Learning from home: Lessons from Speexx
In just a matter of weeks, much of the world has been forced to stay home and therefore transition to working remotely. Students, too, are having to comply with risk-control decisions, requiring millions worldwide shift to learning from home, finishing semesters via virtual classrooms.
Indeed, lockdowns throughout the globe have already changed learning – according to data, insights and consultancy company Kantar, there’s been a 33% increase of usage in online training in the UK alone in the last few weeks. And for us at Speexx, daily user numbers surged by up to 400% in China as early as late February when the county was the first to completely lock down.
Learning from home the Speexx way
Here at Speexx, a language learning platform for the digital workplace, we’ve always been champions of flexible, digital learning – including learning from home. As much of the world is only now becoming acquainted with new ways of learning, we’re happy to share that we’ve not only maintained learning continuity within our own company, but improved on it: Learning (from home) within Speexx has actually increased since most cities began their “lockdowns.” Indeed, Speexx is the new normal!
We hope that current global circumstances change. For now, at least, we’re thrilled to see what our “Speexxies” are doing with the extra time they have indoors. Data from our internal learning platform, “Speexx Academy,” paints an impressive global picture of our dynamic and flexible culture, which indeed embraces and empowers learning from home.
What is our Speexx Academy?
The Speexx Academy is our very own homegrown how-to’s based on the Lessonly platform (usually we do not push products, but this one is worth it …) that cover hundreds of topics: All our new staff onboarding content and hundreds of learning paths on internal and customer processes, product news, best practices. And we do foreign languages, of course (a lot of us have been working on learning a second, third, even fourth language with all this free time!), but also public speaking tips and tricks, guidance on how to use software tools, checklists on how to plan and execute events, advice for new colleagues, and more. In a nutshell, it is the Speexx encylopedia and training platform for everything Speexx.
Staying at home, learning from home
Between February and March, when most of our teams were experiencing varying degrees of lockdown throughout the world (again, we have offices in places like China, Northern Italy and Madrid, to name a few), Speexx Academy activity – learning from home – increased by 228% globally.
Spain’s activity shot up by a whopping 1225%; France, by 171; Italy at 287%, Brazil at a clean 100, and Germany at 343%. But no one was able to beat China when it came to learning from home – our Chinese colleagues outdid us all, with activity levels shooting up 2767%.
Other learning from home initiatives
In addition to learning from home, health and welfare of our employees remain our top priority. In the current transformation process, beginning with our teams in China already more than a month ago, we’ve started a journey that’s totally changing the way we work and communicate. From part-remote work, we’ve shifted to all-remote to help contain and mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
We’ve launched several internal community initiatives. The first are WFH (Work From Home) webinars. Twice a week, we’ve been hosting 30-minute webinars that focus on the challenges and possibilities of working remotely and learning from home. They’re informal, relaxed, bite-sized and interactive.
“Socializing” learning from home
Another are “coffee breaks” between colleagues in which people who want some interaction outside their homes can just informally drop in – the concept of “watercooler chat,” just online.
We’ve had employees say (verbatim) that they have been “afraid of being home all the time” but that “Speexx is making it so easy for [them]” to feel connected to people outside of the home.
We’ve also rolled out Speexx Kitchen 1:1s – we have pairs randomly selected (using an internally-built generator) that set up 20-minute chats for employees to just talk about anything on a 1:1 basis (digitally).
This is another nice way to create a “kitchen run-in” effect, but because this is accessible to all, from interns to board members.
Across all regions, we’re facilitating conversations that might never have happened in the past; an intern in our Munich office, for instance, would not have previously had a “run-in” with our VP and Managing Director based in Italy. And these types of conversations are happening now, frequently!
For leaders working and learning from home
Finally, we’ve kicked off Team Leader Community webinars as well. Twice a week, we have our team leads from around the globe meet online. Each virtual facetime is moderated by one pre-assigned attendee, to steer the discussion; during these webinars, we learn from each other’s unique insights, expand leadership horizons and find common ground with challenges and struggles.
It’s a valuable exchange of best practices and hard-earned lessons, and it forces leaders to step back and look at how they’re managing teams – now especially, when it’s most critical to provide the guidance, support and comfort that people need in a time like this.Leaders, too, need to be continuously learning from home.
These initiatives are open to all, obligatory for no one, and will run until mid-year (though this is subject to change, like most things in the world right now).
The future of learning from home
The world is at an interesting point in history where many of us are staying put, indoors, waiting for a storm to pass. We’re curious to see what skills and talents people emerge with once life goes back to normal – especially knowing that so many of our own colleagues are using this time to learn from home.