Productivity Training in a Virtual Environment

It was March 2020, still a relatively new year with lots of ambition, lots of goals. Sales were going to be made that had not ever been made; reports were being created that had never been created; software was being learned, certifications were being planned, and people were on fire to exceed expectations for the year!

Then it all stopped.

In America, we were all sent home to do our work; only essential workers, they said, could basically leave the house, unless for food or emergencies. And with that, we packed up our laptops from work, maybe a file or two that we needed to complete a job in progress, and we closed the doors to the building, and we left. For two months, we left. It was kind of like arriving at your vacation destination without any luggage, because what you thought might be a couple of weeks turned into a couple of months, and who knew in March that you would have needed to also take home the file for the report due in April, or May? Most of us had no idea what our future held.

If you are a daily user of productivity software, i.e.: Excel, Word, Photoshop, InDesign, Outlook, etc., you were most likely not prepared for the two plus months of being homebound. After all, you go to an office; you work on company equipment, and you use company office supplies. You print things on the company printer and copy reports on the company copier. At home, there may not have been access to the company shared drive where your electronic files are stored. And as for that Office 365 software and the Cloud? Well, you had intended to learn about that, but just hadn’t made it to training yet.

Enter LRS Education Services! Some of you are still home, and you’re in luck! We are offering virtual training with a live instructor for any productivity software that you might need. In fact, the same instructor who teaches in the classroom will also be the one who walks you through the exercises step by step. The only difference is hearing the instructor in your computer’s speakers rather than within the same classroom. Most computers are already equipped with built-in microphones and some even have built-in web cams, if desired. Web cams are not required for training, however.

And if your computer doesn’t have a built-in microphone, no problem. Once you have obtained an external microphone (most students use a headset with a built-in microphone), simply plug it into a USB drive, and talk away! When signing up for a virtual class experience with LRS, you will be provided with all instructions on exactly what to do. You will also be provided with an online platform to communicate with the instructor and to watch the instructor’s screen as exercises are demonstrated, just as they are in the face-to-face classroom!

As you wrap your head around this kind of training that you have never had to do before, I can see you’re trying to envision this. “Is it really possible?” you ask, “It sounds very technical!” Students of productivity software are sometimes not used to working with microphones, headsets, web cams or even dual monitors, and most do not have extra computer monitors just laying around the house unused.  However, do not overthink your ability to hook into a virtual training class.

While it is convenient to use one monitor to watch the instructor’s demonstration and use the other monitor to complete your own exercises, dual monitors are not required. Knowing this, some students have found workarounds by using a second computer, a tablet or even a phone, although not recommended. There is also the option of just using one computer and toggling back and forth between the two browser tabs or between the two applications.

Applications such as OneDrive, Teams, OneNote and SharePoint include areas for file storage. Using these applications will always make your files accessible, whether in the office or at home. If your company already invests in the Microsoft Office 365 suite, there is a plethora of apps to make your work easier and your productivity greater! Planner uses built in charts and analytics to measure the amount of productivity for yourself or your team and easily assists with assigning tasks to team members, which can then also be tracked in Outlook, if desired.

In Adobe, using the Creative Cloud software stores all files in their proprietary cloud location, also making them accessible from all locations. Remember that new design you started working on in March but didn’t need it until August? Learning how to use the cloud technology and Adobe libraries will provide you with peace of mind knowing that your files can be opened no matter where you are or in what situation.

And last of all, while much of this article has focused on taking classes virtually and organizing your content into cloud locations, let’s not overlook the virtual capacity of Microsoft Teams for company meetings! Teams allows employees to connect with other employees for virtual meetings using both audio or video or simply just using audio. Either way, when in a Teams meeting, users also receive the ability to take notes about the meeting and even to share each other’s screens within the meeting. In the old days, we attend a meeting to discuss the changes that need to be made to a budget, for example. With Microsoft Teams, there is the opportunity to verbally speak to one another, while also editing the budget document, while the document is on the screen for everyone to see. When the employee in charge of the budget leaves the meeting, there is no longer a couple of hours of revisions to make, as they were done in the meeting, hence, freeing up time for the employee to move on to other projects. This is productivity at its best! To learn more about using Teams, join our Microsoft Office 365 Online (with Teams for the Desktop) class.

If you haven’t taken the time to capitalize on your productivity software investment, it is time to do so. Sign up today for instructor-led training by going to and search for the classes you need to be prepared for this and any future stay-at-home orders. Don’t look back and think about what you should have done during the 2020 pandemic. Look ahead, get organized now and think about the future!

Kelly A. Cummings
Education Instructor