable that they might get a little frustrated by this. Unfortunately, you don’t have the opportunity to fall back on the long forgotten ‘nap time’ but there are still a few things you can try to help your day go a little easier.

Tip #1: Mix it up

Keep things fresh, new and exciting by mixing up activities with your kids. You can switch between options such as screen time, board games, jigsaw puzzles and arts and crafts to keep them occupied while you get time to concentrate on work – and if you have time for a quick break, you can even join in! Their school should also have sent some activities for them to complete, so make sure time is set aside to work on these too.

Tip #2: Haven’t you always wanted a Personal Assistant?

As your kids are a little older, there’s no reason you can’t get them to help lighten your load and ease the pressure. Need someone to sort your paperwork, take notes for you, or perhaps help tidy around the house? Problem solved! The kids will also feel like they are helping too.

Tip #3: To-do lists

To-do lists can be a great way for you to keep on top of work duties, but they can also be a great way to keep your kids occupied and engaged. Get them to make their own to-do lists filled with everything from playing different games to tidying up and even helping around the house.

Tip #4: Communication fun

Give them a pile of post it notes, or create a suggestion box together – there are lots of fun ways that your kids can communicate with you during this difficult time. That way, they can write down those ‘must know’ questions for you to answer when you’re free.

Tip #5: Loosen up screen time rules

Everyone in your home will be going through this stressful period in their own way, but it can help to temporarily loosen some of the rules you had in place back when things were a little less crazy. Trying things like loosening up screen time rules can be a good way to keep the kids occupied while you take care of a particularly tricky task. You can get them to stay in touch with friends or family through video calling – which might also help them understand that everyone is going through this difficult time.

Extra tips for dealing with multiple children

If you have more than one child, then it’s likely that they’ll start arguing at some point during the day – usually just when you are trying to do something important! Here are a couple of extra tips to help with those moments.

Tip #1: Private space

If you can, try to give each of your children their own private place where they can calm down and play with their own things. It’s helpful to keep a box here with some activities you know help to them relax. When they start getting cross with each other, get them to go to their own space and play.

Tip #2: One to one time 

If possible, try to spend a little quality time alone with each of your children – it can really make a difference. If they’re a bit older, you could ask them what they’d like to do with you during this special one to one time. From reading a little of their favourite book, to doing some drawing together or playing a board game, this is a perfect chance to chat to them and make them feel special, meaning they are less likely to get as wound up during the day.

Click here for more from Parent Club.

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THE REDUNDANCY SUPPORT SERVICE FOR APPRENTICES

Facing redundancy during your apprenticeship

The coronavirus pandemic has caused some organisations to make redundancies, leaving enthusiastic, hardworking apprentices without an employer.  If you’re facing redundancy, we’re here to support you as you get ready to take the next step in your career.

THE REDUNDANCY SUPPORT SERVICE FOR APPRENTICES

To support apprentices who have been made redundant or think they might be in the future, we’ve launched the Redundancy Support Service for Apprentices. You can call 0800 015 0400 to get free advice, find new opportunities, and access local and national support services offering financial, health and wellbeing, legal and careers advice.

You can also read our guidance for apprentices affected by redundancy. There’s advice for finding alternative employment, plus information about financial support and talking to someone about how you’re coping.

To search and apply for apprenticeship opportunities, head over to Find an apprenticeship.

LOOKING FOR NEW OPPORTUNITIES 

Some employers are hiring apprentices who have been made redundant during the pandemic. Where this is possible, you could continue to earn while learning valuable skills, setting you up for a range of exciting career options.

If you’ve been made redundant or think you might be made redundant in the future, you should contact your training provider. They may be able to offer support in finding new employment and completing your apprenticeship training.

You can also use our new vacancy sharing service to find employers who are interested in hiring redundant apprentices. Once you’ve signed up, we'll share regular updates to let you know which employers have opportunities available in your area.

FIND ANOTHER APPRENTICESHIP

STAYING SAFE AT WORK

Check the workplace safety guidance  to find out what you can do to help keep your workplace safe and what you should expect from your employer. 

You can also take a look at the safer travel guidance to find out how to stay safe on your commute.

