Monthly Archive for September, 2020

Computer Learning/Emotional Intelligence Month

October is Computer Learning Month. It is also Emotional Intelligence month. Although these seem quite diverse subjects, they are both about improving our own skills. They are also both about connecting with other people, either through understanding emotions or by being able to use all the digital methods of communication.

Computer Learning Month

Computers are now in every part of our lives. From the smartphones that we spend so much time using, to the laptops and desktops in all businesses. However, although for some, computers have always been part of their lives, in relative terms, it is not really that long they were not as ubiquitous as they now are. Although it is easy to assume that everyone is able to use computers, that isn’t the case. Computer Learning Month is for those who have difficulty working with computers, or just need a refresher.

People may not be familiar with computers because of a lack of opportunity, or because they are from a generation before computers were widely used. While many people will live their lives quite happily without using computers, it is increasingly disadvantageous not to have basic computer skills.

Computer Learning Month was established to encourage those who aren’t familiar with computers. It highlights the opportunities available to learn more about computers, such as classes at local libraries starting with courses on things such as basic internet usage.

Computer Learning is essential because computers are involved in almost everything, such as paying bills, scheduling appointments, and finding information on almost everything, so it’s important that people are not left behind. There is already, an increasing digital divide, between those who do and don’t have access to a computer.

You can celebrate Computer Learning Month, by enrolling in classes to build on your skills. Of course, at Infero, we offer courses at all levels. However, even if you already have good computer skills, there is always something new you can learn to help enhance your abilities.

Better knowledge of computing enables people to stay in touch with friends, families and friends, especially in the current situation. We have a previous post that gives some tips on increasing your Computer Learning here.


Emotional Intelligence Month

October is also Emotional Intelligence month and its annual campaign to educate people about the subject began in 2006. The Emotional Intelligence Institute organizes Emotional Intelligence Month and offers free educational materials for free on the non-profit’s website.

Managing and developing our emotions and understanding those of others is critical for all of us. As well as the information available we have 10 ways to improve your Emotional Intelligence here.


10 Ways to Improve Your Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence (EI) or emotional quotient (EQ) is the capability of individuals to recognize their own emotions and those of others. It is not only recognising your own emotions; it is being able manage these appropriately and being able to help others manage their’s. Emotional Intelligence also allows us to harness those emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problem solving.

Although there is no Test for Emotional Intelligence in the same way that there are IQ tests, the idea of emotional Intelligence has gained wide acceptance. Some employers incorporate emotional intelligence assessment into their interview processes, as someone high in emotional intelligence makes a better leader or co-worker.

 Although the term Emotional Intelligence first appeared in 1964, it gained popularity in the 1995 book ‘Emotional Intelligence’, written by the science journalist Daniel Goleman.

However good your own emotional intelligence you can use the 10 simple ideas below to improve and develop your self-awareness and empathy.

1. Practice Observing How You Feel

Given the pace of many of our lives it is easy to lose touch with our emotions and miss out on the valuable information these emotions contain.  Paying attention to how we’re feeling helps us to learn to trust our emotions, and become more adept at managing them.

You can practice by setting a time to notice how you’re feeling emotionally. Is an emotion showing up as a physical feeling in your body and what does the sensation feels like?

2. Pay Attention to How You Behave

By paying attention to your behaviour and noticing how you act when experiencing certain emotions, you can begin to understand how these impact your communication with others, your productivity and sense of well-being. Be careful not to slip into judging your own behaviour too much however.

3. Use an Assertive Communication Style

Assertive communication earns respect without being too aggressive or too passive. Strong Emotional intelligence allows you to communicate your opinions directly while still respecting others.

4. Maintain Motivation.

Self-motivation is a characteristic of emotionally intelligent people. Setting goals and being resilient in the face of challenges also helps them motivate others.

5. Use Active Listening skills.

During conversations, emotionally intelligent people make sure they understand what is being said before responding, so do this. Also try to pay attention to the nonverbal details when conversing. You will avoid misunderstandings and respond properly to other people.

6. Have A Positive Attitude.

Attitudes are important and a negative attitude can affect others.  Emotionally intelligent people are aware of the moods of those around them and change their attitude accordingly. Create a positive environment by making time to notice what is going well and what you should be grateful for. This can be contagious to people around you too.

7. Practice Self-awareness.

Emotionally intelligent people are aware of their own emotions and how they can affect those around them. Make sure you are aware of your own and others’ emotions and use that information to enhance your communication skills.

8. Use Criticism Constructively

Being criticised is never easy, but part of increasing your emotional intelligence is seeing criticism as positively as possible. Don’t be offended or defensive, but take a few moments to understand where the critique is coming from.  Use this knowledge to constructively resolve any issues.

