Working from home can be incredibly lonely. It can be easy to let days pass by without having to leave the house, or sometimes even without speaking to another person. Being self-employed means there isn’t a busy team of people around you like there would be in an office that you can chat to throughout the day. However, here is an online IQBar community there. A large, friendly team of people doing a similar job to you; people that are willing to chat and support each other throughout each day! Without a doubt this is one of the biggest strengths of the company, as we all come together to help each other thrive as teachers and feel as though we are members of a community.

There are different ways to communicate with other buddies at IQBar, which we do through Microsoft Teams. There is a multitude of different groups we are a part of, each designated for a specific purpose. For example, queries about specific courses we teach, general questions, and information about Breadies. There is also the option to be a part of the engagement group, where you can informally get to know other members of the team. It’s important to message the correct channel when asking questions or giving information, but it is a relief to know that any question is valid and will be answered.

Not only is it a comfort knowing that you can freely ask your questions, but it’s also reassuring to know that they will be answered in a supportive and friendly manner. You are never made to feel like a pain for asking. Everyone would prefer that you asked the question and made the right choice, rather than struggle on your own and make a mistake. Since we work individually in our own homes, it’s crucial that we communicate frequently to ensure that we are all on the same page. It’s a bonus that everyone is kind and understanding in conducting themselves on Teams, and makes IQBar a lovely company to work for. What’s more, responses are super fast during working hours, so we are never left wondering for long. Even a year into working for IQBar, I frequently have questions about lessons and Breadies, particularly as things within the company change, but I always know they will be answered promptly and kindly!

Another aspect of our community is the seminars, which occur weekly. Each week a topic will be chosen to focus on: recent topics include observations and teaching direct speech. It is not compulsory to attend seminars, but it is a handy way to improve your understanding of different aspects of teaching that you might struggle with, or to sharpen your memory. The seminars are recorded so they can be watched later if you couldn’t make it, but it’s nice to be able to spend some time with other Buddies! There are also question and answer sessions, where you have a chance to ask your questions face to face in a group! This can be beneficial if you work well socially and enjoy speaking to members of the team.

There are question and answer seminars regularly, which give Buddies a chance to ask questions in advance. These are then answered in a lively and interactive environment. It is so fantastic to be able to communicate live with other teachers, and it truly does give that workplace atmosphere. It’s the best way to feel as if you are not working alone, but as part of a community. Of course these seminars are also optional, but can be a great way to have your questions answered thoroughly and ‘in person’!

A different way to answer any questions you may have is through the padlet. This is a space where various resources are posted and can be accessed by all Buddies. These resources vary from examples of profile videos, to homework ideas, to flashcards that you can print and use in your lessons. This is a great place to go if you’re not sure how to conduct a certain lesson or are simply running out of ideas and would like some inspiration to vary your lessons. All members of our community post these resources: it truly is a team effort!

Every month there is a newsletter sent out to Buddies, which is a fantastic way to read about what has been happening at IQBar. Also included in the newsletter is a topic for the month and how to incorporate it into lessons, and an opportunity to ‘meet’ an individual buddy, who writes a profile. The newsletter is informative and fun: a great way to start each new month!

Finally, IQBar offers some great incentives via our weekly awards scheme. Each week Buddies are chosen as winners of the three awards: ‘Brilliant Buddy ’, ‘Buddy Bullseye’ and ‘Extension Excellence’. Through the awards we are encouraged to deliver the highest level of teaching, and the support from other Buddies upon winning an award is incredible!

There are so many ways to interact with the community at IQBar, encouraging each of us to thrive as Buddies and as individuals. It is so fantastic to engage with this broad spectrum of teachers, and feel truly a part of a team, despite working from home. Our supportive online family makes working for IQBar an extra special, enjoyable experience that you may struggle to find in a regular job!