RESOURCES Find another apprenticeship Guidance for apprentices affected by redundancy Guidance for working safely during coronavirus Safer travel guidance    
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Don’t fear the floodgates: help your staff find flex that works for all

With many people planning to ask for permanent flexible working, leaders have the chance to be proactive and encourage positive conversations. Our free toolkit for employees will help.

It’s becoming clear that, when the workplace gets back to ‘normal’, it won’t look like it did before. The crisis has challenged the concept of the office being the best place to work. And employees in all kinds of roles, whether office-based, frontline or elsewhere, have seen for themselves the benefits of working flexibly or reducing their hours.

The knock-on effect of this is an increase in demand for permanent flexibility. A recent survey suggested that 13 million people plan to request changes to their long-term pattern once the crisis has subsided.

Is this something employers should fear? On the contrary, we believe this is a catalyst that will change workplaces for the better. And so instead of worrying about opening the floodgates, leaders and managers should see this as an opportunity to be proactive, and encourage their staff to explore their options in a way that will work for the business.

Share our free toolkit with your employees

It’s for this reason that we’ve created a free toolkit for employees, Beyond lockdown: How to negotiate flexible working, for the long-term . It’s part of our free Covid-19 support programme, and will help individuals understand the different flexible working options, explore which best match their role, and think through the impact on their team and the wider organisation.

Sharing this toolkit with your employees will help them consider the issues and potential solutions before they bring their request to their managers, which should lead to really positive conversations. It will also encourage them to ask for a flexible working pattern that benefits the business as well as themselves.

And critically, being proactive about offering this support will demonstrate that you’re a forward-looking, proactive employer who puts staff wellbeing at the heart of your strategy. In the post-Covid landscape, where organisations may be judged on their response to the crisis, that’s a powerful position to be in.

Our free Covid-19 programme is supported by Barclays LifeSkills and Trust for London.

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Check how to return to work safely

Check how to return to work safely

Most workplaces have re-opened. If your workplace is open, you can return to work but your employer must make arrangements for you to work safely.

This guidance is only for England. There is different guidance for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

If your workplace is open

If you, or anyone in your household, currently has symptoms of coronavirus then you must not go to work.

If you’re currently on furlough you can stay on furlough, until your employer asks you to return to work. The furlough scheme ends on 31 October 2020.

If you’re worried about going back to work, you can:

read guidance from Citizens Advice about staying safe at work check if you can make flexible work arrangements with your employer (for example working part-time, or working from home) get advice on flexible working from ACAS get advice on looking after your mental health from the NHS

If you have a disability or health condition you should talk to your employer about whether you need any reasonable adjustments.

If your employer is not taking all practical steps to promote social distancing, you can report this to your local authority, or the Health and Safety Executive(HSE). The HSE can require your employer to take additional steps where appropriate.

You can check what your rights are if:

you think you’re being discriminated against you are pregnant and have concerns about returning to work If your workplace is closed to the public

The following businesses must remain closed by law:

nightclubs, dance halls, discotheques sexual entertainment venues and hostess bars

You can return to work if your employer has work for you even if the business is closed. For example, if you’re an accountant working for a dance hall, or a cleaner at a nightclub, you can still do your work while your workplace is closed to the public.

Local restrictions

If you’re in an area affected by a coronavirus outbreak, check what you can and cannot do.

If you’re clinically extremely vulnerable

You can go to work as long as your workplace is covid-secure, but you should carry on working from home if possible. You no longer need to shield.

If you cannot work from home, you should be offered the safest available roles at work so you can maintain social distancing. You might be able to do an alternative role or adjust your working pattern temporarily.

You should follow the guidance on staying safe outside your home because you’re still at risk of severe illness if you catch coronavirus.

Find more information on what has changed and what you can do if you’re clinically extremely vulnerable.

If you need help with childcare or dependants

If you need to take time off to look after your children or dependents you might be able to:

take unpaid parental leave make a flexible working request

You might be able to get help with childcare costs.

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Try these beginner yoga poses to relieve your back pain

  Chloe Kennedy18 Aug 2020  

Back pain is often caused by injury, bad posture, a poor mattress or a medical condition, but yoga can help relieve the agony of back pain, improve your posture and boost your mood.