9. Empathise with Others.

Empathy is a trait that shows emotional strength. It helps us relate to others on a basic human level. Use empathy to promote mutual respect and understanding between people with differing opinions and situations.

10. Utilise Leadership Skills.

Emotionally intelligent people are excellent leaders. Because they have high standards for themselves, they set an example for others to follow. Good emotional intelligence promotes good decision making and problem-solving skills.

Bonus: Be Approachable and Sociable.

It is fairly obvious that emotionally intelligent people will be perceived by others as friendly and approachable. Focus on using appropriate social skills and communicating clearly with those around you in all social situations and see a boost to your own emotional intelligence.

There are individuals who are naturally empathetic and emotional intelligence skills come to them much more easily, but anyone can develop them. Being more self-aware and conscious of how you interact with others as well as following the methods outlined above will undoubtedly increase your emotional intelligence level. And Increasing emotional intelligence is an ongoing project; it is always possible to keep improving.

Live Half-Day Virtual Training

After the success of our Virtual Online Training, Infero is now able to offer Training that is even more flexible and convenient. It is now possible to divide your training into half-days, allowing you to complete your course whilst still maintaining your work schedule, attending important meetings and meeting other commitments. This is Remote learning tailored exactly to you and your organisation’s requirements.

“…delivered to suit you, your work-patterns and the requirements of your organisation.”

At Infero, we know how difficult it can be to schedule training, especially in the current situation; juggling the availability of team members and complex working can be hard to do, but there is a solution.

…full interaction with your trainer, and…having the flexibility of breaking your course into half day sessions.”

Infero can now offer all of our Training Courses, from Microsoft Office through to Time Management divided into half days of Virtual Online Training. This means that it is now possible to train for half a day, whilst working for the other half. You can choose either morning sessions for your training, or afternoon sessions, or even a mixture of both.

Infero’s Virtual Online Training has all of the advantages of Classroom study, but without the effort and cost of travelling. You get the full interaction with your trainer that you would expect in a normal course, whilst still being able to keep up with your day to day working commitments. Find out more about Virtual Online Training here.

“Virtual training is an online, interactive classroom where people meet live. Participants engage in learning activities and interact with the Trainer/Facilitator, as well as each other…allowing group discussion, individual questions and practice exercises, all in real time.”

 For our training at Infero, we use WebEx video training platform. It is exceptionally easy to check if your system meets WebEx requirements, but all you really need is an internet-connected computer or laptop, with either a built-in microphone or headphones with a mic. For some courses you may require an additional screen. This can be a second computer monitor, a normal TV (to which you can connect using a standard HDMI cable used to connect most peripherals), or even a tablet.

Infero had now made it possible to have Live, Online Training that provides full interaction with your trainer, and at the same time having the flexibility of breaking your course into half day sessions. This can then be delivered to suit you, your work-patterns and the requirements of your organisation.

6 Easy Ways to Improve Your Computer Skills

Computers are everywhere. They are in almost every workplace and, with the increase in Remote working, they have become even more important. This means that now, more than ever, it is important to have basic computer skills, or to be ‘computer literate’, as it is sometimes known. Computer literacy also makes you more efficient and productive in the workplace and increases your desirability to employers.

So just how do you develop and enhance your computer skills?

1. Start with the Basics

For some very good reasons, there are some people who still can’t accomplish basic tasks such as typing, powering a computer on and off, or learning keyboard commands. If you fall into this category, don’t worry. Many local authorities in the UK provide basic computer courses. The BBC also provides a beginner’s guide that can be downloaded and printed or viewed on a tablet or phone. If  you want to get know how to use Windows, there are lots of tutorials and other learning material on the Microsoft website. You can even start learning without a computer. There are many books that cover basic computer skills.

2. Just Try It

Don’t be afraid to try something on a computer. There are very few things (short of using a hammer) that will permanently break your machine. Just be sure that you have copies of anything important before you experiment. Like anything, regular practice will enhance your skills, making it easier to perform these tasks often. And learning more advanced computer skills will become less intimidating.

3. Search for Answers Online

Once you have mastered the basics, if you do come across something that confuses you, search online. Just ‘Google it’. You will be surprised how many step-by-step articles you will find that will cover what you want exactly. 

4. Take a Course

If you want to learn specific software like Microsoft Office, there are lots of courses you can find online, some of them even free. These will increase your knowledge and skills. Of course, Infero offers courses at all levels and for many different software packages. Not only that, we offer Virtual Courses, conducted online, with a live trainer, able to re-explain or go over any area and answer any questions.

5. Get Together with Other People

There may be a Computer Club near you that has meetings for beginnings. In the office, if you have a computer skill or program you want to learn but don’t have the resources, you can try talking to your managers. If there are other employees in the office with the same requirement, your company may be more willing to consider training if they know there is a general need, or if they see that it’s to their advantage.

