solutions for online learning in a collaborative work space

Solutions for Online Learning In a Collaborative Space


Assistants, Don’t Let Collaborative Work Space Stop Your Education

Last week I was conducting a full-day workshop with 25 assistants. I had been telling them about our monthly free webinars as a way to continue their education after our live workshop.

One administrative assistant told me that with the new collaborative, open-space work environment, she had difficulty participating in webinars because she gets interrupted. Does this sound familiar?

Before I even could give a response, the other assistants in the room began to chime in with their solutions to this problem of the collaborative workspace harming the continued learning and development of the administrative professional.

Solutions For Online Learning In A Collaborative Space From Other Assistants

  • One assistant jumped in and said she puts a sign up at her workspace indicating she is watching a webinar. The assistant also suggested, depending on the time of the webinar, you could attend during lunch (which many assistants take at their desk.) Not that you should sit at your desk and each lunch but we all do it.
  • In addition to the sign, you could add wearing headphones to keep you from being distracted by the noise in your collaborative area.
  • Another administrative assistant suggested going to one of the quiet workspaces or rooms while attending a webinar.

I was really happy to see the assistants working around the obstacles of the new open work environment.

  • My answer to the dilemma was to sign up for the webinar and if it can’t be viewed during the workday, watch the replay at home. That is always an option…at least with the Office Dynamics webinar.

Do you have any tips for watching webinars or online learning programs during the workday? Or tips on how to prevent interruptions or get people to respect your learning time? Would love to hear your ideas – please share them in the comments below!

Joan Burge


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6 thoughts on “Solutions for Online Learning In a Collaborative Space”

  1. I make sure that my webinars are included on my executive’s calendar, so she knows I won’t be available for that hour. I also have a cute sign with a Emoticon Face indicating Hush with the following wording. “Participating in a Webinar. You may leave a note, email me or see me after noon today. Thank you for your support!”…or whatever time the webinar concludes. I have post-it-notes and a pen next to the sign for people to use to leave me a message. I find that people are very respectful of my on-line learning time unless there is an emergent situation, then thank goodness for replays!!

    1. Wow, Becke. Great input here. I love how you take it an extra step beyond the sign and leave a pen and paper for your visitors to leave you a note. Great ideas. We applaud you for the value you place on your continued learning.

  2. When I was promoted last year to my current position I went from having an office to being back in cubbie land. While its not an open collaborative work environment I do get interrupted a lot. I made 2 signs for when I’m on a webinar; I tape one to the back of my chair and put the other one on my document stand and turn it around so it faces out so that anyone who approaches my desk can see it. It has helped tremendously-yes I still get interrupted occasionally but most people respect the signs and come back and see me. It helps that my Executive is very supportive of my participation in ongoing training.

    1. Thanks for sharing, Robyn. That helps cut out a lot of the casual chit-chat when they know you’re in the middle of something. Are the few interruptions you do get more urgent types of requests?

  3. I find that I have a similar problem. I sign up for the free webinars and look very forward to participating in them, but then I feel guilty that I’m watching it during “work hours” or I get so many interruptions that I get frustrated and shut it off early. Am I the only one?

    1. Thanks for sharing, Terry. We’ve been guilty of that ourselves. What if you “budget” a few hours of learning for yourself throughout the month and consider that time well spent? We look forward to hearing what everyone else is doing to “treat” themselves to some well-deserved educational me-time.

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