Yoga doesn’t cure back pain but there are certain yoga poses you can try to help manage the pain and discomfort. In this blog, we’re going to be looking at the benefits of yoga for back pain and explain some beginner poses to relieve your back pain. For more information about the different types of yoga, we’ve written a little guide to help you decide which style is right for you. Check it out here.

What are the benefits of yoga for back pain?

Yoga improves your posture and helps to strengthen and lengthen the muscles that support the spine. Improving your strength will put less strain on your back, reducing back pain. Another benefit is the physical and mental relaxation you feel when practising restorative yoga in particular. Calming your mind and body kick starts the body’s nervous system and promotes natural healing.

Side Plank

The side plank primarily strengthens the oblique muscles which are located either side of the abdomen, providing a great core workout. A strong core will help balance your abdomen and support your lower back, protecting your spine and easing back pain.

1. Begin by lying on your right side with your left leg stacked onto of your right.

2. Place your right hand on the floor away from you and slowly lift your hips towards the ceiling.

3. Raise your left arm towards the ceiling forming a T with your arms. You should form a straight line from your shoulders to your heels. Hold the pose for 30-60 seconds.

4. Repeat with the opposite side.

Downward-Facing Dog

The downward-facing dog is a powerful pose for beginners, offering a number of benefits. This pose strengthens and lengthens every one of your muscles leaving you feeling energised, plus it’s great for the back! Practising the downward dog stretches the length of the spine which not only feels fantastic, it brings more oxygen into the body.

1. Start on your hands and knees with your back straight, hands shoulder-width apart, knees under hips and toes tucked.

2. Press into your palms and lift your knees off the ground and straighten your legs as best as you can, keeping your feet flat and pressed into the ground.

3. Your shoulders should extend beyond your ears and upper arms down towards the ground.

Bridge Pose

The bridge pose is commonly used to stretch and strengthen the back and abdominal muscles while opening the lungs and chest. This pose can help alleviate lower back pain and improve your posture.

1. Start by lying flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Ensure your arms are beside you with your palms flat on the ground.

2. Press your feet and arms firmly into the floor and slowly lift your hips towards the ceiling.

3. Draw your tailbone towards your pubic bone and keep yourself off the floor.

4. Roll your shoulders back and underneath your body while clasping your hands and extend your arms along the floor, pressing them into your mat.

Upward-Facing Dog

The Upward-Facing Dog pose provides a deep stretch targeting the entire spine and front torso. Strengthening the upper body promotes a healthy spine and improves posture and flexibility of the back reducing lower back pain.

1. Start by lying face-down on your mat with your legs extended and feet resting on the mat but don’t tuck your toes.

2. Place your palms on the floor alongside your body next to your lower ribs.

3. Breathe in as you press through your hands and arms, lifting your torso and legs a few inches off the floor.

4. Hold the pose for 30 seconds as you press through the tops of your feet.

Child’s Pose

Child’s Pose is a restorative yoga pose which allows you to stretch out the back of the body helping to relieve back pain. This pose is beneficial for people who spend the majority of their day sitting or standing in one position.

1. Start by kneeling on your mat with your knees hip-width apart and your feet together behind you.

2. Breathe in and exhale as you lay your torso over your thighs and extend your arms in front of you, resting your palms on the floor.

3. Gently rest your forehead on the ground and hold the pose for as long as you’d like while focusing on your breathing.

Seated Spinal Twist Pose

Another example of a restorative pose is the seated spinal twist. This pose promotes good digestion and encourages spinal mobility which can help relieve lower back pain. This pose is often performed towards the end of a sequence.

1. Start by sitting upright on your mat with both legs out straight.

2. Bend your right knee and place the sole of your right foot over your left leg as close to your thigh as you can.

3. Bring your left arm through your right leg and hold with your right hand round your back while sitting up straight and twist to the right.

4. Extend your spine and concentrate on your breathing while you hold the pose for around a minute.

We keep our Live Healthy Blog updated regularly with useful articles for you to enjoy and when you take out a policy with us we will give you free access to our 24/7 Health and Wellbeing services, which offers additional benefits to you and your family. Click the link to get a free private health insurance quote today.

