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Transforming A Home Office Into A Shared Working Space: The Guide

Transforming A Home Office Into A Shared Working Space: The Guide

With the digital revolution, we have seen millions of people utilizing the internet to make a profit. If you are one of these lucky people, you would probably agree that setting up a home office is the way to go.

A dedicated space enables you to concentrate solely on the job, which increases your productivity. As time passes by and you’re doing work hard in your home, advancing your business further, you realize that the workload grows steadily. Gradually, it becomes too much to handle, and you have to call in someone to help.

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    With more people on a common goal, your best option is to expand your office to a shared working space. It is very gratifying to have all your employees in one place. You become a team, consulting and helping each other with every problem and having a few laughs along the way.

    The productivity goes up, and the communication gets better, and your team bonds and grows. This situation is much more preferable than collaborating through online platforms. It brings the office atmosphere to your home, but it requires some structural changes.

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    So, how do you do this? How will you effectively execute the transformation of this space? Here are some of the things that you should incorporate into your home to transform your home office into a fully functional shared working space.

    Working stations

    Since home offices are not too big in most cases, you will have to use the space efficiently. The foundation of the whole room is the workstation – a desk, a chair, and a computer.  More people will be working there, and you will need multiple stations, so opt for smaller desks. Small offices are easy to move and reorganize, and will also prevent you from piling up useless clutter because you won’t have the extra surface for it.

    shared working space

      Switch from a desktop PC to a laptop or all-in-one, because they require less space and cables. Comfy, ergonomic chairs are a must, but this you probably know. If you are short on socket plugs, just get a multi-socket extension cord. When positioning the workstation, it would be advisable that all of the workers face away from each other. Constantly having a person in your line of sight might distract you from the tasks and spark unnecessary blabber. Remember, productivity is the primary goal here.

      Chill out zone

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        To keep your sanity and health, occasional breaks are necessary and building a nice chill out zone is of great importance. The king of the modern day resting furniture is the sofa. Depending on the size of the room you can go with anything from a love seat to a corner sofa, you can’t go wrong with either of these. Lazy-bags are ideal for a moderate-sized space since they can be moved around quickly, and they provide comfortable resting ground.

        Another must-have is a side table for beverages because it is tiny, light, easy to put away, and you can even make one yourself. Throw in a ping-pong table to shake up your body after long hours of sitting. It takes minutes to set it up, and it is foldable and easily disposed of when you don’t need it anymore.

        Restroom

        You might wonder, why on Earth would I suggest this idea? Well, a bathroom is the most private area of a home, and it should remain exclusive to you and your family. Remember, a business space should have a professional feeling and has to stay separate from your personal living space. In addition, your co-workers don’t have to worry about bumping into your family members every time nature calls. To achieve this, you need to create a restroom. Nothing too fancy is required, a toilet and a bathroom sink. If you’re not good with pipes and drains, get a professional plumber to help you.

        office shared work space

          Besides installing some water pipes, separation walls will also be required, and building them is easier than you think. Let’s get down to the elements, and the first one is a quality toilet. Never skimp on a bathroom. A small sink with a quality faucet is necessary here, for the sake of general hygiene. Always keep a set of paper towels there, and a small bin.

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          Kitchen

          Unlike the restroom, the kitchen doesn’t need to be physically separated from the rest of the office. Let’s make it clear, when I say kitchen I mean focusing on the elementary things, the first one being the sink.  Since you already installed water pipes for the restroom, connect the sink & the faucet to them as well. People tend to wash hands in the kitchen often, so a quality sink & faucet is advisable.

          shared working space - kitchen

            The space under the sink is perfect for a trash bin. Second, you need a small counter or some active surface for food and drink preparation. For example, a folding table would be perfect because it is easy to put away once you’re done with it. Lastly, if you want a bit more luxury throw in a mini fridge in there, and if you are a coffee fan, place a nice coffee machine on top of the fridge. Of course, the latter two are not necessary, and if you’re short on room, it might be best to skip on these. Same goes with the water machine.

            What’s better than being your own boss?

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              It’s working in your place of course. As I’m sure you know, running a business can be tough, and it is truly a blessing to be able to do it from home. An office space is not to be taken likely, it can make you or break you, so be sure to optimize it according to yours and your coworkers’ needs.

              A good working environment will raise the team’s spirits and result in a pleasant atmosphere which will turn the business into pleasure and contentment. There are not many things in life better than that, and success usually follows.

              Do you have a home office? Do you plan to expand to shared working space? If you’ve considered creating it, now is a perfect time.

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              Dejan Kvrgic

              Blogger, Writer

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              Last Updated on November 5, 2019

              5 Learning Management Systems (LMS) for Effective Learning

              5 Learning Management Systems (LMS) for Effective Learning

              Businesses rely on talent to generate and sell value. Without skilled people to create its products, manage its operations and execute its strategies, a business would inevitably fizzle out of the game and leave better-staffed competitors to take the field.

