Remote work

Remote training is here to stay: Here’s how to do it well

Remote training is the new normal, but our strategies need an upgrade. Here are 3 ways to make remote training more collaborative and effective.

Ryan Carruthers

February 1, 2022

Remote work is here to stay, and employers will need to adjust the way they go about employee training.  

LinkedIn statistics reveal that 87 percent of employees want to continue to work from home. Moreover, 75 percent said they would be less likely to leave their jobs if they could remain remote. Job seekers are also prioritizing remote options. Inside Indiana Business reports that over half of candidates have turned down job offers because of the lack of flexibility or remote offering.

Global Workplace Analytics predicts that at least half of the U.S. workforce holds a partially or fully-remote position. What was once a rarity has become the new norm as technology has made it easier for people to connect with their colleagues and complete work tasks from anywhere.

The remote training industry is one that has benefited greatly from this technological shift, with trainers now able to deliver content and training sessions to employees all over the world without ever having to leave their homes. 

At first, WFH training was implemented as a band-aid solution to tide workplaces over as COVID-19 struck – but as managers and trainers begin to see the numerous benefits of remote training, it is clear that this style of training should be considered as a viable long-term shift.

In this article, we will explore the emerging prevalence of remote training, as well as some tips on how to make the most out of this type of learning experience.


What is remote training?

Remote training is training programs that are directed at your remote employee or those who work from home. They are a key part of your organization’s learning and development initiatives.

Remote training can take many different forms, but all of them share one common goal: to provide employees with the training they need in order to do their jobs effectively. This can be done through live video conferencing, online courses, or even just providing employees with access to resources and information.

There are even some remote training programs that are specifically designed for employees who work from home. These programs can include things like how to set up a home office, how to stay productive when you’re working from home, and even how to manage your time effectively.


Will remote training programs be the norm in 2022?

The workplace disruption caused by the pandemic has led to more and more organizations transitioning to remote workplaces in the long run. What was a global experiment during lockdowns is giving way to a new way of working.

Now, in 2022, it's safe to say that remote training has been somewhat solidified as a viable and valuable method of workplace training and development – regardless of the world's COVID-19 status. 

The figures speak for themselves:

  • Up to 70% of all employees would like to work on a hybrid schedule permanently, even after the pandemic has passed
  • Up to 35% want to go fully remote on a permanent basis
  • Large companies such as Google and Microsoft have already announced a permanent switch to hybrid work

Alongside these statistics, numerous studies conducted since the pandemic’s outbreak have revealed startling trends in terms of output and productivity. In fact, a Stamford University study of a 1600-employee travel agency found that the telecommuters experienced a 50% increase in productivity, saving the equivalent of a days’ work each week per employee.

It seems that more organizations will need to cater to remote employees, and that includes offering remote training programs for those working from home. However, the quality of training for remote employees should be on-par with in-office employees. That means investing in making remote training programs more effective rather than getting by with a poor substitute as you wait for employees to return to the office. Organizations that fail to invest in their remote employees run the risk of losing them.

Benefits of remote training

Although some employees and managers may still be hesitant to adopt remote training, the advantages that accompany it are too great to ignore. 

Cost-effective

Companies can end up spending thousands of dollars per employee on traditional methods of in-person training. By training employees remotely, however, companies can eliminate or reduce the costs associated with employee travel and training. 

Flexibility for employees

Rather than spending valuable time traveling to and from a training facility, employees can complete their training requirements in their own home, at their own convenience. They can also access their course materials from any computer with internet access, making it easy for them to learn wherever they are. 

Scalability

One of the biggest advantages of remote training is its scalability. With traditional classroom-based training, there are physical limitations on how many people can be trained at once. 

However, with remote training, that limitation no longer exists; businesses can scale their training programs to accommodate any number of employees, regardless of their location.

Measurability

Because everything is done online, trainers and managers can track employee progress and performance with ease. This makes it easy to identify any areas in which employees need additional support or training, which is especially helpful for businesses with large workforces.

Challenges of remote training

As with any business innovation, remote training comes with its own set of unique challenges.

Making time for learning

The business of work can make learning less of a priority for people. When employees are scattered in different locations, it can be more difficult for them to find the time to learn new skills. 

Social isolation

When people are working from home, they can easily become isolated from their colleagues. This can be a challenge for remote training, as it’s important for employees to be able to interact with one another and learn from each other. Some people may also find it more challenging to be motivated without their team around them.

Distractions and lack of supervision

One of the biggest challenges with remote training is that it can be difficult to maintain focus, especially if the training program is self-paced. When trainees are working remotely, there is often no one to supervise them, which can lead to distractions and lack of progress.

While these issues can pose a challenge to training facilitators, they can also be opportunities for creativity and problem-solving – and companies will usually get better at remote training once they push through the growing pains.


How to successfully train employees in a remote workforce

Understanding the strengths and challenges of remote training will enable you to build a remote training program for your employees. Here are some of the things to keep in mind.

Connect them with other employees

Peer-to-peer learning is something that can easily get overlooked in a remote setting. Yet, remote employees also need connection, which is essential for learning. Peers keep each other accountable when it comes to remote learning. Moreover, if they are experts in a subject area, peers can also serve as teachers and one that is better than an online course. With peer learning, employees will cultivate knowledge sharing, which can help strengthen your workers’ skills.  

Connect employees with mentors

Mentorship is an excellent learning opportunity for employees, including your remote workers. A mentor can be an advisor and encourage employees towards their goals. They offer new perspectives and challenge employees to grow.

Remote mentorships help unlock learning opportunities as the mentee works towards achieving professional goals. It can also open up future opportunities.

Talking with a mentor about career goals is more engaging for employees than watching a training video. Mentors can also cultivate connections for remote employees and help reduce the isolation they sometimes feel.

Celebrate remote learning

An essential part of your remote training program is recognizing and rewarding employees that engage in remote learning.

It can encourage other employees to get involved in remote training programs when company leaders opening acknowledge the growth other remote employees have reached with their training.

There are other ways to celebrate remote learning at your organization, including offering incentives or rewards to employees. It does not have to be large cash prizes, but just a little token to acknowledge their efforts.

You should also encourage employees to set aside time in their schedules for remote training opportunities. Doing this can help build a learning culture for your organization over time.


Wrap up

Remote workplaces will continue on past the pandemic. Your organization needs to offer quality remote training opportunities to get the most from your remote teams. By investing in remote training and learning, you’ll be able to build a highly-skilled and knowledgeable workforce for your organization.

One of the biggest challenges of remote training programs is the lack of personal interaction. This can worsen the feelings of isolation that employees who work from home have. Make remote mentoring a part of your remote training program to counteract this. Even through video conferencing, the personal connection can enhance the learning process. You can opt for one-on-one remote mentoring experiences or offer peer-to-peer learning opportunities.

Setting up, managing and reporting on these remote mentoring programs is simple and straightforward with Together’s mentoring software. To find out how our platform can streamline your remote mentoring program, try a free mentorship program today.

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