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Zapier's Suddenly Remote Starter Kit

The ultimate guide to remote work

Zapier is a 100% distributed company with over 300 remote employees in 17 time zones and 28 countries. Whether you work remotely all the time or you've been thrust into it recently, we have tips that will help you thrive. Start with our answers to your remote work FAQs, and then dig deeper below.

Remote work topics

We've divided our tips for remote work into seven categories. Click on the category you need help with, or scroll down for a list of all of our articles.

Automation for remote work Teamwork on a remote team Remote work for managers Remote work for employees Remote workspaces Remote work tools The state of remote work

 

Automation for remote work

These articles will give you ideas for how to automate remote work processes. You can use them to streamline your work and stay connected from home.

New to remote work? Try these automated workflows. Build culture in your remote team with automation

 

Teamwork on a remote team

When you're not sitting a few feet from your coworkers, communication and collaboration don't come as naturally. Here we have tips for how to work together on your remote team.

How to brainstorm remotely 7 strategies for running effective remote meetings 5 tips for communicating on a remote team How to make small talk when working remotely (without being weird) Remote team activities: how to have fun when you work from home How to collaborate across time zones Why remote work makes disagreement hard—and how to do it anyway Remote design: How Zapier is building a distributed design culture How to work in different timezones

 

Remote work for managers

Managing remotely is about building trust and a culture of accountability. Here are some tips for how to manage remote workers.

7 tips for managing remote employees How to build trust on a remote team Why remote work shouldn't mean micromanaging—and what to do instead How to transition to remote work in a hurry Friday updates: Why we do it and how you can too How to build culture in a remote team A guide to onboarding remote employees How to manage a remote team How to hire a remote team How successful remote teams evaluate employees: A look inside Automattic, GitHub, and Help Scout How to run a company retreat for a remote team Add remote workers to your business continuity plan

 

Remote work for employees

If you're worried about productivity in remote work, these articles will give you strategies to be sure you're getting things done when working from home.

Want to keep working from home? Here's how to ask. How to survive on a Slack that's way too busy When should you mute yourself during a video call? Beyond 9 to 5: A glimpse into some unusual work from home schedules Don't work too much when you work from home Here's what happens when you work from home without a routine 18 work from home tips other companies won't tell you 3 things I learned in my first year of remote work How to avoid burnout in a remote team How to thrive as an extrovert on a remote team Lessons learned from working remotely as an accountant The remote work survival guide The 7 biggest remote work challenges—and how to overcome them Be productive anywhere: 8 proven strategies for better remote work How to work faster in a remote team  How to build strong relationships in a remote team

 

Remote workspaces

If you're used to working in an office, working from home can throw you for a loop. Here you can read about how to make your home office—or wherever you're working—the most productive space possible.

Beyond your desk: why you need a secondary workspace How to find your optimal work environment and boost productivity This is what a remote office looks like How to work at a coffee shop like a pro

 

Remote work tools

When working remotely, you'll need more apps than you're used to—to stay connected and get things done efficiently. Here are some tips for remote work tools.

Introducing: Zappy by Zapier, a screenshot tool for macOS that helps your team share what you see in a snap. With easy-to-use annotation tools, Zappy can help you collaborate with your teammates fast. Quickly capture and share screenshots, GIFs, and recordings for free. Learn more about Zappy.

The best online whiteboards The best video conferencing apps for teams Video conferencing software showdown: Zoom vs. GoToMeeting 10 tips and tricks for Zoom Google Meet vs. Google Hangouts vs. Google Chat The best screen sharing software Work from home apps: The 15 tools we use most at Zapier The remote workers' toolkit: 30+ productivity apps and tools Remote working: 8 items for every remote worker's wish list

 

The state of remote work

Remote work is growing in popularity. Read about the state of remote work and how it benefits workers.

5 remote work tips college students can use this year The remote work report by Zapier The benefits of remote work for women Are remote workers happier than office employees?

 

Finding remote work

Looking to find a remote work job? Here are some tips to get you going in the right direction.

