How the workplace is changing and what to think about

How the workplace is changing and what to think about

The workplace has changed: How to embrace this change and cultivate team collaboration

The workplace has changed; the workplace is not what it used to be.  The global Covid-19 pandemic forced changes upon businesses and organisations and in some cases, seemingly overnight.  To survive, businesses needed to implement systems and technologies that allowed whole workforces to work from home.  While some were ready for this change, others weren’t.  But now in 2022, everyone has had to catch up. 

The historical boundaries between home life and work life were removed.  Working from home, yet connecting with colleagues, became possible and commonplace.  Since 2020, technological advances have seeped into everything we do, and new tech eagerly supports this new era of working styles. 

Although the necessity to work remotely no longer exists, this generational working revolution has highlighted many benefits.  While offices are once again open for business, many organisations are encouraging staff to return to the office five days a week.  However, many aren’t, and many don’t want to.  Why?  Here are the three key reasons that will define this new age of the workplace. 

meeting in progress

Embrace hybrid working

Hybrid working is a clear consequence of the pandemic.  The traditional need for all staff to work in one place at one time is no longer the case.  It’s important to consider what people need to be present in an office, why, and when?

It is the responsibility of business leaders to decide what is best for their employees, but also for the business’s agility and performance.  A recent survey by McKinzey found that business leaders who clearly communicated their overall approach and guidelines for remote and hybrid working saw a rise in employee productivity and happiness.  It’s clear that employees want flexibility, so businesses need to embrace this to attract and retain the best talent.

“More than 20% of the workforce could work remotely three to five days per week as effectively as from an office.”

McKinsey

Objectives of the physical workspace

While people worked from home, pre-pandemic office space was unoccupied for many organisations, and often for long periods of time.  Offices may be open again, but many business leaders have realised that the physical space they used to occupy can be scaled down, changed, and re-used in better ways that better suit the business and staff’s changing needs.

The hybrid working model breeds opportunities for reimagined office layouts.  With hybrid working, there are different ways for staff to collaborate and meet and new ways for office space and people to work together, better.  Some organisations have reduced office footprints dramatically in favour of investment in technologies that allow their staff to work more flexibly, visiting smaller physical office spaces to collaborate on specific target activities.  Remote working for the rest of the time can be seen as a hugely positive move for businesses and for their staff’s wellbeing and enthusiasm towards their work.

 

The employee’s perspective

Recent studies have found that more than 20% of the workforce could work remotely three to five days per week as effectively as from an office.   What’s more is that many people prefer to work from home at least some of the time nowadays.  Historically, it has often been perceived that people who work from home are less productive, but the truth is that this is no longer the case

Phased returns to work, and to offices, combined with hybrid working policies becoming commonplace, means there’s a real challenge for business leaders to create a workplace that is compatible with their staffs’ changed attitudes to remote working.  It’s certain that those who can and want to work from home, will need to be able to.

There is, however, the question of human-to-human interaction and a sense of team morale.  Being a part of a team requires real, meaningful connections in a structured way that provides stability and inclusion.  Hybrid and remote working practices have shown to increase inclusivity of global and decentralised workforces and remote working has allowed businesses to become more agile and attract the best talent.  So, the challenge now is to increase collaboration and connectivity online amongst teams, regardless of where employees are based.

People in a meeting

Environmental sustainability

Finally, but not least importantly, we should take into accout the environmental impact of remote and hybrid working.  We all know that a massive benefit of remote working is the reduction of commuting, road congestion and thus, carbon footprint.  Although this will never, and should never, be totally removed there’s more to it than that.  If businesses are limited to only recruiting talent that is based within a commutable distance from a physical office, the organisation misses out on recruiting the best people with the best skills to fit the business need.  Surely it’s better to have the right talent working remotely, than convenient recruitment that adds to an organisation’s carbon footprint, and doesn’t (*ahem*) get the job done as well?…

The good news? 

Making these connections happen seamlessly whilst maintaining staff learning, development and wellbeing criteria are available and easy to implement.  

