Maybe your company has long utilized training for a mix of remote and in-office workers, or maybe you find yourself suddenly struggling to support a fully-remote office training program. Whatever the case may be, here are ten best practices for training remote employees.
1. Don’t sleep on remote training
When a natural disaster or other catastrophe strikes, some businesses struggle to get remote training for employees up and running quickly.
While it can be challenging to develop full-blown digital courses overnight, you can use free online resources to develop quick references for employees. We have a guide to over twenty free resources here to get started.
Even these simple resources, such as answers to FAQs or changes in processes, can keep employees focused, up, and running while you organize more remote training as needed.
2. Respect their time
Suddenly working from home isn’t all about the job anymore. It’s also about kids, pets, and roommates or partners who are also suddenly home. This means your remote training needs to respect employees’ time.
If training can be delivered in a few bullet points via a mobile push notification, choose the path of least resistance. Streamline, both in what you say and how you say it, especially in the beginning as you transfer to remote training. Communicate the essential information in the most succinct way.
3. Leverage technology
Let technology be your friend here and lean into the tools you already have available. For example, the office Slack channel is still a free and easy option as are tools like Zoom and Google Hangouts. Use them to live-stream lectures, collaborate on projects, and post videos.
Leveraging technology to create your new remote workforce courses also means using something as simple as screenshots or videos to show steps in a new process. This can make remote training clearer and easier to understand and reference. Taking these screenshots or videos is also one of the best practices for training remote employees on software or programs that will be used to deliver any newly-developed training in the future. It’s a win-win.
However, it’s not all about screenshots. Make sure whatever technology you employ offers plenty of opportunity for employees to see each other’s faces. Whether your remote work situation is temporary or long-term, some face time makes everyone feel more connected.
4. Create training that’s on-demand
When it comes to training remote employees, on-demand, just-in-time training is key.
Remember that point about respecting employee time? Everyone may not be working the same hours when they’re working remote, so it’s crucial to get on-demand training to employees so they can access it when they need it. If you live-stream a training, for example, make sure there’s a recorded link they can reference later. You can also use video channels or mobile apps to post quick, one-minute bits of information.
5. Make mobile-first courses
On-demand training should be developed for mobile devices first. Why? In the event of a natural disaster or other crisis, many people are on their mobile devices more than any other technology.
If your remote training isn’t optimized for mobile, it won’t be useful (or, in some cases, accessible) to all employees.
6. Develop quick bites of information
Your on-demand, mobile-first courses can be in-depth, but make sure to also develop quick bites of information. Microlearning can be as simple as updated guidelines for sanitation, changes to building codes, and updates on evolving emergency situations that require remote workers to pivot to another strategy.
These bites of information are also incredibly helpful for workers who are managing to squeeze work in between caring for children or other obligations during the workday.
7. Balance self-guided and group trainings
It’s ironic that even with the demands of home life combining with a sudden, work-from-home situation, many workers find they are able to be more productive when working in pajamas.
How is this possible? Many employees enjoy the freedom of being able to set their own timelines and follow their own schedules from home. You can support this by balancing self-guided remote training for employees (e.g., training that moves them along on their personal professional development plan) with group training that would benefit the entire company. If they have additional time and want to build their skillset, this may be just the time.
8. Focus on goals, not time in front of screen
Image text: Stop worrying about seat time. Focus on goals.
Many employers worry that their workers won’t spend their full workday plugging away in front of a screen. With a remote workforce, this doesn’t make sense. Instead, stop worrying about “seat time” and focus on goals.
Global Workplace Analytics looked at 4,000 studies of employees working from home and found that employees who telecommuted for any reason were more productive, satisfied, and economically viable to the company than those who work in a traditional office setting. This is even without set schedules and a company-planned workday schedule.
In other words, if your employee can achieve their goals more efficiently at home, don’t worry about how long it takes.
9. Document all training
A solid learning management system can help keep track of which employees have completed which training. This is crucial especially in fields where certifications and licenses require training to stay current.
The documentation process also helps you keep your training programs consistent and seamless. If the person in charge of developing training leaves your company, you’ll still have a record of courses and resources used in each training.
10. Create a culture of remote work
You took the time to nurture a supportive work culture in the office, and now it’s time to do the same thing for remote workers. A culture of remote work outlines clear expectations for each job, avenues for support and help, and places (online or in person if possible) where employees can connect with each other.
Because a culture of remote work is not reinforced with daily interaction, it’s crucial that each employee knows and understands from the beginning what is expected of them and what they can rely on from you.
Bring in help
EdgePoint Learning has been a fully remote team from the beginning. We know (and use) strategies that work to keep our employees engaged and trained on the most up-to-date practices. Whether you need an entire course or some co-development services, we can help.