How to find and get hired for a remote job 25+ fully remote companies that let you work from anywhere Recommended reading The best blog posts, articles, and resources on remote work Remote meets co-located: How Batchbook builds culture with blended work styles 5 reasons to read REMOTE, even if you aren't a remote team Recommended viewing

This video is a recording of an AMA, hosted by Zapier CEO, Wade Foster, about how to transition to remote work in a hurry. You can read the main takeaways in the blog post as well: How to transition to remote work in a hurry

Below, you'll see the table of contents for our Ultimate Guide to Remote Work here on the Zapier Learning Center. All of the content from that guide is also listed above.

 

Table of Contents How to Manage a Remote Team How to hire a remote team How to build culture in a remote team How Successful Remote Teams Evaluate Employees: A Look inside Automattic, GitHub, and Help Scout How to Build Strong Relationships in a Remote Team How to Run a Company Retreat for a Remote Team This is What a Remote Office Looks Like How to Work Faster in a Remote Team How to Find Your Optimal Work Environment and Boost Productivity The pros and cons of working across time zones: What to expect when you work in a distributed company How to Avoid Burnout in a Remote Team How to Thrive as an Extrovert on a Remote Team How to Find and Get Hired for a Remote Job The remote worker's toolkit: The 15 tools you need to work remotely A Special Thanks To Those Who Share: The Best Blog Posts, Articles and Resources on Remote Work Download this Book

Get this book in a variety of formats, plus other great content from Zapier!

Download in PDF format (13.3 MB) Download in ePub format (12.8 MB) Download in MOBI format (23.7 MB) Download in Combined ZIP format (49.4 MB) Credits

Written by Wade Foster, with content from Danny Schreiber, Matthew Guay, Melanie Pinola, Bethany Hills, Alison Groves, Jeremey DuVall, and Belle Cooper. Edited by Danny Schreiber, Matthew Guay, and Melanie Pinola. Last updated on March 30, 2019. Cover art by Stephanie Briones.

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Salary Negotiation for Women in the Workplace

Salary Negotiation for Women in the Workplace

Build the professional negotiation skills you need to secure the salary increase – and self-belief – you deserve at work.

 

Nurture your confidence and power as a woman in the workplace

This course will help you to supercharge your resilience and confidence at work as a woman and hone your negotiations skills so that you can negotiate the maximum pay rise that you deserve.

In our patriarchal society, when women behave the same as men at work they often face harsher penalties due to outdated expectations of gender roles and harmful stereotypes perpetuated in the media.

Enhance your workplace negotiation skills

To stay motivated at work it’s vital that you earn what you’re worth, but likeability penalty research has shown that when women are assertive in negotiations they face harsher penalties.

Enhance your workplace negotiation skills

To stay motivated at work it’s vital that you earn what you’re worth, but likeability penalty research has shown that when women are assertive in negotiations they face harsher penalties.

Whether you’re a freelancer or work within a company structure, this course will help you to build on your past experiences and identify your market value.

You’ll learn how to use your experience to gain bargaining power and identify how external factors can help you build your case to raise your salary and earn your market rate.

Earn the salary increase you deserve

Studies show at the current pace of change it would take over one hundred years to close the gender pay gap.

Led by experts at Hustle Crew, who are on a mission towards equality and inclusivity in tech, you’ll build the confidence to have tough conversations about your worth at work, how to navigate your course of action when things don’t go your way, and how to make sure you win the pay rise you’re worth.

What topics will you cover?

Part 1: Preparation

What’s your motivation, desired outcome? Reflect on past experiences. Your market value? Bargaining power? The other side of the table: research external factors to get to yes! What’s your upper and lower limit? BATNA: Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement. Could be where you are now, where nothing changes.

Part 2: Practice

t’s important to rehearse and anticipate blockers: Write down your plan Identify flash points, practice responding to: We have no budget We don’t negotiate on this You will have to wait X months Rehearse, debrief, repeat Nurture your power and confidence

Part 3: Execution

Imagine your negotiation conversation is like match day, you need all the elements to come together to win: Timing Likeability factor and The Smile Game: “be relentlessly pleasant” Silence = power. Wait when you drop your number Didn’t hear no? Aiming too low… Why you should aim high, and why it’s important to justify that with data It’s only over when you decide. It may be no for now… but in a few month’s time?

