Training for Remote/WFH Employees: Adapting to the COVID-19 Crisis

     

The corporate landscape is never static and brings a new innovative challenge in the market each day. This requires today’s organizations to be dynamic, and constantly evolve in their operations and business processes to stay at par with their competitors and maintain their foothold in the market. This is achievable only when the entire workforce gets trained properly and works in unison to achieve the same goal.

Generally, training the employees of an organization is often at the persistence of the HR or L&D department. However, if we look at the present situation, the entire training structure is jeopardized with the COVID-19 virus outbreak. So, the question worth asking is – how to continue training the WFH employees the right way?

The answer is by making sure that all learning challenges are addressed and the employees are encouraged to give in their 100% efforts. If we look at the larger picture, organizing proper training and development sessions holds an enormous value as it keeps the employees motivated, encourages them to utilize their skills in a better way, facilitates career development among other significant benefits of online training.

Through this blog post, we’ll take you through some of these common challenges faced by the administration and how they can organize proper home training sessions for their employees.

Training and development for WFH Employees: Primary Challenges

Despite remote work becoming a trend over the years, many corporate organizations flinch when it comes to incorporating it in their operational process due to a perceived lack of efficiency.  However, given the COVID-19 pandemic situation, companies have to adopt the best WFH training processes to keep the business running through the quarantine and social distancing which is in effect around the globe. 

In this segment, we dig out the most common challenges that the organizations experience while on work-from-home:

  • Too Many Disruptions

    When you’re working at home, you constantly juggle between your personal and professional commitments. This constant struggle between work and home breaks your concentration level and cuts down your productivity. Additionally, if you live in a joint family or have kids at home, it complicates things a bit as there’s always someone  vying for your attention.

    Avoiding these interruptions isn’t 100% possible, but you can always set up a hand gesture or a signal to indicate that you would like to not be disturbed at a given moment. The signal could either be locking the door or plugging in your earphones. It also helps to set up a dedicated space for yourself as a home office, convert a corner in your bedroom as a home office and tell the family that if you’re working you are out of bounds. This will ensure that you can focus on your work with minimal disruptions. 

  • Lack of Social Interaction

    We as humans are social beings. We always need someone by our side to talk to and discuss things. So, if you are working from home for a long duration, you might feel isolated and left out after a few days as you don’t have your office colleagues nearby to interact with you.

    To make yourself feel better, it’s important that you include the right amount of social breaks in your daily work schedule. You need to strike a balance to ensure remote working doesn’t get on your nerves. Call up your colleagues and friends, talk about anything other than work or even catch up on office gossip. Taking time to chat with your colleagues will ensure that you build a great camaraderie and will take your mind off the COVID anxiety. You can use video calling apps such as Zoom, Skype, Whatsapp  or even Hangouts to get some face to face time with your friends and colleagues. 

  • Being Overworked or Lack of Prioritization

    One major downside of WFH is that we fail to prioritize tasks as we aren’t being supervised all-the-time. The temptation of going for a quick stroll, watching your favorite movie/show often makes it hard for us to stick to a schedule and consequently we fail to wrap our deliverables for the day. This leads to us sitting for longer hours into the night to meet our work commitments. 

    To make the best use of our time, it’s important that we keep ourselves self-motivated and prioritize our work based on their submission deadlines. The best way to achieve this is by limiting the number of tasks for each day, avoiding procrastination, and having an understanding of what’s important and what can be handled later. This clear mindset will conserve your energy, boost your concentration level, and stop you from getting overworked during the final hours. Maintain a google calendar or an excel work from home calendar with all your tasks mapped out, you can even come up with your own colour code to keep track of everything at a glance. 

  • Digital Miscommunication Problems

    Efficient and effective communication is the cornerstone of any organization. This holds true, especially for work-from-home employees. Coordinating multiple teams virtually is a daunting task for all corporates. The lack of proper real-time communication between the teams often impacts the work progress or leads to other management issues, affecting the workforce and the entire organization as a whole. So, to avoid such hassles, it’s important to encourage remote teams to communicate with each other so that they don’t feel isolated and can give in their 100% efforts to each project. Additionally, to ensure the business isn’t affected and the goals are properly met, the managers must interact with the team regularly, delegate tasks and communicate the strategy across the team carefully.

