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Stay Sharp During the Covid-19 Lockdown

Very often, we find that life doesn’t go as planned. There may be sudden changes in employment status, unexpected illness or injury, or even something as unexpected as the novel coronavirus crisis. Several countries around the world have announced nationwide lockdowns and  large organizations  have set a mandate for their teams to work remotely to combat the spread of COVID-19. Some are better equipped than others to deal with prolonged periods of disruption from their regular working routines. Many may perceive times such as these as “speed-bumps” to their professional development. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can leverage on remote learning to make best of the circumstances and forge ahead professionally.  The reality of being remote Remote work has become the norm during these days of the lockdown across countries. While it has been largely accepted as a practice within the technology industry, it comes with its pros and cons.  On one hand, remote workers can be more productive, waste less time in commute and be less likely to spread illnesses, have less of a negative impact on the environment and overall feel more fulfilled. However, they can find it harder to communicate and engage with others about the latest technologies. Many a time, they can find themselves stuck with a problem without teammates around to bounce off ideas or solutions. Communication and collaboration take way more energy to initiate and coordinate, which also makes them a lot less likely to occur. How does this relate to remote learning? Replacing inherent social structures of a physical office, team stand-ups and in-person collaboration with tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams and Proofhub, knowledge sharing and learning new things can become much harder. If we aren’t careful, remote work can quickly lead to isolation and knowledge silos. Worse even, our skills can become irrelevant, outdated and unpolished. Opportunities for learning and skill development Thankfully, there are some solutions to these problems. There are several ways to grow your skills remotely and build momentum in your professional growth. You can continue to stay industry-relevant and connected with the technology development world even while remote. Here are some ways you can effectively learn and grow while working remotely on a short-term or long-term basis. Find your tribe on Social Media Consuming volumes of information online on Covid-19 can drain one’s mental health. Instead, use this opportunity to find your community on various channels. It is not a surprise that most of us tend to give our best work when our ideas are heard and valued. Finding a larger community not only helps in discussing such ideas, it creates a sense of oneness, at a crucial time like this.Twitter, for instance, can be used to open a conversation for any technical questions with several responses and as much helpful information as possible.  Get active on platforms or forums such as LinkedIn Groups and Facebook Groups to connect with individuals of similar interests. Build your network on professional platforms like LinkedIn, AngelList and several other open forums. Seek counselling or counsel others in your area of expertise. Having a community to remain connected with helps us stay passionate and challenge ourassumptions, giving us the benefit of everyone else’s continued learning and growth.   Beat the mundane with podcasts and audiobooks Podcasts and audiobook have been around for quite some time now, and many listen to these during their commutes. With remote working, though there are no such commutes, that does not have to stop one from listening to podcasts all the same. Instead, listen to these handy hands-free resources while working on chores. Find podcasts in whatever area interests you.  There are several high-quality podcasts on leadership, business and communication as well as future technologies, project management, data science and  programming. These are invaluable resources freely available for you to benefit from, especially at times like these.  Reskill and upskill from home According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the growth rate of the global economyhas declined to  slowest rate since 2009  due to the coronavirus outbreak. The IT industry is said to be the most impacted by this slump, with projects being shelved  at least until 2021.  Against such a backdrop, it becomes even more imperative to focus on reskilling and upskilling wherever you are.  Utilize the quiet environment to consume dedicated learning content without distractions. Online videos can help you stay connected and inspired even while separated. Live instructor-led modules enable more engagement and when paired with hands-on practice and assessments, it can be a great combination to reinforce practical skills for the future of work. Preparing for the post-digital transformation era, you can now stay abreast of the latest trends in fields like data science and big data analytics. Businesses are increasingly investing in a mobile-first approach, which helps them accelerate new product rollouts. This is in turn increasing the demand for full stack developers. Globalization, despite the slow growth, has opened up opportunities for new-age project managers across sectors and geographies. The ones with certifications will be equipped to take the lead especially in times of such crises. Consistent learning effort adds up over time and helps you stay connected, aware and enthusiastic about the latest technologies and skills. Dig deep with books and blogs Books teach you to a greater depth and help you cross reference. Learn new ways of doing things and in greater depth while always having a reference point to get back to. Buy a few books related to topics you’re interested in, then keep them around for a rainy day. Read a section over lunch, or even just a couple of paragraphs during short breaks. Books can teach you new ways of doing things, help you learn things over time at a greater depth, and serve as a reference point when you are stuck. For those who prefer reading online, there are umpteen amounts of resources or blogs that can be used for personal growth and professional development.  Using remote learning to impact your future Working remotely can be stressful, frustrating, demoralizing and isolating. But it can also be one of the best opportunities to turn lemons into lemonade from a career development perspective. According to a recent Tech Jury  survey, e-learning increased retention rates by 25% to 60%. That’s double the learning in a compact time, at almost half the cost! In this age of technological disruption and digital transformation, 'upskill or perish’ is the new truth. But out of crisis comes opportunity. Make the best of the lockdown while you gain new skills and greater confidence that can eventually lead you to seek growth and leadership.  Use your time well and it will open the doors to many opportunities you may not otherwise have. 
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Stay Sharp During the Covid-19 Lockdown