Start today by with Future Learn 

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All Change: Where next for Apprenticeships? Resources collection

Learning and Work Institute curated an essay collection with leading experts setting out ways to improve the quality of apprenticeships and ensure fair access to training.

The Government’s apprenticeship reforms are the biggest in a generation and include the Apprenticeship Levy, a payroll tax on large employers with the money ring-fenced for apprenticeships. One year in, the number of apprenticeship starts is down 25%, leaving the government increasingly off target for its aim of three million starts by 2020.

In the new essay collection, Rt Hon Robert Halfon MP, Chair of the Education Select Committee, calls for half of young people going to higher education to be apprentices and for part of the Levy to be set aside to help prepare people for apprenticeships.

Other essays highlight stark inequalities in access to apprenticeships. Apprenticeship applications from people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds are half as likely to succeed as applications from white backgrounds. Women made up only 600 of 17,500 engineering apprenticeships.

The new report calls for urgent action to tackle these inequalities and boost quality. Ideas for change include devolution so cities and local areas have greater control; an Apprentice Premium to better support under-represented groups; and requiring all apprenticeship standards to meet the world’s best.

Download the resources from the Learning & Work Institute 

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Menopause in the workplace - why it’s so important

Menopause and work. What does one have to do with the other?

Sometimes nothing. And it would be great if that was always the case. Some women sail through their menopause with barely a symptom, but it’s not an easy transition for all.

By talking about it openly, raising awareness and putting the right support in place, perhaps we could get to a point where menopause is no longer an issue in the workplace at all.

But, today, it’s hidden with potentially significant consequences for both employees and employers.

The scale of the issue

According to Professor Jo Brewis, co-author Government Report on Menopause, ‘menopausal women are the fastest growing workforce demographic’, which is highlighted by the Office of National Statistics.

We could quote lots of statistics and surveys, but just taking a few, the situation starts to reveal itself:

Menopausal women are the fastest growing demographic in the workforce. The average age for a woman to go through menopause is 51. It can be earlier than this, naturally or due to surgery, or illness. And symptoms may start years before menopause, during the perimenopause phase. According to the Faculty of Occupational Medicine (FOM), nearly 8 out of 10 of menopausal women are in work. 3 out of 4 women experience symptoms, 1 in 4 could experience serious symptoms. One in three of the workforce will soon be over 50, and retirement ages are now 68. There have already been successful employment tribunals against employers.

Menopause has always been around but menopausal women are now the fastest growing workforce demographic. A more compelling picture starts to emerge.

We’re an ageing population, with fewer new entrants from education joining the workforce, organisations need to look after their ‘older’ workers to have the talent they need to run their businesses.

Fellow co-author of The Government Report on menopause, Dr Andrea Davies, added ‘Menopause and work – it’s a two-way street. Work is good for menopausal women. It contributes far more than just a salary, it can provide fulfilment, self-esteem, identity and social needs too. But working environments like those with lack of temperature control, cramped conditions, some uniforms and stress can also make menopause symptoms worse’.

How menopause can impact on work

All women experience menopause differently. Symptoms can be physical, such as hot flushes, headaches, poor sleep and erratic periods, or psychological, such as anxiety, low mood, lack of confidence and poor concentration. We’ve found that most people are surprised at the range of symptoms.

The FOM say that almost half of women don’t seek medical advice and the majority of women don’t feel comfortable talking about menopause with their line managers. We’ve found this to be true at our colleague awareness sessions.

It could be the current negative perception of menopause and some women being embarrassed to talk about it. And/or the general lack of accurate knowledge and women not being aware that what they are experiencing is due to fluctuating hormones during the menopause.

We’ve found that when women do understand the symptoms and ways to manage them, their lives (and work) can get back to normal quickly.

Alarmingly, in some cases menopausal symptoms can lead to women leaving their jobs. In fact one in four consider it, according to the Wellbeing of Women survey in 2016.

That’s not good for them and not good for their employer.

