Time to Refocus Training on Remote Work?

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Currently, huge numbers of American workers are working remotely as a way to promote social distancing and slow the spread of COVID-19. Employers’ mind-set has been that the current situation is a necessary temporary measure as we ride out the worst of the pandemic. However, as the virus is rebounding in many states where social distancing and business closure restrictions have been removed or lessened, it looks like the country may still be in for months of remote work.

This isn’t all bad for businesses.

It Hasn’t Been All Bad

Even employers that were previously resistant to remote work have been coming around after the COVID-triggered forced experiment.

“Even as dozens of states have begun to partly reopen months after the initial shutdowns, experts said that past stigma around working from home has largely been lifted and that they expected much more remote work to be incorporated into office life for the foreseeable future,” writes Daniella Silva in an article for NBC News.

These employers are seeing that their worst fears of remote work haven’t materialized: Productivity hasn’t plummeted, they are still able to communicate with and keep track of staff, etc.

The Benefits of Being Remote

Additionally, many employers are opening their eyes to the benefits of remote work.

For example:

  • Employees given the option for remote work tend to have higher levels of overall employee satisfaction.
  • That satisfaction ties directly to increased employee retention and lower turnover. Additionally, in the “new normal,” companies that don’t offer remote work options may be at a distinct disadvantage with respect to recruiting and retention over those that do.
  • In the long term, with more employees working from home, companies can see reduced costs because of a reduced need for physical office spaces.
  • Companies that offer remote work can expand their pool of potential talent far beyond the confines of their geographical location.

These benefits, along with the potential permanent changes to employee expectations and the broader business landscape, mean that remote work could be here to stay.

Perhaps surprisingly, increased productivity has been the most beneficial aspect of remote work. While remote work is not for everyone, in general, data suggest that remote workers are actually slightly more productive than on-site workers.

However, not all work is created equal, and certain tasks often suffer when performed off-site. This means employers and HR departments need to rethink their current training practices, not just in terms of delivery methods—i.e., on demand, remote, etc.—but also in terms of what to change…

Source: HR Daily Advisor

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