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Stay Sharp During the Covid-19 Lockdown

Very often, we find that life doesn’t go as planned. There may be sudden changes in employment status, unexpected illness or injury, or even something as unexpected as the novel coronavirus crisis. Several countries around the world have announced nationwide lockdowns and  large organizations  have set a mandate for their teams to work remotely to combat the spread of COVID-19. 

Some are better equipped than others to deal with prolonged periods of disruption from their regular working routines. Many may perceive times such as these as “speed-bumps” to their professional development. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can leverage on remote learning to make best of the circumstances and forge ahead professionally.  

The reality of being remote 

Remote work has become the norm during these days of the lockdown across countries. While it has been largely accepted as a practice within the technology industry, it comes with its pros and cons.  

On one hand, remote workers can be more productive, waste less time in commute and be less likely to spread illnesses, have less of a negative impact on the environment and overall feel more fulfilled. However, they can find it harder to communicate and engage with others about the latest technologies. Many a time, they can find themselves stuck with a problem without teammates around to bounce off ideas or solutions. Communication and collaboration take way more energy to initiate and coordinate, which also makes them a lot less likely to occur. 

How does this relate to remote learning? Replacing inherent social structures of a physical office, team stand-ups and in-person collaboration with tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams and Proofhub, knowledge sharing and learning new things can become much harder. If we aren’t careful, remote work can quickly lead to isolation and knowledge silos. Worse even, our skills can become irrelevant, outdated and unpolished. 

Opportunities for learning and skill development 

Thankfully, there are some solutions to these problems. There are several ways to grow your skills remotely and build momentum in your professional growth. You can continue to stay industry-relevant and connected with the technology development world even while remote. 

Here are some ways you can effectively learn and grow while working remotely on a short-term or long-term basis. 

Find your tribe on Social Media 

Consuming volumes of information online on Covid-19 can drain one’s mental health. Instead, use this opportunity to find your community on various channels. It is not a surprise that most of us tend to give our best work when our ideas are heard and valued. Finding a larger community not only helps in discussing such ideas, it creates a sense of oneness, at a crucial time like this.Twitter, for instance, can be used to open a conversation for any technical questions with several responses and as much helpful information as possible.  

Get active on platforms or forums such as LinkedIn Groups and Facebook Groups to connect with individuals of similar interests. Build your network on professional platforms like LinkedIn, AngelList and several other open forums. Seek counselling or counsel others in your area of expertise. 

Having a community to remain connected with helps us stay passionate and challenge ourassumptions, giving us the benefit of everyone else’s continued learning and growth.   

Beat the mundane with podcasts and audiobooks 

Podcasts and audiobook have been around for quite some time now, and many listen to these during their commutes. With remote working, though there are no such commutes, that does not have to stop one from listening to podcasts all the same. Instead, listen to these handy hands-free resources while working on chores. Find podcasts in whatever area interests you.  

There are several high-quality podcasts on leadership, business and communication as well as future technologies, project management, data science and  programming. These are invaluable resources freely available for you to benefit from, especially at times like these.  

Reskill and upskill from home 

According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the growth rate of the global economyhas declined to  slowest rate since 2009  due to the coronavirus outbreak. The IT industry is said to be the most impacted by this slump, with projects being shelved  at least until 2021.  Against such a backdrop, it becomes even more imperative to focus on reskilling and upskilling wherever you are.  

Utilize the quiet environment to consume dedicated learning content without distractions. Online videos can help you stay connected and inspired even while separated. Live instructor-led modules enable more engagement and when paired with hands-on practice and assessments, it can be a great combination to reinforce practical skills for the future of work. 