  • Tech Issues

    We are living in a digital era with constant access to the internet and other tech gadgets. When it comes to working from home, you require a proper hi-speed internet connectivity to ensure there’s no disruption in the work process. However, it’s not always possible while working as a remote employee because there are times when you encounter power or internet outage issues at home. Relying on public Wi-Fi hotspots is again discouraged as it can compromise your official data without your knowledge. One of the best ways to overcome these tech hiccups is to rely on your smartphone data to stay connected with your team or have a tablet/iPad handy in case your power goes out and you are unable to use your primary laptop. However, your company must have a workflow system or Learning Management system that is accessible and optimized for phone or tablet to ensure seamless connectivity. 

  • A Decline in Productivity (Burnout Issues)

    One burgeoning issue that often disrupts a company's operations often is the burnout of its employees. Most employees find it hard to switch off at the right time thus leading to situations of them being overworked. Another downside to having both work and home at the same place is that it makes it more difficult for the employees to take regular breaks which is more common while working from the office.  

    Further, prolonged sitting reduces their concentration levels, affects their productivity, and leads to other health ailments like swelling or constant irritation in the eyes, etc. due to constant exposure to computer/laptop screens.

    Since work demands never stop, the onus falls on you to keep your work and personal life separate. Create a calendar to track important meetings and set reminders to take regular breaks. It’s essential that you draw a line to keep your work hours separate and forbid yourself from checking your official emails/messages once you log out. It keeps your work-life balance intact, conserves your energy, improves your retention levels, and gives you plenty of time to spend with your family.

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Training WFH Employees Amidst COVID-19 Crisis – 4 Practical Steps

Working from home though may sound lucrative to some, but brings its unique challenges as we read in the last segment. The sudden corona outbreak took the world by storm and changed how corporate organizations function.

Under the given circumstances, if you are also struggling to provide online training to work from home employees, these easy-to-follow steps might help you:

  • Invest in a Learning Management System

    This COVID-19 crisis has changed the way organizations operate and you’ll have to adapt to the changes to ensure business continuity. Employee training and learning is something that can’t be compromised, hence investing in Learning Management software is essential. An LMS can host all of your e learning content in one centralized repository and make it accessible to your remote employees. It eliminates the distance and time barriers and helps employees learn at their own pace. It provides great flexibility and also allows you to track the time and progress of your employees at a glance. It ensures that your employees are upskilling themselves and making the best use of their time during this COVID WFH situation. 

  • Keep your eLearning content simple and accessible

     A lot of factors determine the success of an organization, one key factor is the intellectual capital and skills of your employees. So, it’s up to the organization to provide its employees with the right tools and support to encourage them to improve their competence. With work-from-home becoming a necessity, employers can rely on eLearning to train individuals or a large group of employees.

    However, to make home training sessions fruitful, the company must keep its eLearning material simple to understand and ensure that it caters to the needs of all the teams participating in the session. Investing in creating video content that makes topics easier to understand for everyone will have a positive impact on learning outcomes. Also, allow offline access to your eLearning content so that in case an employee fails to attend the live session, they can check out the content easily and use it later. 

  • Create a dedicated Question Bank specific to your course

    To benefit your WFH employees, ensure that your eLearning modules have a dedicated question bank at the end. Having answers to some of the basic queries provides the learners a better understanding of your course and they don’t have to wait for live training sessions to happen to get their doubts cleared. Another significant benefit of creating a personalized questionnaire/ FAQ segment with your course is that you can update it as per the dynamically changing requirements of the business and the organization’s goals.

  • Incorporate gamification and other interactive elements

    Gamification has been in practice for several years, yet many organizations doubt that it influences when it comes to corporate training. The primary concept of gamification is to include interactive elements within your training content to create an engaging learning experience.

    You can include different scenarios, simulations, and challenges to create an effective learning experience. Including other interactive elements like leaderboards (to infuse competition), or provide rewards and recognitions to sustain the learner’s momentum throughout the course and let the learners walk away with a sense of accomplishment.

What steps is your organization taking to ensure your employees are better equipped during this COVID crisis? Let us know in the comments.

Manish Kachwala

Manish Kachwala is the Co-Founder of AlphaLearn, India’s leading Learning Management System. A believer in lifelong learning, he is passionate about technology, startups, blogging and tennis. He is a veteran of the e-learning industry with over 20 rich years of experience in the space.

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