The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many companies to adopt remote work policies, at least temporarily. According to a report, 42 percent of workers in the United States did some or all of their work remotely in 2018. Unexpectedly, more employees spent their time working remotely in 2020, and that’s expected to increase to more than 70 percent by 2025.
More companies have decided to switch to remote work permanently, which means rethinking how they train their employees. If your company is one of them, you may be wondering how to best train your employees who are now working from home. After all, training remote workers presents some unique challenges.
Here are four tips to help you get the job done.
1. Keep It Interactive
When training remote workers, it’s essential to keep things interactive. Boring, one-way lectures will not engage your employees and will probably be a waste of time. Instead, try to use a variety of activities and exercises to ensure everyone is paying attention and getting something out of the training session. For example, you could use polling and Q&A features in your video conferencing software or assign specific roles and tasks during group exercises.
Companies should also invest in remote access software that allows trainers to remotely connect with employees and take control of their computers during training sessions. This can be a helpful way to ensure everyone is following along and doing the exercises correctly.
2. Make It Self-paced
One advantage of training remote workers is that they can do it at their own pace. If an employee needs more time to complete a task or exercise, there’s no need to hurry them along or make them feel like they’re holding the rest of the group back. This also means that you can provide employees with additional resources they can use if they want to review something later on. Just be sure to give clear instructions on how and when they should use them.
Depending on the subject matter, you may also want to consider creating a self-paced training program that employees can work through at their convenience. This could be an online course, a series of video tutorials, or even a PDF document with instructions and exercises. You can then give employees a set amount of time to complete the program and offer support as needed.
3. Create a Community for Learning
When employees are working remotely, they can feel isolated and cut off from their colleagues. To help prevent this feeling of isolation, creating a community for learning within your company is crucial. This could be as simple as setting up a dedicated channel in your messaging software for training-related questions and discussion or hosting regular virtual coffee breaks where employees can socialize and get to know each other better.
You can use your company’s intranet or an online collaboration platform to create a more formal learning community. This should be a place where employees can post questions, share resources, and give and receive feedback. Using this space to announce upcoming training sessions and events is also a good idea. If you don’t have an intranet or online platform, you can create a private social media group or even start a blog where employees can interact with each other.
4. Encourage Feedback
Finally, don’t forget to encourage feedback from your employees after training sessions. What did they like? What didn’t they like? What could be improved? Getting feedback will help you improve your training process going forward. It will also show your employees that their opinions matter to you and that you’re interested in ensuring they get the most out of their training experience.
When asking for feedback, give employees multiple ways to provide it. Some may prefer to fill out a survey, while others may feel more comfortable talking to you in person or over the phone. You could also set up a dedicated email address or drop-box where employees can submit their feedback anonymously. This will help ensure you get honest feedback that you can use to improve your training program.
Training remote workers doesn’t have to be complicated—but it does require a different approach than training employees in the office. You’ll need to find ways to keep employees engaged and motivated, provide adequate resources, and create a community for learning. By following these tips, you can ensure your remote employees have the skills and knowledge they need to be successful. With the right training program in place, you can set your company up for success now and in the future.