Some Companies Are Going Remote Forever. What Will Learning Look Like?
As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the way many of us go to work has changed drastically over the last several months.
According to an IDG survey released in April, 78% of employees have been working from home more than 60% of the time. That represents a big change; the same study found that most employees worked from home just 16% of the time before COVID-19 shutdown, and although some workplaces are making plans to reopen, it’s likely that this remote state of affairs is going to continue for some time for most non-essential workers.
For many, it may continue indefinitely. Some companies are considering allowing remote work to continue post-pandemic. Research by Brandon Hall Group shows that one third of companies project that more than half of their workforce will be working remotely after the pandemic. Organizations are committing to a remote workforce in other ways; according to a recent story in USA Today, many companies are allowing new hires to work from home permanently, taking advantage of the wider hiring pool that remote work allows.
What worries do companies have about training remote workers?
Those newly remote workers will need training and organizations are understandably concerned about how they will provide it.
The pandemic has disrupted their traditional approach to learning; just 50% of companies feel they’re technologically ready for online learning. This has led to concern from organizations who aren’t sure how they’re going to create and deliver the training they’ll need for a remote workforce: 64% of organizations listed “determining learning priorities” as an important function during the transition from lockdown to a new normal, 61% are concerned with delivering adequate training sessions and hours to employees, and 60% are worried about creating learning content in a timely fashion.
Training content for the remote workforce
How do you plan to train a workforce that will be remote post-pandemic? And what sort of training should you plan to provide if your company is now permanently remote? Below are a few of the kinds of training modules you may want to add to your Learning and Development program.
In this instance, onboarding doesn’t necessarily refer only to your newest hires. If you’re going fully remote, you may also need to train existing employees on the technology platforms they’ll be using to do their jobs remotely — 60% of companies expressed concern about training workers on remote work technology, according to Brandon Hall. You may also be retraining existing workers for new jobs; 56% of companies were concerned about reskilling workers who might return to different jobs than the ones they’d left.
Working from home means that your workers will need rigorous compliance training. They’re leaving the office — where you control the internet, the computers, and the physical space — and they’re going to their homes, where compliance is going to be harder for you to control. You need all your employees to understand exactly how work-issued equipment should (and should not be) used, the policies they need to be in compliance with, and the penalties they — and your whole organization will face – if the correct procedures aren’t followed.
Not all your employees are going to be good at remote work right away, especially if they’ve worked outside of the home for their entire careers. It can be difficult to maintain a good work-life balance at the best of times, and the pandemic has been a traumatic time for many people. It may help to invest in soft skills training to help your employees find the line between work and home life, and to contribute to their mental and emotional well-being.
How should you provide training to remote workers?
According to Brandon Hall Group’s research, 96% of companies provide instructor-led training, and in-person training is still the most preferred method of workplace learning in most organizations.
While training for remote workers will obviously have to be online, you do have options for how to provide that online training. Brandon Hall’s research, for example, found that the use of video learning had risen to 71% during the pandemic, while use of eLearning modules had risen to 71% as well. Use of online games had also risen from 3% before the pandemic to 17% now. All of those options are available in a good LMS.
While it may seem daunting to create a lot of online learning quickly, it’s important to remember that not everything needs to be created from scratch. Pre-made modules on soft skills and compliance are available off-the-shelf and can be quickly slotted into your learning program, while many of your instructor-led courses can be converted into video modules.
Training your remote team doesn’t need to be daunting — and you don’t need to do it all at once. Like going remote, it’s a change, and it’s a change your organization can absolutely handle.