Contact Procreation for an informal chat or to arrange a demo of our online platform and all its features and applications for the evolving workplace.

Book a time with one of our team to discuss your next project

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Hosting exciting online events: features you shouldn’t miss out on

Hosting exciting online events: features you shouldn’t miss out on

Hosting exciting online events has never been more important

In recent years we have all become very familiar meeting online and attending webinars, online events and online training.  What’s key now is to make every virtual experience appealing and exciting for attendees.  Attendees now expect more and spending time creating exciting experiences has many benefits, as it will not only encourage greater attendance but will also improve engagement of those who do attend.

Online training has been proven to be a highly effective way to educate, and we’ve recently looked at some simple ways to incorporate interactivity into online training.  With the wide variety of online learning and presentation solutions available on the market today, it’s important to consider the options available and make the best of the features available. 

Here we take this a step further to see what other key features can be included in your next online experience to make it truly memorable and exciting!  No more boring webinars, e-Learning, training or virtual meetings here!

Video chat virtual environment

How your online experience can stand out from the crowd

Create an environment of your choice

360 immersive environments can be created in any setting; the only limitation is your imagination.  Space, a jungle, underwater, or a more conventional conference setting are all well within the realms of possibility when it comes to online learning and virtual experiences.  Create an environment that will allow your attendees’ interest to be sparked from the moment they log in.  All you have to do is work out what that might be, and then it can be built to suit.

Integrations

Although we have a full collection of presentation, meeting and webinar tools available within our 360 virtual platform, we recognise that it’s important to also be adaptable with other systems. This enables existing organisational processes to integrate, track and report in a new interactive immersive way. 

An example?  Many of our clients work with LMS platforms, we support integration of any SCORM files created in Rise or other LMS systems. Simply create your learning programmes and import into your 360 immersive experience, building a truly memorable and engaging learning journey.

 

Let attendees explore the environment at their own pace

The beauty of using both 3D and immersive 360 virtual environments for online experiences is that the attendees feel instantly empowered.  They won’t simply sit there and be spoken to but will become active learners who follow their own path. 

Attendees can consume the content within the environment in a way that works for them.  Think back to school or university and imagine your teacher allowing you the free rein to absorb your learning in a way that is highly personal.  It’s unsurprising that it’s a phenomenally powerful way of increasing engagement.

Online breakout session

Classroom feature: Video chat within a virtual environment

Video chat and virtual environments are both excellent features, and now they can be integrated simultaneously using the Procreation Classroom feature.

While participating in a Virtual Event or online experience, attendees can now take part in video chat with their teacher/host/presenter, all while exploring a virtual environment at their own pace. Tutors can guide learners through training modules, demostrate products and direct learning teams all from within the virtula environment.

An example?  Take an online learning event.  Presenters can speak, via video to their class, live, with slides and videos, whilst showing them around the environment.  Attendees can then explore this environment themselves, asking questions as they navigate through.  This new feature opens up huge possibilities to expand on collaborative learning amongst peer groups.

Imagine the possibilities

When it comes to virtual experiences for learning, training, meeting and collaborating, the possibilities really are endless and unlimited.  Our tip?  Just imagine what could be possible, and it probably already is!  This might be replicating features that would be at an in person event, or features that are complementary (such as on demand video post event).  From networking and breakouts to live relay plenary sessions, demos, polls and panel Q&A’s, the key to creating an excellent experience for your attendees is to include features that will excite them and encourage their participation at every turn.  Just imagine demonstrating a product online, while your viewers can experience it for themselves, at the same time, in their own way.

Ready to give it a go?

As a market leader in Virtual and Hybrid experiences, we develop and craft solutions to help our clients create, host and manage the best experiences out there.  New features are regularly added to our bespoke platform, so get in touch to find out how we could help bring your next project to life.  Why not take a look at our client stories to find out more.

Book a time with one of our team to discuss your next project

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The future of work: What will it look like?

The future of work: What will it look like?

What will the future of work look like?

