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A time to reinvent

With over 80 per cent of Indian businesses switching to a work from home’ protocol, a lot of young professionals may find they have vast swathes of underutilised time. It’s a great opportunity to pick up new skills, even the often underrated soft skills, and there is a fair array of options to choose from. Says Shreyasi Singh, founder and CEO of online platform Harappa Education, which runs foundational courses to enhance employability: Learning online is a great way to enhance skills and you can do it at your own pace. [Consider] a foundation course on speaking effectively or managing a team. Alternatively, look up webinars of interest, quite aside from the learning on these forums, you’ll find a new way of being social in a time of isolation and even growing your professional network.

Cook up a Perfect Storm

You don’t have to envy the cake s/he bakes, just do it yourself, and help is at hand. Mumbai-based Sanjana Patel, creative director and executive chef, La Folie, has started The Classroom Cooking Club, an online library subscription for recipes. Patel’s online club, which started on the second day of her self-isolation since she returned from the US on March 17, is free for the first month and participants are sent a recipe every day. Also, once registered, you have access to the online library of recipes, which are all fairly simple because we want people to be able to recreate them in their kitchens. Nearly 300 people joined in the first 48 hours. Patel even follows up on Instagram, to clarify doubts and maybe even butter.

Sanjana Patel of ‘The classroom cooking club’

Avocado tartine with coriander pumpkin seed pesto and heirloom tomato gel

Bridge the Gap

If buzzwords like artificial intelligence, data analytics and robotics have sounded too geeky or new-agey so far, here’s an opportunity to size up that threat. You might want to use The Big (21-day) Lockdown to try a short course that will give you a nodding acquaintance with some of these new-world ideas. There are both basic courses as well as advanced modules on offer. Sonya Hooja, COO and co-founder of Imarticus Learning, which runs online courses across domains like finance, analytics and technology, says, Anyone, regardless of their academic or professional background, can opt for them. Designed as one-week certificate courses, the classes go live on March 30. Each module consists of five online sessions of four hours each. The instructor-led, virtual-training modules feature interactions with industry expertsand are, in fact, free! GlobalGyan’s free masterclasses, aimed at mid-career managers, will run over the next four weeks. Among the highlights are tips to keep teams motivated through disruptive events or other challenges. One can sign up for a single 90-minute session or a whole set, says Srinivasa Adeepalli, founder and CEO, GlobalGyan.

Waste Not, Want Not

If you’ve wondered, a bit guiltily sometimes, about your carbon footprint or simply the amount of waste you produce daily and wanted to do something about it you should invest some time in picking up the rudimentaries of a zero-waste lifestyle. On February 1, Bare Necessities, a personal care brand headquartered in Bengaluru, launched an online zero waste programme’ to spread awareness and encourage people to become part of the solution. It has 200 participants so far. Sahar Mansoor, founder CEO of Bare Necessities and one of the experts running the course, says You can run through the 30 sessions in 30 days, but you’ll apply this learning throughout your life. The course features 10 modules that demonstrate how a zero-waste worldview alters the way we look at personal care and homecare; cities and neighbourhoods; travel and kitchen hygiene, and more. One-time cost: Rs 999.

An Orange peel DIY body scrub

Mansoor’s total waste output in four years

Sustainable products by the brand

Point and shoot

Between connecting with colleagues on Zoom and checking the markets, investment banker Manoj Menon, 48, logs onto Skype for photography lessons with his friend and photographer Akshay Chopra. Both the vocabulary aperture’, exposure’, depth of field’ etc.and the micro-manoeuvres this new learning coaxes out of him are exciting for Menon. I always wanted to learn photography, but work was too hectic. This forced slowdown has finally given me the time to indulge my hobby, he says. A Canon EOS M6 Mark II, bought during a trip to London but barely used, sits on his table all day. Now, during work-breaks, he tries out what he learns. It’s rejuvenating, he says. Work becomes far more enjoyable. Any new skill teaches you focus, concentration and ignites a love of new experiences, he says. With work from home’ arrangements unlikely to end anytime soon, Menon plans to take guitar lessons next.

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