LAS is an award-winning provider of elearning consultancy, design, development and training services in the UK and internationally.
Established in 2005 as LearningAge Solutions, we work with some of the best known organisations in the world to boost their performance through the innovative use of learning technologies. Working in partnership with our customers, we draw on proven principles from human behaviour, how people learn and how the brain works to create impactful digital learning solutions with real return on investment.
Louise is one of our Project Managers. She ensures that all our projects are completed on time, to budget and to the highest quality.
Louise manages those involved in a project and is always on hand to make sure that our clients' experience of working with us is nothing short of excellent.
Louise has over twenty years experience in the e-learning industry and has managed well over 100 e-learning projects for national and international, public and private sector organisations.
by Louise Cox
Posted 23rd August 2019
In 2005, I had my daughter Alice, and I took 8 months’ maternity leave. On my return to work I found the balance between work and family hard to juggle: the daily rush of dropping her off at nursery, the stress of getting to work on time and then the stress of getting back to pick her up. Not to mention the guilt of both leaving my colleagues to work late and being the last to pick Alice up. Even the place where I worked treated me differently. I was once someone, people took me seriously, I had a job to do – an important job – I contributed and I felt valued. But, when I returned, I was seen as a ‘mum’ and, even though I had a job to do, it was no longer an important one. In 2008 I took the bold decision to leave and work from home as a Learning Consultant. In 2009, I met Rob Hubbard who, like me, wanted to work in a way that fitted with family life and so I started work as a Project Manager for LAS.
Sharing the same values
Ten years go by so quickly: Alice is taking her GCSEs and she was joined by Olivia in 2010. Like Alice, LAS has grown (up) in size and in success. I never think of LAS as a place I work or where I have a job to do, but as a place where I can contribute and feel valued. The best bit about being part of the LAS team is that we all share similar personal values and these are aligned with LAS’s own organisational vision and goals. This means we all follow the same north (or guiding) star, both personally and professionally.
At LAS we recognise that our personal and work lives are not separate and to achieve that elusive holy grail – work-life balance – it required a different working mindset. And although LAS has toyed with the idea of having an office, for the last ten years our team have all been home-based.
Initially our customers were often surprised, but nowadays, home-based working, is widely accepted; even some of our customers video conference in from their homes or even holidays! It also means that LAS as an organisation has minimised its impact on the environment and improved the wellbeing of the team.
Working from home So, here are my top tips for working from home.
Have a space – For many of us, working from home means our desk is the dining room table, but I found that I was much happier when I had a desk in another room. I can shut the door and leave the office.
Switch off – In the earlier years, as a home-based worker, I found I would work long hours, as it was hard to switch off from work, and I would always say to myself ‘I’ll finish when I get to this bit’ and then I would keep going late into the night.
I now try to organise my time, for personal and work activities, into segments, which seem to fall into 2 hour slots, that I can interchange as required for each day, these are either personal or work related based.
‘I’m working!’ Sometimes my husband or kids are at home when I am working. And they haven’t actually grasped that I do have a day job. I have to remind my husband that I am not being rude, but I can’t stop and chat, as I nip into the kitchen to make a cup of tea. And Alice who is now a teenager, is only just realising, I can’t just pop up to school because she has forgotten her [insert item]. My mother still needs some convincing that I do actually work!
Your virtual toolkit (You’re not alone) – At LAS we would not be able to survive without our online tools, like Skype and Google. They create communication channels that allow us to successfully run our projects., We regularly use the video function in tools like Skype, for team calls, just to remind us there are still humans out there. And we have found that it’s beneficial to have a social channel on Skype, which allows for office ‘chitchat’.
Plan your day – It’s easy to get distracted by weeds in the garden or that new recipe you just want to try out. When you’re at home you can be tempted to do other jobs like cleaning, washing or cooking tea. Schedule your time, as though you are working at an office.
Keep active – One of the benefits of working from home is that I am enjoying a more active lifestyle. I’ll do a lunchtime circuit, either at the gym or an online session. I’ll go for a lunchtime bike ride or walk the dogs. Keeping active, is a great stress-buster and has huge benefits for the mental health of home-based workers.
Get out – Working from home can sometimes feel quite lonely, when I crave human interaction, particularly if I feel something is not going especially well, or I just need someone else’s point of view, I’ll just head off to the nearest coffee shop (where everyone knows my name) and go in for a brew and a chat.
Seize the day – Sometimes you just need a break, particularly in the UK, when you spot that sliver of sun between the clouds; you just have to unplug and get out. One of the best bits of working from home is the flexibility; if I want to pop to see my kids at the school play, or catch up with friends for lunch, or I just want to enjoy that couple of hours of sunshine we get here in the UK, then I schedule my work around it.