The workplace has been completely reshaped because of the Covid-19 pandemic but what will the future of work look like?  The stay-at-home order shifted workforces to working from offices, to working purely online.  But now, there is a mixture.  Offices are open, staff are back, and we’ve learned a lot.  These learnings will shape both how organisations and employees decide to operate and the workplace will never be the same again.  The future of work will look very different to the past.  Hybrid working is here and it’s here to stay.

The future of the workplace for organisations

The core trends that are driving the change in the way we work, beyond the Covid-19 pandemic, can be simplified as:

  • Globalisation
  • Digital transformation
  • Generational changes

According to Deloitte, in the early 2000’s nearly all workforces across the globe consisted of permanent employees.  However, today the story is quite different.  More than 40% of employees are now considered non-permanent workers.  This is a huge change, why this shift?  Since Covid-19 hit, workers and organisations have embraced remote working, with freelancers and distributed workforces working together like never before – because they had to.

Remote working due to necessity, has unlocked many opportunities for business leaders and created a new era of flexibility within the workforce.  Organisations now have access to talent they couldn’t reach before.  Organisations are realising that with the correct systems in place they can make the most of this flexible and often cost-effective talent pool.  Virtual digital solutions such as Virtual Experience Centers and Virtual Events provide efficient ways of training and educating workforces and connecting businesses with their customers, no matter where in the world they may be physically located. Face to face is, and will always remain important, but working virtually, as we’ve done since Covid-19 creates huge opportunity.

Two people in a meeting

Benefits for organisations

  • Reduced office space & resulting reduced overheads that can be redirected elsewhere
  • Flexible human resource that switches on and off when needed
  • Global & decentralised workforces & access to new talent pools
…work is changing dramatically today, with huge implications for us all. The three trends steering change – globalisation, generational change and digital transformation – are already driving businesses to rethink the way they operate.
Forbes, 2022

The future of the workplace for staff

With the Baby Boomer generation set to retire from full time working life, Gen X and older Millennials will begin to fill senior positions.  As Gen Z’s enter the workplace, improved digital knowledge and understanding means expectations have changed.  This will welcome a new era for the workforce.  It is becoming, and will continue to become a candidate led market.

As well as compensation and pay, flexibility is not seen as a benefit, but as an expectation.  Experienced workers need time not only to care for themselves, but their families (both older relatives and children.)  Almost every future job is expected to include some degree of flexibility.  Whether it’s a permanent role working from the office for set days a week, and remotely the rest, or a full-time remote position, digital technology is the enabler of the hybrid workplace.

If the hiring organisation has the relevant digital capabilities to manage their workforce, they can hire the right people for the right projects and remain agile.  Younger employees are expected to want to work on several projects to develop their skills and digital capabilities will facilitate this.  Candidates will seek out organisations that make this way of working possible for them.  The needs of this new era of staff will be important for organisations, and organisations with methods of training and engaging with staff virtually, will thrive.

Woman working from home

Ways staff will be able to engage with organisations in the future workplace

  • Remote training and opportunities for upskilling
  • Integrated digital workplace solutions
  • E-learning platforms
  • Virtual Events

What do do next…

For more information on how to prepare your organisation for the future of work, contact us today.  In a no obligation, question and answer only demo, we can demonstrate the excellent ways we can help your organisation engage with the workforce of the future and attract the best talent.

Book a time with one of our team to discuss your next project

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The secrets of a great webinar

The secrets of a great webinar

How can you create a great webinar?

Most people are well accustomed to online events and webinars but what are the secrets of a great webinar?

Regardless of where we work and what sector we work in, webinars and online events are commonplace.  The challenge for those hosting online events now is to make them great, and not ‘just another webinar’, as webinars are now routine it is important attendees are engaged from start to finish.  No matter what its purpose, your webinar should be interesting and attendees shouldn’t be become disengaged.  Here are some key considerations to create a successful webinar that engages your attendees.

Make sure your attendees feel comfortable

It goes without saying that attendees who feel comfortable and relaxed will have a better experience than those who don’t.

