The coronavirus pandemic has forced businesses to make sweeping changes to their organizations. Lockdowns and restrictions were imposed by governments earlier in the year which significantly limited human activity all over the globe. Many companies quickly had to enact remote work arrangements with their employees just to continue functioning.
Fast-forward several months and, even as countries try to jumpstart their economies, the threat of the virus still remains. With physical distancing measures expected to continue, remote work is projected to become part of the new normal. Even companies like Google and Twitter are extending their work-from-home policies to be in effect well into next year. Some enterprises are even considering making it a permanent option for their workforces.
Companies simply have to face the challenges of making remote work actually work to their advantage. Workers will have to get up to speed with the changes that come with shifting workloads online. To achieve this, companies must guide employees through the transition by investing in digital training and education.
How to Set Up Programs
Fortunately, it is possible to establish training programs that can help guide workers during such a period. There are also a host of solutions that can used to implement them.
Human resources (HR) and training departments should assess what information they need to disseminate, what skills employees need to acquire, and even what kinds of behaviors and habits they want workers to develop. This helps create a strategic outline of what the training programs should cover. Then, they can choose the ways through which they can make the information available to employees.
Here are several ways companies can provide their workers with the necessary knowledge and information:
As with most transition periods, companies can expect workers to have plenty of questions. While companies can issue memos or even make organization-wide announcements and addresses that can describe the general plan, employees should still be given detailed instructions and information in a way that they can easily grasp, understand, and review.
This is where effective knowledge management comes in. Companies can compile all the necessary information into a knowledgebase. Solutions such as KMS Lighthouse can be used to effectively consolidate information and make it readily accessible to users. For example, information from hand books, manuals, best practices, and standard operating procedures can all be placed in one central location. The platform can easily be navigated and searched using natural language so users can quickly find any information about a particular topic or business category that they look up. As a self-service portal, KMS Lighthouse lets users maximize their own time and helps them avoid interrupting other workers.
Courses and Webinars
Companies should also consider providing more conventional learning opportunities. They can provide online courses and webinars that employees can take at their own pace and time. Companies may not even need to create course content from scratch.
Many cloud applications providers now also have their own onboarding courses that walk new users through the use of their software. These should help employees get to quickly know how to use any new app that they may need to use. It is also possible to subscribe to third-party learning platforms such as Udemy and LinkedIn Learning.
For more context-specific content, companies can still create their own programs and materials. Most video conferencing tools like Zoom and Meet now have webinar and classroom features that allow them to stream video, share screens, and interact with participants.
Culture-building Social Activities
Companies should also consider the human element. Effective onboarding programs also look to incorporate the social aspect of the transition. Remote work has been cited to contribute to feelings of isolation in employees. While it is critical for workforces to become productive as quickly as possible, it’s also important for companies to find ways to engage their employees and build trust.
To make training programs a bit more lighthearted, they can be gamified where those who complete the most sessions or score best in quizzes and tests can be rewarded through recognition and gifts. Company cultures can also be reinforced even if everyone is working remotely. Holding virtual town halls and online events can help connect people digitally. These can also be used as ways to promote an idea or value that the company wants to reinforce.
Why Training Matters
Not all companies were ready to handle the sudden shift to remote work. Only over just a fifth of companies claim to have been fully ready for remote work before the worldwide lockdowns began. While cloud-based applications have greatly helped companies build capable infrastructure that allow workers to function remotely, achieving the necessary level of productivity hasn’t exactly been easy.
This concern is quite similar to when new hires to a company have to get acclimated to their new environment. It often takes weeks or even months for workers to settle in and be truly productive in their functions.
With companies’ ways of working being turned topsy-turvy, everyone essentially has to acclimatize to the new normal. Workers will have to know and be trained on the new work arrangements, the tools and solutions that will be used, and the updated processes and policies required for management and governance purposes.
What Can Be Achieved
Businesses are bound to feel the crunch caused by the pandemic. Getting their workforces up to speed in the new normal will be vital to their success. Some organizations may even have to reorganize their operations or change their entire approach to doing things.
Digital training can help companies resume productivity at the soonest time possible. Through effective knowledge management and onboarding, workers can be equipped with the essential knowledge on how to function while working online.
By ensuring continuity through productivity, companies can then move toward more strategic initiatives and explore new ways of thriving in a post-COVID-19 environment.