The way many of us work has changed substantially in the last year. Covid-19 has transformed industries, organisations and workplaces across the world, with at least 46% of us working from home in the UK.
As people across the country have adapted to the new normal, teams have also had to adapt the way they work. Companies were originally forced into almost universal remote working, but six months on some have indicated that remote working will be a permanent part of their future, even if only on a part time basis.
Naturally, as the way in which employees complete their duties has changed, so too must the tools employees are given. This opportunity to fill skills gaps hasn’t gone unnoticed by the government, who recently announced incentives to support apprenticeships. But where new hires might not be the best approach, upskilling your existing team can provide the extra knowledge they need to thrive.
With the timeline for returning to “normal” appearing ever hazy, the time to make the most of remote learning to upskill your teams is now.
Giving teams the skills they need
A report by the Open University found that as many as five million employees in the UK expected the pandemic to significantly change the skills required for their job roles. Given that the World Economic Forum estimated that more than half (54%) of all employees would require significant reskilling by 2022, there’s a clear requirement to drive skills development.
While many took advantage of the time during the furlough scheme to develop themselves with free online courses and home learning, a quarter of employees admitted they would like to have more direction from their employers when it comes to learning new skills.
For employers it’s important to identify what areas would be most beneficial, both for the organisation as a whole, and for the teams that will be upskilled.
Whether you want to empower your managers with a leadership and management qualification, or identify new areas of potential income with a Business Analyst, there’s never been a better time to make use of your apprenticeship levy funding, and champion distance learning.
Creating a positive remote working culture
For some, working from home has improved productivity dramatically. With less distractions than the office, and time saved on commute, many workers are finding themselves fresher and more able to complete their tasks.
But while some have adapted well, others have struggled to establish a new work/life balance now that the work is at home with them. There’s a wealth of tools to improve remote working culture, but it’s very easy to let development slip down the priorities for you and your teams.
By reserving time for your teams to focus on their development, you’ll be improving their skills to tackle their tasks, and also demonstrating your investment in them and their future. For those that struggle with overworking, ensuring they take time to focus on themselves can help them to find a more sustainable work life balance as they work remotely.
Boosting retention & engagement
The link between developing your staff, and boosting engagement and retention is well proven, so it’s no surprise that this applies remotely too. According to the LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report, 94% of employees would stay with a company longer if offered training.
But it’s not just offering training that’s important to employees – it’s about creating the framework where they can see their own progression and future with the company. Research from Find Courses found that top performing companies were five times more likely to implement engaging L&D programs. Within these companies almost half (42%) of L&D professionals indicated their employees who were highly engaged in learning were also highly engaged overall at the organization.
At a time where staff could be feeling increasingly disconnected from their employer, making the most of existing opportunities to develop their skills, and better prepare them for the future of their role is a must. But by investing in their future, you not only strengthen their engagement with your organisation, but also demonstrate a commitment to their future with you.
A flexible UK workforce
In many ways working from home provides a golden opportunity for self development. With the commute giving some people as much as three extra hours a day, there’s never been a better time for employees to assess their skills, and think about the next steps in their development.
Traditional instructor led learning is typically firm with timelines, requiring the learners to be present in a centre on certain days that might not adapt to their working schedule. But with distance learning, the timelines are far more malleable to current workloads.
With substantial changes to management in the age of remote working, it’s important to continue to make time for your team to not only improve their skills, but to grow further into their next role. As the work teams are doing remotely has in some cases changed entirely, this could be the opportunity to find time for development.
Join us on the 12th of November, for our next webinar where we will be looking at Effective Remote Learning.