Hitting the Road Post-Covid

Edwina by car

Gosh, it feels good to be doing in-person training again! It ‘almost’ feels like things are back to normal.

They’re not.

Each time I hit the road I think about the 3C’s:

  • Checklist
  • Considerations
  • Challenges

There’s so much more to think about since Covid.

I’m a ‘what if’ thinker. My DiSC® style determines that I am an analytical thinker – someone who doesn’t do well with slipshod blunders. So, to prepare for a road trip, I walk myself through the daily (and hourly) tasks analyzing everything step, always questioning, What if?

What if my laptop doesn’t sync with the equipment at the venue? Put your training on a USB stick for backup. What if the USB stick doesn’t work? Email it to yourself for extra security.

To some this may seem like overkill, however, this walkthrough calms the mind to safeguard some Covid classroom changes.

The Checklist

The Checklist has changed.

Getting ready for a road trip usually entails making sure you have all the ‘materials’ to do your training. It’s not like training through a virtual platform where everything is readily available at your fingertips, or within reach. In-person training requires a different checklist for each day, starting with the basic supplies, like stickies, to all the equipment requirements, like cords and speakers; to choosing ample appropriate attire to suit the occasion.

Then there are the props you need for emphasis and the extra copies for your handouts. These are all standard items on a trainer’s checklist.

Now there are extra items: sanitizers, gloves, masks and wipes. Albeit, re-entering the physical room may feel ‘normal,’ these items cannot be taken for granted and should be included on the checklist.

The Considerations

It’s important to ensure a Covid-friendly environment.

The impact of the pandemic can easily elapse from our memory when we’re back to our familiar surroundings. It’s a trainer’s job to ensure everyone is feeling comfortable in an acceptable room size.

What if there is one person in the group wearing a mask and/or sitting at an obvious safe distance and you have a group activity that requires close contact? You need to come up with Plan B, another Covid-friendly activity that provides the same effective messaging.

What if that activity doesn’t match the number of participants you need? You will need to improvise. There are also the extra props and supplies you may need for
your Plan B. Be sure to add that to your ‘Checklist.’

What if you’re the type of trainer who likes to work the room? Now you have to be cognizant of the distance you put between yourself and your participants. A lanyard for your mask can be a reminder to slip it on or off when needed. This too should be on your ‘Checklist.’

What if someone reaches out to shake your hand? If you comply, don’t forget to sanitize after because there may be someone in the room not comfortable with you making body contact.

The Challenges

Covid has catalyzed traditional workplaces for good, and this includes the work of external contractors.

Trainers have to re-think their delivery programs to adapt to the new world thinkers and organization needs. We have to be more creative with our programming.

What if your client is needing more HR focus vs textbook training? More to the point, what was once considered ‘soft stuff’ is now the ‘hard stuff’ for many companies and trainers.

Developing those interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence and the ability to engage and influence are top-of-mind.

“We’re all in this together.”

This saying takes on a different meaning with a training curriculum. The capabilities of each participant and the culture of the organization can bring unimaginable challenges. Human interaction created by this infectious disease has changed us. We need to support the social distances, work shifts are staggered, and remote working is the new normal.

Training in a hybrid workplace with employees either working from home or combining home and office work requires collaborative learning and carefully planned upskilling and reskilling.

The future of successful learning requires the adoption of innovative and employee-centred solutions; such that training is focused on the individual needs of each employee that fits seamlessly with their work schedules.

Learning needs to be more flexible and trainers need to ensure the well-being of their participants. This is paired with the need to develop soft skills to maintain workforce connections.