Preparing for the post-digital transformation era, you can now stay abreast of the latest trends in fields like data science and big data analytics. Businesses are increasingly investing in a mobile-first approach, which helps them accelerate new product rollouts. This is in turn increasing the demand for full stack developers. Globalization, despite the slow growth, has opened up opportunities for new-age project managers across sectors and geographies. The ones with certifications will be equipped to take the lead especially in times of such crises. 

Consistent learning effort adds up over time and helps you stay connected, aware and enthusiastic about the latest technologies and skills. 

Dig deep with books and blogs 

Books teach you to a greater depth and help you cross reference. Learn new ways of doing things and in greater depth while always having a reference point to get back to. Buy a few books related to topics you’re interested in, then keep them around for a rainy day. Read a section over lunch, or even just a couple of paragraphs during short breaks. Books can teach you new ways of doing things, help you learn things over time at a greater depth, and serve as a reference point when you are stuck. 

For those who prefer reading online, there are umpteen amounts of resources or blogs that can be used for personal growth and professional development.  

Using remote learning to impact your future 

Working remotely can be stressful, frustrating, demoralizing and isolating. But it can also be one of the best opportunities to turn lemons into lemonade from a career development perspective. According to a recent Tech Jury  survey, e-learning increased retention rates by 25% to 60%. That’s double the learning in a compact time, at almost half the cost! 

In this age of technological disruption and digital transformation, 'upskill or perish’ is the new truth. But out of crisis comes opportunity. Make the best of the lockdown while you gain new skills and greater confidence that can eventually lead you to seek growth and leadership.  

Use your time well and it will open the doors to many opportunities you may not otherwise have. 

KnowledgeHut

KnowledgeHut

Author

KnowledgeHut is an outcome-focused global ed-tech company. We help organizations and professionals unlock excellence through skills development. We offer training solutions under the people and process, data science, full-stack development, cybersecurity, future technologies and digital transformation verticals.
Website : https://www.knowledgehut.com

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KH 3.0: Announcing Our New Identity