              This is the reason why ambitious companies go great lengths to attract top talent,[1] shelling out millions of dollars in the process and bending traditional work policies just to bring highly skilled but demanding candidates into the fold.

              Clearly, the contours of business are changing. But so are the demographics of work.

              Millennials have become the dominant generation in the job market in terms of population, and some have already transitioned into leadership roles. Most millennials consider opportunity to learn and grow more important than overall compensation.[2]

              Companies also today expect employees to come equipped with razor sharp business acumen.[3] Unfortunately, there is an alarming discrepancy between the actual skills businesses need and those currently possessed by job candidates.

              To stay in the game, employers need to continually upgrade their training and skills development strategies to cover the entire employee lifecycle.

              What are Learning Management Systems (LMS)?

              Learning management systems are software-based solutions for authoring, presenting, consuming, storing, and tracking educational content and training materials. These systems aim to centralize all instructional content (e.g., lessons, training modules, instructional videos, presentation slides, worksheets, online quizzes, ebooks, takeaway notes, etc.) in one place.

              LMS enable instructors to design and deliver learning experiences to students, with the added capability of evaluating the effectiveness of the instructional materials and grading the learning progress of students.

              On the other side of the equation, learners use LMS to develop skills and acquire new knowledge virtually anytime and anywhere via the different channels and content formats made possible by digital technology.

              Over the years, a wide range of features and technologies have been integrated into learning management systems to help enhance the experience of training designers, instructors, and learners. These include cloud and mobile technology, artificial intelligence, responsive design, scheduling, gamification, data analytics, and interoperability with other applications.

              5 Best All-Purpose Learning Management Systems

              There are dozens of LMS vendors catering to the general market or to specific segments such as K-12 learning, higher education, and corporate training.

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              With so many options available, selecting the right LMS solution for your needs can be complicated and costly, especially when you end up adopting a platform that doesn’t exactly match your goals or requirements.

              Short of conducting a comprehensive audit of your needs and finalizing a learning roadmap, the safest bet would be to adopt full-featured but affordable LMS solutions.

              Based on user reviews, here are the 5 best LMS to help people gain knowledge, build skills, and achieve mastery:

              1. Canvas Network

              Launched by Instructure as an open source software in 2011, Canvas is an end-to-end cloud-based service originally engineered for the education sector.

              Widely adopted for K-12 and Higher Ed learning, Canvas can be repurposed for anything that involves an instructor, a subject matter, and a student.

              Used around the world by people of all ages and organizations of all types, Canvas arguably has the largest learning and support community in its class. It works on desktop computers, tablets and mobile phones.

              To get a glimpse of the platform’s fresh interfaces, you can visit the Canvas Network, a learning community that provides educational and instructional materials created by colleges, universities, corporate businesses, independent course developers, and other knowledge-sharing entities around the world.

              Hosting hundreds of interesting topics from data science to horticulture, the learning network also serves as evidence to the scope, capabilities, and popularity of the Canvas LMS platform.

              Canvas is hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS) infrastructure, which enhances the platform’s reliability, speed, scalability, and overall online performance.

              Additionally, platform adopters enjoy a low-risk environment since cloud-based solutions require no hard stops for version updates, upgrades, or system migrations.

              The Canvas website does not show a price matrix but says the service adopts a simple formula for computing fees: a one-time implementation fee and an annual subscription fee based on total number of users. It also promises free basic services for teachers who want to use the platform.

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              In addition to Canvas, Instructure also offers Bridge (an LMS designed for corporate environments), Arc (a video platform for online learning), and Gauge (an assessment management system).

              Check out this video if you want to learn more about Canvas Network:

              2. Google Classroom

              This free service from Google aims to improve the teaching and learning process using cloud technology, web apps, workflow simplification, and seamless communication between students and instructors.

              Using Classroom, educators can easily create and schedule classes, distribute assignments, send feedback, and grade quizzes all in one place. By streamlining processes, Classroom helps teachers save time and organize classes more effectively. Both students and teachers can also work using any device anytime and anywhere.

              Classroom works perfectly with other Google tools, having been launched initially as part of Google’s G Suite for Education. This LMS solution taps Google Drive for content storage and distribution, as well as Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides for the creation and sharing of instructional materials. Meanwhile it integrates Google Calendar for scheduling and Gmail for communication.

              With G Suite, other communication channels such as chat messaging, video conferencing, and a dedicated website are enabled.

              Easy to set up and manage, Google Classroom is free to use. One of my very first courses was actually hosted on Google Classroom.