At the beginning of the webinar, introduce your speakers and run through an overview of the content and expected outcomes of the session.  Allow your attendees to introduce themselves too so that everyone present knows who they will be speaking to/hearing from.  This could be done in the chat, in the content itself, or interactively.

Woman taking part in a webinar

Mix up the format

While not all webinars will require the audience to interact, it’s good practice to include interaction where possible.  Interaction between the audience and speakers normally means the discussion is deeper and more beneficial for everyone involved.

Make sure your format is stimulating and create your content so you can mix up the format.  A static speaker to attendee one way lecture online can result in attendees switching off and becoming disengaged.  Some simple but effective ideas for mixing up the format of your webinar include…

 

  • Interactive polls
  • Question and answer sessions
  • Whiteboards
  • Videos
  • Quizzes
  • Panel discussions
  • Guest speakers

Ensure your webinar runs seamlessly

It may seem obvious, but the best webinars will run seamlessly with no distractions or interruptions.  Choose the right platform for your purpose and make sure that this platform will be able to do the things you need it to.

If you’re presenting a webinar, make sure you are comfortable and located with a clear background.  Remove any distractions so that you can focus 100% on presenting your content and check your audio, video and mic settings in good time.  Clear down unnecessary open windows on your computer and make sure you’ve undertaken a practice run too where possible. Ensure your face is evenly lit and avoid sitting with a window behind you as this can cause a silhouette (for an in depth how-to guide on the best set-up see here).

Your chosen webinar partner may offer ‘onboarding’ sessions, which are provided to ensure all the above is correct and give you guidance on delivering the best possible presentation. Even if you think you know it all, make sure you take advantage of these sessions – they are free, usually only last 15 minutes and can provide new tools you can take forward and use in all your webinars and meetings.

Although you’d hope your webinar will run without any curve balls, if there is an interruption or problem, have a plan before you start the webinar to deal with this.  This way you can handle any disruption calmly and keep the webinar flowing. If you don’t have the time or resource to plan for all the eventualities, then it may be you should choose to look to use a managed service, offered by some platform providers. This means you can focus on the content and delivering a great show, while the tech team ensure everything runs seamlessly.

Generally speaking, the same rules apply for webinar attendees too.  Attendees should have some water to hand and any other materials that will be needed during the webinar.  Some presenters like to issue a quick reminder at the beginning of the session.  This will give attendees a chance to get properly organised before starting the webinar.

Running a webinar

Cover off the practicalities

To facilitate a great webinar, communication is key.  There will be times when audience participation is required, and times that it is not.  Use your webinar platform to make sure that meeting controls are in place and that your attendees know how these will work.

Set up a welcome video, this can be a simple informative video on loop which can welcome attendees as they arrive, include webinar agenda information and sponsor messages.

Chat boxes can be used to ask the audience questions and for the audience to ask the presenter questions.  If you’re presenting a webinar, let your audience know how to interact with you, and when.  Let them know when you’ll answer questions; either at the end, or as you go, depending on the nature of your content. Moderated Q&A can be used for some more formal sessions, enabling session chairs to pick the most relevant questions to ask the panel.

Let your attendees know if there will be any post event content shared with them and how they will be able to access it.  For example, all Q&A’s could be summarised and sent out after the webinar, along with presentation content that was shared during the webinar. In addition the webinar may be recorded and made available for viewing on demand.  Letting your attendees know your plan will mean they avoid making unnecessary notes and can increase engagement.

A quick run through of the controls during the introduction is a great way to set yourself up for a smooth webinar.  Explain how attendees can unmute themselves and know how to mute your whole audience when required to eliminate distracting background noise.

You may consider having some help to monitor Q&A’s.  In some cases, a co-host is very beneficial.  They can help ensure that important questions are addressed, and that nothing is missed.

Finally, make sure you start on time!  There’s nothing worse than a webinar that is running late!

In summary

Need some help setting up or facilitating an engaging webinar?  Get in touch with Procreation today and book a demo.