Today is an important day for KnowledgeHut. We are proud to officially unveil the new branding our team has been working on for several months. This rebranding comes with much thought and consideration, and there’s a lot more to the new look than you might assume.Our new avatar exemplifies what we have evolved into: a global ed-tech company that empowers professionals and enterprises with augmented capabilities across technologies that are disrupting the market.Why did we rebrand?KnowledgeHut was founded in 2011, and a lot has changed since then. Two compelling reasons led us down the path to rebrand. First, although we had expanded in size, product and reach over the years, we were still largely perceived as a people and process training provider. We now wanted to reposition ourselves as a platform for technology skill development.Second, as the education market had evolved, we felt the need to reinvent and differentiate ourselves. Our rebranding thus began from the core of our business—our vision, mission, and values—and then radiated to its outward expressions.Our quest to democratize frontier skills led us to distil down to the essence that learning by doing, skills retention and the ability to measure outcomes have become more important than ever. This shaped our new vision to deliver an impactful and outcome-oriented learning experience which serves as a guidepost declaring what KnowledgeHut stands for and where it is headed.Further, we wanted to be deliberate about creating a vibrant and employee-friendly culture. Our six core values thus reflect how we’d like to be treated and the behaviors we’d like to encourage throughout our organization. These are the foundations on which we are building our culture. Our values have set us on a path to increase productivity company-wide, fuel innovation, and create a magnet to attract and retain top talent - and we intend to go about all of this with our characteristic ‘fun with passion’!How we went about our new logoA logo is synonymous with a company’s identity and needs to reflect who we are as a company. Our team worked to find something that appeared crisp, approachable, smart, friendly and connected andyet, professional.While our newly articulated mission, vision and core values were a natural starting point, our brand needed to capture KnowledgeHut’s identity for everyone, regardless of whether they happen to work at one of our offices.To distill this, we carried out several interviews with KnowledgeHut customers, both professionals and enterprise clients and gathered a couple of focus groups across cities to collect inputs from. We also examined competitors in the online learning space. Exploring who we weren’t was as important as exploring who we were.Based on this research, two words surfaced that helped inform the look of the brand: outcomes and impacts. With the new brand, there is a shift from being a classroom-oriented training company to a blended learning provider and from being a facilitator to a course content curator and owner. Our single-minded focus is to create real impacts in job roles by assuring outcomes. You will also see this play out in our soon-to-be launched platform.What our logo stands forWhile creating a brand, it’s important to figure out the shape of the logo before thinking about the color. To keep from becoming influenced by color, we began working with just black and white. Most of the initial designs revolved around using the letters K and H. Eventually, this idea was exhausted without a clear winner and other explorations began to surface.As the weeks continued, hundreds of logo explorations started to emerge and from there the team needed to narrow it down. We asked each person in the team to pick their top three. One by one, we rejected the rest, knowing that with each failure we were drawing closer to the new KnowledgeHut logo.The logo we ended up with has a lot of meaning behind it. It is a set of simple shapes coming together to form the letters K and H in the shape of a five-pronged star.Why a star? Because it embodies five core aspects of what we stand for as a brand, namely:It symbolizes our quest for excellence, which is one of our core values.It demonstrates our pursuit for fostering trust and establishing credibility, another of our core valuesExemplifying inclusivity, a star shines its light for everyone, regardless of culture, geography, ethnicity, religion, age or gender.It encapsulates our focus on creating real impacts in job roles.It personifies our outcome-driven approach by guaranteeing them for the learner and the enterprise.Once the shape of our logo was figured out, we knew our work was far from complete. The next major challenge was figuring out the colors. We knew that we wanted to go with orange, a warm color exuding optimism, enthusiasm and fun and one of our core values being fun with passion, it seemed a perfect fit.To complement the orange, the team chose to go with a burst of bright modern colors - royal blue, meadow green, harlequin, magenta, chestnut rose, cyan and electric violet, dominated by navy blue. While orange signifies optimism, navy blue stands for trust and responsibility. Together, the colors signify change and transformation, influencing our personal as well as collective development and helping us experience a greater level of knowledge.The psychology behind these two colors is fascinating. It sends out a bold message saying - we are transforming who you are, your career path, and we are changing your life with what we do.To bring the logo to life, we moved away from flat colors to the idea of a color transition as it also speaks strongly to who we are. It is a transition from the old to the new, from who we were to who we are now.The end of one story, the beginning of anotherWhile the logo is certainly a huge part of our brand, there’s much more to it than just the logo. It is who we are as a company, how we make people feel and the experiences we’re able to deliver. It is the beginning of exciting things to come - a new journey to deliver impactful and outcome-oriented learning to create an innovative global workforce.Since we finished with the rebranding, our product and engineering teams have been working hard to update the learning experience to fit our new identity.It has taken massive amounts of work, and for sure, there’s a lot more to go. But what we do know is that it will all be worth it in the end.Change can be bumpy, but we at KnowledgeHut are dedicated and optimistic that we'll make this transition the best it can be.
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Covid-19: Facts You Need to Know

