Applying risk management to pandemic-driven remote learning

Applying risk management to pandemic-driven remote learning

A GitLab team member and parent offers some tips to improve today’s remote learning experience. ike many of you, when COVID-19 began to spread in the Spring of 2020, I never imagined just how much my life would change.

Like many of you, when COVID-19 began to spread in the Spring of 2020, I never imagined just how much my life would change. While I personally was accustomed to working remotely, my husband and children certainly were not. As the pandemic continues, parents around the world are faced with a new challenge: how to simultaneously manage their careers and their children’s educational needs. The risks, at times, can feel insurmountable. I went through every emotion this summer as I tried to strategize for what pandemic-driven remote learning would look like for my family. And then I realized, why am I trying to recreate the wheel? As an all-remote company, GitLab’s values and all-remote culture provide a proven model for successfully managing a remote workforce. So why not try it out with my kids?

So with that knowledge and appreciation, I decided to utilize the basic principles of risk management to manage my family’s work and learn from home routine. But don’t worry, you don’t have to be a compliance professional to utilize this technique. In this blog post, I've mapped out the steps I used with my family that I hope will contribute to a more successful 2020/2021 school year for families.

Before you start, it is critical to remember, you can never fully eliminate risk. The steps below are designed to reduce the risk to align with your risk appetite. Only you can determine what level of risk you will accept. Some people, like myself, may be more risk-averse and therefore seek to plan out everything to the smallest detail. Others might be more risk-tolerant and willing to let things “slide” a little. No matter where you fall on that spectrum, you can utilize the steps below to document and execute a successful pandemic-driven remote learning plan.

1: Identify

The first stage of risk management is to identify possible risks. If you don’t know what could go wrong you can’t prepare for it! It’s important to collaborate with each member of your family and understand their specific needs and concerns. As parents, we all know that each of our children has different needs. The same is true for their education: what works for one student won’t work for all students.

Let’s consider last spring as our “trial run”. For remote learning, discuss with your children what they enjoyed about that time and what didn’t work. If possible, reach out to their previous year’s teachers for additional feedback. To ensure your remote work success during present times, it is also important to have a discussion with your boss and/or Human Resources department to set and understand expectations. Many employers have programs, like GitLab’s Family and Friends Day to provide flexible schedules or supportive programs like what’s described in this GitLab COVID-19 handbook page. The more people you talk to, the more data you can collect. And the more data you have now, the more prepared you will be for the next steps.

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