These days it's quite common for training to take place in your office rather than in a training venue. The advantages of this are that the staff who need training are already present, and there's no need to cover the additional expense of travel and having a day (or more) out of the office. What's more is that your staff will be learning in a familiar environment, hopefully with equipment that they already use every day, so that it's easier and faster for them to learn.

If you've booked some in-house training of this kind, you'll need to make a few preparations before the event. It's not all up to the training provider to do this, so make sure you've double checked and ticked these essentials off the list before your training begins.

Checking or hiring equipment

Check with your chosen training company what equipment you'll need to have on site in order for them to conduct the training effectively. This is especially important if you're being trained on software as there might be compatibility issues with your IT setup and their training programs or software. If you don't have the correct spec, then you shouldn't go ahead and buy new equipment - after all, that would be more expensive than the training! Some companies offer a solution in terms of hiring the right equipment in for you to use for the duration of the training, so ask them if this might be required and you could get a package deal to quote for the rental alongside the training course.

Environment and business continuity

Sometimes office layouts (especially newer, open-plan styles) aren't conducive to training. You may have a boardroom or other quiet place, but rarely do companies have meeting rooms that will fit an entire department. Make sure that the training isn't going to disturb anyone needlessly who isn't involved in the actual training. Also consider how the training may impact other areas of the business - if a whole team is "out of bounds" because they're on a course, do you have sufficient backup to keep the day to day errands of the business running smoothly? Could you train half the team on one day and the other half the next, so you have business continuity?

There are also other areas where training courses have knock-on effects that you may not have thought of. For example, if everyone usually has a flexible lunch break and when training, they are all released into the canteen at the same time - will they be queuing for a long time and using up all the facilities in the room? Sometimes staggering the training and breaks can keep the business going with minimum disruption. Alternatively arrange for a lunch to be served in the training room, or nearby to avoid queues and delays.

The Trainer's Needs

Finally, make sure the obvious is taken care of - and that you ask if there's anything you can do to make the training go any more smoothly. Treat your trainers like guests rather than employees, and they'll want to come back and train for you again. Small gestures such as buying their lunch or letting them get to the tea break first are probably very welcome. After all, it's as much about them as it is about your staff being trained. Creating a good working environment for the trainer will improve their performance and the quality of training that they deliver to your staff, ensuring in happy trainees and happy trainers all round.