In the UK, hundreds and millions of workers were instructed to take their laptops home and work remotely for the foreseeable future. Offices were closed, some for the last time, and the once-bustling city centres fell eerily quiet.
However, this strange new world of remote working quickly revealed numerous benefits. From flexible work schedules and comfortable clothes to boosted productivity and no commute, there was plenty to enjoy. One thing in particular that saw a boost was employee learning and development opportunities.
In this article, we will be looking at how remote working boosted employee learning and development opportunities and what this means for the future of business.
The digital world is constantly changing and it’s our job to keep up. Remote working requires that we spend all our time sitting in front of a computer. There are no more catch-ups over coffee, in-person team meetings, or wanders between desks. This has freed up time a lot of people didn’t think they had and is allowing opportunities to further their digital skills and enjoy life as a digital nomad without the traditional constraints of the office.
Operations Director, Ben Heayberd of KAU Media Group shares, “employee learning and development is imperative for business growth and success. Industries like digital marketing, where landscapes are constantly changing, require employees to stay ahead of the curve. Despite the challenges remote working has created for thousands of organisations, it has provided more time and flexibility for employees to continue their learning and development. This is essential for ensuring businesses do not stagnate but instead innovate to create a brighter future for us all.”
When training events and conferences were large, in-person events, they were often very expensive and at times difficult for people to attend. What’s more, these events typically required employees to step away from their desks for multiple days in a row. So much time was lost in the office that, for many, attending in-person conferences and training events were becoming unmanageable.
As the world adjusted to remote work, it also adjusted to different forms of remote learning. Conferences and training events that were once held in-person were moved online, making attending these events more convenient than ever before. Events could be watched as they happened or caught up with via recording at a more convenient time. This has opened up a world of learning opportunities and made employees more enthusiastic about developing their skills.
Remote training events and video conferencing have allowed for more convenience, less time away from work, and development opportunities that help propel the trajectory of immediate projects. It gives employees permission to learn and develop at the same time the work is happening. This is a game-changer for organisations wanting to upskill their employees without losing work time.
In order for employees to learn and develop, feedback from managers, peers, and mentors is extremely important. We learn through doing and feedback is an integral part of this process. Remote working has allowed employers to structure regular check-ins with employees to share essential feedback that boosts personal growth.
According to Snap Surveys, “effective feedback, both positive and negative, is very helpful. Feedback is valuable information that will be used to make important decisions. Top performing companies are top-performing companies because they consistently search for ways to make their best even better […] Feedback is a tool for continued learning.”
Through feedback, organisations are able to further the learning and development of their employees. Remote working has made this more convenient by allowing for more methods of communication, ranging from systems like email, Slack, and video conferencing, allowing for the provision of a continuous feedback loop. This ensures that employees are continually receiving feedback that is benefiting their learning process and motivating them to develop, both personally and professionally.
Since the enforcement of remote working due to the COVID-19 pandemic, technology has played a vital role in our lives, helping provide a sense of normality. As part of this, eLearning has been widely adopted to support the continued learning and development of employees.
eLearning provides a flexible and cost-efficient learning model that is overtaking the more traditional forms of classroom learning. And it’s not hard to understand why. eLearning is more widely accessible and allows employees to access all relevant training remotely, whenever and from whichever device that is most convenient for them.
While lockdown has put restrictions and temporary closures in place for many organisations, ELearning is a reminder that, despite these challenging times, employees can continue to develop and work towards their professional goals.
Remote working has certainly introduced us to a world of challenges, but it has also opened our eyes to new and improved ways of doing things. As a direct result of remote working, learning and development is more accessible than ever before and is supporting the continued growth and success of companies around the world.
Gemma Williams is an independent HR professional working remotely from as many coffee shops as she can find. Gemma has gained experience in several HR roles but now turns her focus towards growing her personal brand and connecting with leading experts in career development and employee engagement. Connect with her on Twitter: @GemmaWilliamsHR