ASAF Skills Development 2020 – Online workshops
In the framework of the ASAF Skills Development Trainings 2020 as a response to the current (professional) challenges caused by COVID-19, 3 different online workshops were offered to selected ASAF members between 25 June and 02 July 2020.
One of ASAF’s aims as a Pan-African forum for mobility students and professionals is the development of crucial personal and professional skills required in today’s working world. Therefore, and as a response to the challenges we are facing due to the pandemic, ASAF offered a wide range of online trainings to its member from 24 June to 07 July 2020. Among other things, a number of online workshops covered three essential areas of remote work. Each workshop was an interactive 90-minute training with not more than 10 participants. The workshops were conducted by an intercultural trainer on 6 different dates.
The first workshop Leading across distance – What changes in virtual environments? hosted ASAF members who had shown their interest in this topic by applying officially for this workshop. The main focus was set on social interactions and communication in remote settings. It was highlighted that leadership requires more awareness, more management and more effort when working with teams from different locations. Participants learnt about delegating and monitoring tasks, motivating team members, as well as keeping contact and information flow when leading a team from distance. The small scale with few participants offered the opportunity to share experiences and thoughts as well as to develop ways to manage remote teams together. The evaluation submitted by the members afterwards showed that they were very satisfied with the organisation of the workshop and that they feel more competent with this topic after taking part in the workshop.
Furthermore, the workshop Trusting is good – control is better? The role of trust in remote teams, was offered twice on 2 different dates. The workshop was based on the fact that keeping physical distance from each other requires us to rethink questions of trust and control. Therefore, crucial questions such as Where does trust come from? How can we develop trust in others? How can we make others trust us? Which conditions are beneficial for a trustful collaboration? What evokes mistrust? were addressed and discussed. The participants contributed actively to establishing what makes a constructive and trustful collaboration possible and reflected the above-mentioned questions in a critical way. The feedback given by the participants was very positive, they experienced the workshop as diversified and interesting and feel more competent after completing it!
Last but not least, the workshop Teamwork across distance – new soft skills for remote collaboration, was offered twice on 2 different dates. It seems obvious that teams need new skills to collaborate from distance, and that they need to master new technical tools. Moreover, new and more soft skills are required to manage remote teamwork, such as organising work, smooth handovers of tasks, a good workflow in the team and learning to communicate in a more attentive way. The members, who participated in the workshop, shared personal experiences they gained through working with teams online throughout their careers. While discussing both advantages and disadvantages regarding distance team work, positive factors such as the fact that it saves money, causes less travelling, allows the work on several tasks at the same time and reduces the individual costs for transportation were mentioned by the participants. On the other hand, participants also agreed on several difficulties which come with remote work, e.g. weak internet connections and technology as a risk in general, preparing an appropriate frame, time management, and collaborating over different time zones. All in all, the workshop included many interactive tasks, e.g. breakout sessions, and motivated the members to discuss and exchange experiences.
On the whole, the ASAF Skills Development online workshops were a big success! By covering the most important aspects of remote work and collaboration, participants confirmed afterwards that they feel more competent regarding these topics. Thanks again to everyone who took part and shared own thoughts and experiences from which other ASAF members could benefit!
Cologne, 17 July 2020