6. Help Someone Else

Studies have shown that the best way to understand a concept yourself is to teach it to someone else. Also, the people you help may ask questions that you may not have ever thought of. Helping them will expand your own understanding and help someone in the process.

The thing to remember is not to be scared of Computers. Computers are designed to do exactly what you tell them to do and are really much simpler than you think. Who knows what you could accomplish!

How to Maintain Work Friendships when Remote Working

Many studies have shown that having friends at work is vital and makes you seven times more likely to be engaged in your job. People with workplace friendships are nearly 3 times more likely to say that they love their companies and 2 times less likely to be poached by another company. Good interaction has positive effects on our well-being.

“Connecting with people boosts our mood and our morale, and friendships provide us with the emotional and psychological strength to deal with whatever comes our way”

– Annie McKee

Friends at work make you more motivated and up to seven times more productive. There is no doubt that having someone in the workplace to cheer you up when you’re down or chat to when you’re bored can massively improve how much you enjoy your time at work. The work produced is better in fact; employees with a friend have a 35% higher dedication to quality than their counterparts.

People with friends at work have a much higher level of workplace satisfaction, are more loyal to the company and less likely to leave. They also act as brand ambassadors speaking well about the company and are less likely to leave, decreasing office turnover. People with good office friendships are just happier.

Of course, our relationships within the workplace should also remain positive and professional and not become inappropriate. Harassment, favouritism, and abuse of authority, can also stem from close social rapport between co-workers. It’s important to avoid all the pitfalls of office relationships and respect people’s boundaries. A good way to do this is to avoid office gossip. We should also ensure we include non-friends in work projects, and treat everybody, those we like and those we may not like so much, fairly and equally.

However, as long as a healthy balance is struck, leading scientists and psychologists agree that good social relationships are immensely beneficial. Organisations are simply a network of people. The better balanced the relationships between those people become, the better the organisation functions.

Is Working from Home the New Normal?

The Coronavirus Pandemic has meant that many people have been furloughed or working from home. As lockdown has been lifted, personal and professional remain distinctly different from before Covid-19. Since remote working does not seem to have harmed productivity, many believe that it is a ‘new normal’, with up to 75% of employees wanting to continue working from home.

Certainly staff are reporting improved productivity and job satisfaction and companies that continue working from home will be able to reduce fixed and overhead costs. No more stress  traffic and road rage on the office commute. Workers also have the freedom to  run errands usually unmanageable in  a 9-5 routine.

Some critics argue that the convenience of flexible working can’t compensate for what’s lost in creativity and connectedness. Are the figures on increased productivity misleading?

There’s strong evidence that working in teams yield better results. Social psychologist Floyd Allport found that people worked better in teams, even if they weren’t collaborating, establishing an effect known as ‘social facilitation’. So, employees and businesses alike must ask themselves whether working from home is actually as beneficial as it’s been made out to be.

Remote working is likely to become a big part of our future.  Some will enjoy the increased freedom and flexibility but others will long for the days before COVID reshaped the workplace and there are warnings of ‘ghost towns’ if staff do not return to the office. 

Given the importance of workplace relationships there are ways to improve connectivity among the workforce and measures can be implemented to create a connected workforce bridging physical gaps. Activities focusing on relationship building can be adapted to online work environments, with the addition of virtual coffee breaks, regular check-ins, virtual mentoring & lunch catch-ups. Companies should implement measures that build trust and show support. To achieve this, leaders within organisations must take action to provide support during times of excessive stress or concern.

The government is currently urging workers to return to work, if they can. If companies follow Government Guidelines correctly then returning to the workplace will be very different experience, with colleagues wearing masks, separated by partitions and one way systems. There will be fewer people in the office, as businesses will have to limit numbers in the office, to allow for social distancing.

Polls also show that many want to continue working from home. Some argue that what will emerge is a hybrid model, with much more flexibility. Whatever is eventually the outcome, it is certain that work friendships and the dynamics of office interaction will be different.

The Pandemic Is Changing Work Friendships

Co-workers had little choice but to bond when they spent 40 hours a week together. But if widespread remote work sticks around, those relationships will never be the same.  If having a close work friend does increase productivity, and even company loyalty, will these changes have long term effects?

“What we’re doing through virtual work is we’re neutralizing the social aspect of [work],”

–  Hilla Dotan

We may need to be proactive to maintain relationships that once were easy, since we are no longer spending thirty to forty hours in the company of colleagues.  Remote-work friendships may need extra effort, which will not be easy, especially as the longer term effects of the pandemic start to be seen. It is likely, though, that people will likely still go the extra mile for co-workers they really connect with. It is time to remember just how important the support of work place friends can be.