The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the world to a standstill. That includes what has traditionally constituted professional development, with businesses cutting non-essential travel, flights being canceled, and conventions and conferences have been called off or postponed. But this time can also be used effectively to keep professional skills sharp for when the world returns to normal. “If you’re not earning, use the time to be learning,” Becky Frankiewicz, President of ManpowerGroup North America, recently said in an interview with Cheddar. “The economy will come back and you can position yourself now to ensure that you have the right skills and capabilities.”
Here are options for virtual learning that can be done anywhere, anytime.
Webinars and online training
Many conferences that have been forced to cancel in-person events have provided alternatives through webinars and virtual forums, often at reduced prices or no cost. Even if you weren’t planning on attending any upcoming conferences, the abundance of affordable and accessible webinars that provide star power and high talent is worth considering. Online learning courses are another option, such as LinkedIn Learning and Percipico. Currently, ManpowerGroup is offering 60 days of free access to Percipio, for those interested in online learning.
Listen to podcasts
In podcasts you’ll find authors talking about their books, researchers expounding on their discoveries and experts discussing techniques to improve any professional field. Search in Google Play or Apple’s iTunes for keywords that you want to learn for work, such as public speaking tips, advice for management or productivity hacks. To make sure you’re hearing from an authority, look for podcasts that are hosted by someone with credentials that you trust.
Coffee meetings don’t need to stop just because you can’t physically meet for coffee. In fact, you have more possibilities if you open up to virtual coffee meetings to people across the country or world. Reach out to mentors or colleagues to ask questions, learn from someone more experienced and keep your networking skills sharp with virtual coffee.
Reread classic business books
Libraries and bookstores are closed. And yes, you can still order new business books online or access them on an e-reader. But you can also use this time to re-read (or finish) older business books that you have on your shelves. Consider what lessons you learned in the past, and if you have been following or have absorbed them over time.
With the rapid pace of change, it can feel like surviving the daily battle is enough. But that means there’s never been a greater need to pursue continuous professional education. There has also never been a better time to learn for those who want to learn and keep growing.