              Going beyond the classroom environment, Google offers G Suite Enterprise for Education for large institutions. This suite provides enhanced search and analytics capabilities as well as advanced tools for enterprise communications.

              3. Moodle (Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment)

              If budget and capability equally top your list of LMS adoption criteria, then Moodle might just fit the bill. Which is to say there’s none (i.e., bill).

              Moodle is a free and open-source learning solution for distance education, workplace training, flipped classrooms, and other pedagogical environments.

              It is also a full-featured LMS supported by a robust community and a thriving developer ecosystem. Not surprisingly, Moodle is used in more than 15 million courses by more than 130 million users in 230+ countries.

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              Among other things, Moodle enables administrators and educators to create a dynamic and dedicated website to host organic, easily accessible, and highly customizable courses that can be experienced on desktops and mobile devices anytime and anywhere.

              Moodle provides a personalized and intuitive dashboard as well as a host of collaboration tools for content designers, teachers, and learners. A universal calendar, an efficient file management system, an automatic notification system, multimedia integration, and a progress tracking tool all come with the package.

              Check out this video if you want to learn more about Moodle:

              4. Absorb

              This platform recently bagged PC Magazine’s Editors’ Choice Award for Best LMS.

              Co-designed and built by former course authors, Absorb takes learning experience to the next level. This turnkey LMS solution is responsive, full-featured, and highly customizable for maximum impact.

              Course developers can orchestrate a wide range of experiences depending on audience or learning situation. In addition to surveys, polls, and e-commerce integration, Absorb supports formal online learning and certifications standards such as AICC, SCORM, and Tin Can.

              The user interface can also be modified to match the learner’s location, group, or department, allowing for a different look and feel for customers, channel partners, management trainees, and newly hired employees.

              Absorb supports all personal computing devices from desktops to mobile phones. There are also native or hybrid apps for iOS and Android.

              The only possible drawback to the platform’s powerful feature set is its pricing. The service reportedly implements a flat, one-time setup fee depending on your business and training requirements. According to the site, any plan comes with a dedicated success team for your account.

              Although small companies are welcome to try, midsize to enterprise-scale organizations are probably the best segment to readily adopt this LMS solution.

              Take a look at some examples of Absorb in this video:

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              5. Watershed Collaborative

              Created by a group of educators, this nonprofit rethinks the priorities of an LMS, asserting that too many systems miss the most essential elements of what makes learning stick. They promise a better user experience – emphasizing Learning before Management and System.

              Watershed aims to support an inquiry-based learning experience through an integrated mix of online and in-person learning strategies and interactions designed expressly for teams – including collaboration, reflection, and dialogue.

              While Watershed was founded initially to serve the K-12 education market, the company has since expanded its scope to cater to all types of teachers and learners with its video-rich, state-of-the-art platform.

              If you’re a mission-driven educator, content creator, institution, or business, this LMS may be the one for you.

              Watershed specializes in assisting you with the instructional design of courses and provides content production services to ensure top-quality video assets with lasting value. Their LMS makes it easy for course creators to continuously update and tailor content to support small and large groups, while ensuring the technology and instructional strategy supports communities of learners.

              Pricing varies based on products and services, but revenues support the nonprofit’s ability to make its platform and courses available at little or no cost for high-need educators and educational settings.

              Honorable Mentions

              There are dozens of LMS vendors in this growing market and the brands included in foregoing list are by no means the only viable options for companies or learning institutions looking to upgrade their learning infrastructure.

              Many other excellent services are worth checking out. These include:

              1. Docebo is an LMS designed for hyper-engaging students, employees, customers, and other learners. The system helps organizations identify and resolve competency gaps with strategic learning interventions.
              2. Cornerstone OnDemand is a talent, training, and performance management solution offered as an SaaS (Software-as-a-Service). This service enables learners to create personalized playlists of instructional content.
              3. Lessonly is an LMS solution that makes it easier to recall and reinforce whatever skills or knowledge you have learned through quizzes, coaching, and constant practice.
              4. Skillsoft is an online training and corporate learning platform developed by a two-decade old and billion-dollar company with the same name.
              5. D2L BrightSpace is a learning management system that has all the basics for delivering excellent, rich-media experiences for classroom or workplace training.

              Conclusion

              There are many ways to learn but some are more effective and meaningful than others. Whether you are a teacher looking to enhance classroom learning or an HR manager creating a long-term talent development plan for employees, the key to impactful learning is to understand and bridge the needs of learners, the goals of your institution, and the actual capabilities of the learning tools you are considering.

              Note that using multiple LMS platforms is possible although not recommended. On the other hand, adopting other learning solutions beyond LMS (such as podcasts, mentoring, and onsite in-person workshops) may significantly improve learning outcomes. Always go for products and plugins that seamlessly integrate into your core LMS tool.

              Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

              Reference

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