Guide to Buying Remote Work Training
The essential questions you should answer when considering ways to improve the performance and effectiveness of your hybrid or fully remote team
Remote. Hybrid. Flexible. Distributed. Virtual. Digital-first.
There are numerous buzzwords emerging to describe the future of work. Companies, who have recognized value in learning from new work experiences over the past year, continue to grapple with exactly what their workplace will look like in the future. However, what is certain is professionals are demanding flexibility in their work setups, and are quitting if employers aren’t flexible about remote work. Regardless of structure, it’s important to remember that whichever buzzword you use to describe it, remote work involves people—people, whose means of getting work done, independently and with others, is evolving.
Beyond grand CEO proclamations, these people and their teams need structural support to succeed—enter remote work training. This guide is intended to help you focus on the key elements of determining if your remote or hybrid team needs training, what type of training you should leverage, and how to go about it, so you can deliver results that will benefit your team.
This guide will address the questions:
When Does a Company Need Remote Work Training?
Our Remote Work Training Report shows that when workers and leaders receive more training in remote work skills, business performance improves.
Yet, many companies fail to see training as a solution to course correct or elevate the performance of their operations. Instead, their teams have grown accustomed to a subpar status quo and they express experiencing the common symptoms of an underprepared or poorly supported remote or hybrid work environment, including:
- Missed or delayed deadlines
- Disconnected feelings
- Days filled with video calls
- Gossip is commonplace
- Unused vacation time
If your team experiences any of these symptoms, it’s time to seriously investigate remote work training.
Leaders can feel as though business is “ok” or “just fine.” That may be the case, but oftentimes not all employees see it that way. It’s important to reflect on and answer these questions honestly:
- How much collective time is wasted in unnecessary or inefficient meetings?
- How much money could be saved by limiting interruptions in daily work?
- What is the negative financial impact of disengaged employees on your bottom line?
- Are you prepared to lose high performers if you don’t “walk the talk” of your remote or hybrid plans?
- Do your employees have the skills and resiliency to adapt to changes in future workplace dynamics?
Companies are also increasingly announcing flexible work models that allow employees to work from home one, two, or three days a week. These models imply a compromise between fully remote and fully in-office work setups. Even though employees will be physically co-located a set number of days per week, these structures still require remote-first behaviors at every level. By facilitating and empowering remote-first practices, teams don’t become inefficient by constantly switching modes nor do they experience delays in the flow of work.
What Makes Remote Work Training Different from General Skills Training?
While training for remote-specific skills and organizations may have some overlap with traditional professional development, remote work training has some clear distinctions:
- Emphasizes async-first work practices. Generic skills training emphasizes synchronous interpersonal communication, but remote work training builds upon that by emphasizing asynchronous best practices, such as: written communication skills, documentation, and time management. Teams that are committed to remote and hybrid work must shift toward async-first work and reserve sync time for relationship building and decision-making.
- Captures a broader and more relevant range of tool stacks. Remote and hybrid teams might use hundreds of tools and processes, where co-located teams rely on in-person team meetings as a primary channel. There’s a learning curve that comes with using remote tools like virtual whiteboards (MURAL), screen sharing (Loom), and documentation (Otter.ai), and leadership will need to make decisions about how to structure communication and collaboration through the use of these tools.
- Covers more extensive and applicable skill sets for distributed work. Our Remote Work Competency Model outlines the specific skills necessary for remote work success beyond those of traditional leadership and professional development. Additional core competencies are focused on the autonomous nature of remote work, including self-management, infrastructure, project management, and asynchronous communication.
- Equips employees to respond to current workplace dynamics. The future of work is now—influenced by remote and hybrid working models. Employees who are equipped with the skills to quickly adapt to these models, will achieve faster results without getting burnt out. It will take years for traditional training to catch up to addressing the knowledge and practices necessary for remote successful remote work, leaving employees behind and disengaged.
- Addresses cultural consideration on distributed teams. Virtual facilitators are adept at training remote and hybrid teams across time zones and working styles because the nature of remote work lends itself to a global context. On distributed teams, culture is more varied. Training context and skills need to align with organizational culture, as well as each individual’s physical environment.
- Prevents inequity on hybrid teams. Remote team members may experience exclusion, isolation, and inequity as their hybrid teams improve their work practices. Remote work training specifically addresses these challenges.
How Do You Decide the Scale of Change or Impact You Need?
Every team has a different starting point when it comes to experience and background, and each team has different goals. Some teams feel they’ve mastered the shift to a placeless mindset and need to test and tweak existing behaviors. Other teams continue to struggle with breaking free from in-person mindsets and leadership habits.
For teams who’ve embraced remote work as a strategic priority and role model it at every organizational level, microlearning opportunities may be a better match for ease of integration into daily habits. The Workplaceless team is currently piloting a new program for launch in the fall of 2021.
For teams who struggle with setting and aligning with a vision and adapting to remote-first behaviors, an all-inclusive blended learning package will be the most effective approach. Combining asynchronous, self-paced learning modules with bursts of highly efficient synchronous team sessions allows teams to mirror effective remote work in action while training.
A Remote Work Effectiveness Assessment can help you determine what type of results and training your organization needs.
What Resources Should You Leverage?
Start by referencing our Placeless Playbook, and answering the questions outlined in Step 1: Build Your Remote Learning Strategy for L&D Teams.
One important question asked in the Placeless Playbook is “What learning experiences must be delivered in person, and what learning experiences can be delivered online?” While each organization is different, if you are looking to elevate remote performance, you must lean towards online learning, even for your in-office colleagues. By requiring all training sessions to be held in person you immediately exclude and put your remote team members at a disadvantage. You are not adhering to the your commitment to making hybrid work a success. When leaders shift learning environments to virtual models they accomplish two things: they signal to employees that their commitment to ensuring hybrid success is more than just talk, and they allow employees to practice and experience the behaviors as they are learning.
Follow-up by determining the best path forward for your organization:
Internal vs External Resources
Your Company Needs Remote Work Training: Do You Build Internally or Hire Experts?
Free vs Paid Resources
6 Questions to Ask when Choosing Free or Paid Remote Work Training
What Does Best-in-Class Remote Work Training Look Like?
Best-in-class training directly reflects the specific needs of your organization. Ensuring time and money is not wasted on irrelevant training starts with a thorough assessment of your company goals and status quo. Start a complimentary, no commitment, Remote Work Effectiveness Assessment.
Delivering first-class remote work training relies on partnering with a best-in-class training provider. Select a remote work training vendor that meets the criteria for success:
- Has years of experience in virtual work environments, beginning well before March 2020
- Uses a strategic approach to sustainable remote work outcomes
- Has a sole focus on remote and hybrid work instead of including remote work training as an add-on to their core offerings
- Uses proven practices in remote work and structured using best-in-class instructional design principles
- Uses up-to-date content that’s based on industry-wide research and practices vs. individual company or role perspectives
Needless to say, Workplaceless positively checks all the boxes.
What Are Examples of Successful Remote Work Training?
Workplaceless proudly works with remote and hybrid organizations to meet their specific objectives, and we’re grateful every time one of our clients is willing to share experience and results with the world of remote work.