Book a time with one of our team to discuss your next project

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Simple ways to create interactive online training

Simple ways to create interactive online training

Why is interactivity important in online training?

The increased demand of online learning brings with it high expectations of learners and educators alike. Boring, one-dimensional online learning is a thing of the past.  Online learners have come to expect, and demand, engaging interactive online training experiences.

The good news?  There are masses of opportunities to create engaging and interactive online training experiences and it’s not as complicated as it may sound.  Here are some excellent ways to include interactive elements into your next online training programme.

Incorporate interactivity into everything

For online training that is delivered live, in each slide or piece of content, include an interactive element.  To create fully engaged and active learners devise your content so that it challenges your learners to engage and feedback at regular points throughout.

According to Scolastic, “interactive learning sharpens critical thinking skills, which are fundamental to the development of analytic reasoning.”

Anything that requires learners to act encourages active learning.  This might be a quick fire quiz, a poll, asking learners to make a comment in the chat or even asking them to speak to camera as they would if they were in a classroom.

Man taking part in online training

Competition & leaderboards

It has regularly been argued that competition has a motivational effect on students.  Online training should aim to make students do their very best, not simply ‘just enough’.  Adding interactive, competitive elements to online training promotes not only competition, but can dramatically boost performance.  Leaderboards are both interactive and competitive and can be adopted in many types of online training.

Immersive 360° environments & storytelling

Immersive learning allows the learner to control their own experience.  360 media is at the heart of this, as is digital storytelling.  This type of learning evokes emotions so is very influential!

Create a fully immersive 360 environment that puts learners right at the centre of the story.  Creating an interactive virtual location is a powerful way to engage learners like never before.

Learners are welcomed into an exciting virtual environment (a conference centre, a famous landmark, a jungle or even space!) and can navigate throughout the environment at their own pace, and in their own way.

A map, personalised video introductions and instructional videos will allow learners to follow their own path through the environment accessing various elements of the training as they go.  This training can combine many types of interactive content to keep it interesting and relevant.  Examples include pre-recorded videos, webinars, live streams, video tours, whiteboard sessions and integration with common Learning Management Systems like Articulate.

The beauty of a virtual environment is that it can also include interactive elements such as scavenger hunts and fact-finding missions that contribute to leaderboard results.  As we know, adding an element of peer to peer competition and team collaboration can be hugely beneficial for online learner outcomes.

Virtual temple environment

Videos for online training

Interactive videos keep online training interesting.  Virtual tours can be an excellent way to educate leaners online, helping them to become familiar with a certain place, practice, process or workplace.  Videos are a great way of conveying a specific organisational culture which is particularly useful for onboarding.

Virtual training simulations

Virtual training centres are a fantastic way of including interactivity within your online training.  A virtual training centre can host, within it, demonstrations of systems, software, equipment and procedures in a 360 virtual format.  Takeaway materials can then be made available such as downloads, surveys and feedback forms.

virtual lab

Gamification

Adding gaming elements to online training is a simple way to support learners to learn, but in a way that doesn’t feel dry or tedious.  Some examples where this has been used successfully include action based content unlocking, progress based passports, scavenger hunts, tap into competitions, timed quizzes, physical and mental challenges and leaderboards.

Integrations

Developing a more successful training experience is made even easier by integrating existing platforms and services within your new campaign. For example, you may have a set of pre-learning materials already created, or want to utilise a Miro board – these can simply be made available as part of a 360 immersive experience. Any LMS already created can also be integrated, leveraging existing training programmes and creating a fresh and exciting experience for learners.

In summary

Interactive training requires participation and challenges learners to manage their own learning progress in an active way.  With interactive elements that are based on real life scenarios, learners are empowered to get involved in real life decision making and problem solving.

This type of learning is not only fun and allows learners to discover for themselves, but also allows them to put their knowledge into action.  This approach to training boosts critical and creative thinking skills and is fun and sparks motivation.

What more could you ask for?  For more information on how Procreation can help you create interactive online training get in touch today or book a demo.

Book a time with one of our team to discuss your next project

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