Covid-19 has spread to 197 countries or territories, infected over 4,00,000 and claimed more than 18,000 lives within a span of three months. So, what is this disease, how does it spread and what should you do to protect yourself?What is COVID-19? The COVID-19 is a contagious disease caused by the newly discovered coronavirus. What makes it so dangerous is its high rate of infection, which has already spread across 197 countries/territories in just three months. Basic symptoms of the disease include fever, dry cough, and tiredness.  How does it spread? The COVID-19 primarily spreads through mucous droplets or saliva of the infected person. When an infected person sneezes or coughs they put others at the risk of coming into contact with these droplets, making basic respiratory etiquette extremely crucial.In response to this ongoing public health emergency, John Hopkins University has developed an interactive dashboard to visualize and track reported cases in real-time.Here are some important preventive measures recommended by the WHO:  “Preventive measures recommended by the World Health Organization. Source: WHO” What are the symptoms? Common symptoms include fever, tiredness and dry cough Additional symptoms are shortness of breath, sore throat, aches and pains Rare symptoms like diarrhoea, nausea or a runny nose Are you experiencing any of these symptoms? The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a  COVID-19 assessment bot that can quickly assess the symptoms and risk factors for people worried about infection, and help them manage the illness safely at home. DosDon’tsWash your hands frequently.Touch your eyes, nose or mouth.Cover your nose and mouth while sneezing or coughing.Reuse the same mask or tissue. Dispose of any such protectors immediately after use.Maintain social distancing.Travel unnecessarily or hang out in large groups.Seek early medical care.Ignore your symptoms.What can we do to flatten the curve? The idea of ‘flattening the curve’ is to reduce the number of cases from a steep rise to a gradual pick so that the healthcare system is better equipped to treat patients. Under the present circumstances, the number of infected cases is more than the medical resources available, owing to the alarming rate at which the disease spreads.  Interactive chart on total number of deaths due to Covid-19 as on 26th March 2020. Source: Our World in DataSocial distancing and self-quarantine are increasingly becoming some of the best practices to tackleCOVID-19. Countries like Italy,India, and the UK have announced a nationwide lockdown to prevent its rampant growth. China has been under lockdown for over 3 months now. During such episodes, individuals are expected to stay indoors and focus on maintaining their health.Video explainer on social distancing. Source: BBC  Physical health and mental healthWhile physical health is vital, staying indoors constantly and consumingvolumes of negative news can causegreat panic. To stay calm, focus on self-care, family downtime, and self-growth. Use this time to pick up your old hobbies or find new ones. Read a book, journal, or get online and find new skills that can help you enhance your work productivity. Several courses online are also inclusive of hands-on training and worksheets that can boost your resume.  The WHO remarks on China’s protocol to fight COVID-19, “In the face of a previously unknown virus, China has rolled out perhaps the most ambitious, agile, and aggressive disease containment effort in history.” The country has made tremendous progress and has not had any new cases reported since March 19th.For now, your best defence against the virus is to support your immune system with sleep, exercise, and good nutrition. Most importantly, wash your hands and practice social distancing so you don’t get infected in the first place. 
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How to Keep Your Project Moving During the Coronavirus Outbreak

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A company with self-motivated members who are highly disciplined and possess good communication skills makes remote working easier. Additionally, managers taking a step back to allow team members to carry out their work helps in building self-reliance and self-confidence.Moreover, it is essential to interact with the teams with timely and clear communication while working as a remote leader and trying to maintain timely delivery and completion of the project tasks, thus ensuring everything is on schedule.B. Devise and implement clear plans toform remote work policiesCompanies should define specific policies and implement them to ensure that the best practices and concerns related to working remotely are addressed. The policies should be able to handle security problems and should have a backup plan to implement infrastructure, workflows, and interaction strategies. C. Use online project-collaboration tools to stay in touchProject teams working remotely need the necessary cloud-based tools from the companies that they are working for. Below mentioned are the ways with which companies can work with their teams to manage their projects collaboratively and handle the challenges that they may be facing while working remotely:Virtual meetings and video conferencing: Scheduling interactions with remote employees can be challenging. With video-conference resources, team members can stay connected to tasks and address general topics and events around the organization. GoTo Meeting, Zoom Meetings, and Cisco WebEx are some of the platforms that enable video conferencing, video chat, live and private chat, streaming, and screen sharing.File sharing and synchronization: To keep projects running smoothly, Cloud-based platforms can be used to share resources and files, which are easy to work with and quite affordable too. Cloud-based platforms like Google's G Suite, Box, Dropbox, OneDrive, NextCloud, Wimi, and Samepage are handy to regulate tracking access, auditing, communication, and cooperation. Moreover, these platforms use encryption, search filters, and process management. Teams can easily exchange files from all over the world in no time at all.Project status tracking and status reporting: Many cloud-based tools provide remote teams around the globe with ways to interact, track, collaborate, report project status, share files, video chat, and carry on daily face-to-face activities whenever required. With certain Project Portfolio Management (PPM) solutions such as Changepoint, and project management tools including Trello, and Wrike, apps get the power to facilitate hard-pressed activities so that teams working remotely can finish their projects before the deadline, be it anywhere or from any device.Before planning for remote team collaboration and workflows, companies must develop policies and select tools that have cloud security and data storage enabled as this protects your information with governance and compliance rules.The way going forwardLife is unpredictable and so is the way people work. Flexibility and improvisation are the gifts imparted to humans. Amidst this unprecedented Coronavirus outbreak, companies should stay positive and resort to alternate methods to carry on with their projects while working remotely with their teams. A lot of opportunities can emerge during challenging times. When companies can efficiently work with their employees remotely, it helps in strengthening their sense of discipline, maintaining the ultimate trust and accountability of each employee’s work, and building confidence in one’s ability to perform optimally. Not only this remote working is now a growing trend and can contribute greatly towards business growth even in the future.
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