The future of work and development after COVID-19
by Redware Team on May 19, 2022 12:14:34 PM
As the COVID-19 pandemic changes and we all learn to live with our new normal, attitudes towards our working lives have had to adapt.
The life of 9-5 office working had all but disappeared during periods of lockdown. Workers discovered that they can operate at the same level (if not better) than being in the office, whilst people also felt the impacts of screen fatigue and isolation. So where does this leave workers and employers now that the dust begins to settle?
Changing the world of work
With world slowly returning to our ‘new normal’, a growing number of workers are now adapting to the office lifestyle similar to what they were once used to before COVID-19. The same can also be said for learning and development, as shown by Empowered LMS’s Q1 report, where more learners are returning to face-to-face training increasing month-by-month since the beginning of 2022.
Despite this however, even with the option to return to work becoming accepted again, on-site opportunities still have a long way to go before reaching the same level as their remote counterparts, with many members of staff opting to work from home and train from home where possible. According to findstack up to 74% of workers say that having the option to work remotely would make them less likely to leave a company – so it’s not difficult to see what employees want out of their working lives today.
However, as the figure for people choosing face-to-face training increases, in parallel to those wishing to stay at home, It’s reasonable to say that not one solution fits everyone. As a result, more businesses are now adopting the flexibility of a hybrid work policy. With this policy workers have the option to come to the office on a select number of days in the week, with the remainder working from home.
And it’s no surprise more businesses are beginning to take notice, with HSBC reporting 77% of higher-growth companies showing higher productivity levels with hybrid working. On top of the increase in productivity there are additional benefits to hybrid working, such as:
- Increased flexibility
- Higher employee morale
- Lower overheads for employers and members of staff who would otherwise commute
- Better work-life balance
- Retention of employees as 74% of workers say that having the option to work remotely would make them less likely to leave a company.
Further flexibility for workers
The hybrid work policy is not the only form of flexible working to be embraced during and after COVID-19. Another hotly discussed topic is the four-day working week, with some companies offering the opportunity for staff to complete the usual 37-40 hours within the four days rather than five – with some even fortunate enough to drop to 32 hours without a loss in pay.
This concept even pre-dates COVID-19 with tests running in Iceland before COVID-19 between 2015 and 2019 in Iceland, showing productivity remaining the same or improving in the majority of workplaces.
With more opportunities for flexibility in the workplace we have also begun to see more companies offering other flexible benefits as well, such as unlimited holidays (something Redware has also offered since 2018 for all members of staff)!
As more tests are conducted, and more companies begin to adopt greater flexibility, it’s fairly likely that a greater number businesses will continue to take notice and also adopt similar policies for their employees to take advantage of.
Where are we now?
With remote working becoming a lifeline for businesses to survive during periods of lockdown, the dynamic has quickly changed. With remote working becoming available out of necessity for businesses, it became the golden opportunity for members of staff to prove themselves. Since then many businesses have learned that operations can still continue either at the same level, or well beyond what they thought was possible before.
Now that many businesses are embracing remote work and L&D for their members of staff, there are still some that unfortunately wish to cling on to how things were before. Whether this is something to do with vested interests, or a genuine concern for productivity is still largely up for debate. But, one quick Google search might tell you that the large majority of employees still wish to continue remotely or hybrid.
To some degree you could even argue that COVID-19 has put employees in the driving seat, and if businesses wish to retain top talent (as demonstrated in the Findstack report) businesses need to be offering some level of flexibility to their members of staff.
So where does this leave businesses now? Of course, there is not a ‘silver bullet’ solution as every member of staff is different and this undoubtedly vary from company to company – so what can employees expect out of their roles for the future?
What’s to come?
If we had to take our own guess, judging by the data we have currently, we anticipate that more businesses will continue to offer some level of hybrid working, and this will become the norm for most businesses. Hybrid working offers the best of both worlds in terms of working and L&D, caters to all types of workers and can be adjusted to suit the needs of the business.
Why not fully remote? You might ask. Whilst there is a massive benefit with remote working, we still feel that for team-building exercises and large scale projects some face-to-face contact is still important.
Recently we had a discussion with our Head of Operations, Kate Upstone, on why she feels hybrid working is the way forward based on her own experiences at Redware:
“ I think the option of hybrid working allows us to provide the balance of home working as well as the opportunity in the office environment to get to know one another a lot better as a team. Conversations that are less deliberate, by the coffee machine or across the office, rather than through a team’s call. That’s where I think you get to understand people better.”
How Empowered LMS can help your hybrid workforce
So where does this leave learning and development for members of staff if they are bouncing between home-working and office-working? Thankfully, Empowered LMS has the solution for you.
Aside from the fact the LMS is browser-based, has a mobile app and can be taken just about anywhere with members of staff, we also provide the option of blended-learning for our learners.
What is blended learning?
Much like hybrid working, blended learning takes every person into account. Whether they prefer a face-to-face classroom environment, to learn from the comfort of their own home virtually at their own pace, or a mixture of both. Without the limitations that can be found in both classroom and virtual learning, blended learning combines methodologies so that the content can be customised for the learner and optimised for the subject matter.
On top of this blended learning has a number of other benefits, such as:
- Learners have the ability to choose which type of content they want to interact with, practice what they learn, and communicate with instructors and other learners any time and on any device
- Organisations can present mandatory/compliance training alongside complimentary training
- Cost effective and can be used again and again, reducing trainer and administration time.
- Consistent training to all employees, regardless of language barriers with language interpretation and translations.
For over 20 years our learning and development experts at Redware have been helping businesses worldwide with learning and development by delivering comprehensive and robust training with Empowered LMS.
To learn more about blended learning and how it can help your business train a hybrid workforce, please visit: https://www.redware.co.uk/lms