What this means for line managers

Many line managers tell us that they don’t feel confident talking about menopause. They don’t know enough about it or how they can help. Unlike maternity where it’s usually clear: a woman gets pregnant, has antenatal appointments, hands in her MAT B1, goes on maternity, has a baby and returns to work.

It may be more complicated for menopause, every woman’s experience is different. This means that managers need training to understand the range of possibilities and have guidance on the support that their organisation can provide to help.

It’s usually simple, low-cost support, like a desk fan or time off to visit their GP, that helps. Or even just the opportunity to talk about it.

Line managers don’t need to be menopause experts

A line manager recently told us that he felt uncomfortable talking about menopause because he didn’t know enough about HRT. When we explained that he probably didn’t know enough about an epidural but could do a maternity meeting, he felt happier knowing that his role was to support his team member, following his organisation’s policies.

How a woman manages her menopause symptoms is between her and her GP or menopause specialist, unless it’s affecting her work or she wants to talk about it.

Line managers don’t need to be medical experts, nor should they be. A good level of knowledge, understanding how they can support and how to have a good, supportive conversation makes a big difference.

What this means for organisations

What employers can do is what you’d expect of any employer who wants to attract and retain a diverse and inclusive workforce. This starts with creating the environment to talk about menopause openly and without embarrassment. It is a natural phase in every woman’s life that needs to be normalised.

Our experience proves that it is possible to bring this hidden subject out into the open relatively easily with the right approach. Many organisations already are, both public and private sector – large and small. Leading the way like HSBC UK, Sainsbury’s Group, Next PLC, Aviva, ATOS, Southeastern Railways, Carnival UK, many NHS Trusts and universities. They’re following best practice, seeing the benefits and how quickly a once taboo subject can be normalised.

The Government Equalities Report on Menopause highlights the need for employers to put in place training, processes and information so all colleagues have a clear understanding of menopause. Whether it’s a policy or guidance document – it’s best if it’s written down and well publicised.

The report recommends introducing a range of reasonable adjustments. These are usually straightforward and simple to implement, such as a desktop fan or extra uniform, or even flexible working.

Our experience is that many organisations already have more in place than they might think. Sometimes it’s a few tweaks, and linking them together to demonstrate how they work for menopausal women.

The FOM 2016 guidelines Guidance on menopause and the workplace also recommend workplace training, raising awareness of menopause at work and introducing an array of workable solutions.

They also advocate fostering an environment in which women feel comfortable and confident talking to their managers, where managers follow clear and coherent guidelines and direct women to occupational health, if necessary.

Reducing employee relations issues

Short-term investment can prevent long-term issues. Two menopause-related tribunals have already been found in favour of the employee. It’s highly likely there are more to come. Menopause is covered under the Equality Act 2010, and can be on the grounds of sex, age or disability discrimination.

Employers never want issues to get this far, and taking steps to provide support to women can help protect them from legal entanglements.

Financial benefits to organisations

We’ve worked with, supported and talked to over 100 organisations in the last year. The outcomes have been clear benefits to employees and the employer.

Considering the relatively small investment in activity, the financial payback would be quick considering the following:

The cost of recruitment to replace women who leave the business, according to Oxford Economics, is more than £25,000 for a person earning £30,000 a year, including direct recruitment costs and bringing a new member of the team up to speed.

Cost of absence. According to the Office of National Statistics, the groups who experienced the highest rates of sickness absence included older women and those working in large organisations.

Cost of employee relations issues or tribunals. The average cost of defending a tribunal case is £8,500 which doesn’t include the cost of any awards or the claimant’s legal fees, if won. On top of this is the distraction in the business and reputational risks.

Menopause and work: support is good for employers

These are clear, compelling reasons for supporting menopausal women in the workplace. It supports an inclusive culture and is good for colleagues. It’s a win-win for all.

We’re tracking the results with universities and organisations but anecdotal feedback already tells us that this is an investment that will return in the short and longer term.

Many women continue working through their menopause and for many years beyond. It is best practice for employers to provide the right support through their menopause transition. Colleagues will thank you for it too, so it’s good for retention, motivation and loyalty.

And it will help with recruitment. Some employers tell us, they consider it good for their employment brand and part of future-proofing their businesses.

Download the free checklist from Menopause in the workplace today