It’s critical! It’s crucial.
Our work culture keeps changing from time to time. Work from Home has now become the new normal. It took a Pandemic to bring about this massive change but regardless of the reasons, more and more companies and its employees are adjusting to the concept of working remotely. Although it has its flip side, people have started cosying up to this concept and find it has many benefits all around, for the individual, the companies, and the environment. After the initial getting used to the process, it has been noticed that productivity has gone up, stress levels have come down considerably owing to many reasons and now employees and employers are not only comfortable with the new status, they recommend this type of work culture.
But can a company or its employees achieve a breakthrough, if the axe is not sharpened time and again? No. To achieve any kind of efficiency parameters, the desired level of productivity from your work from home employees, training is mandatory.
Pros and Cons to Working from Home
PROS: The benefits – the best-case scenario
More time to spend with family hence individual become free of the guilt factor
There is no stress of travelling to work or meetings since most of the meetings now can be conducted online
Flexi work time. Can use individual power hours to give their best work hence productivity increases
More ‘ME’ time to follow self-pursuits/hobbies
Save on costs of travelling, outside food, fuel
No office distractions
Won’t have to face crowds and traffic
Can opt for smaller offices thus save on infrastructural costs like laptops, seating space, internet, electricity, expensive vending machines, air conditioning, and so on
Employee productivity increases if well supervised and trained
Save of big employee benefits and communication events
Employee’s health and wellness improves as they become stress-free, hence they are able to work better
Flexibility to hire suitable talent pool and not be restricted to any geographical location
CONS: The Flip Side – Challenges
Could get easily distracted if low on focus or training
Team communication becomes less effective as there is no face to face interaction
If there is a lack of space in the home, prone to disturbances from family, especially small children
Since working from home is solo working, one can get the de-motivated time and again if sufficient motivation and communication does not happen
One tends to overwork if certain timings for work are not observed. This can lead to other challenges like exhaustion, lack of sleep, irritation, etc.
Lack of Accountability – if not well monitored, working from home can make some people slack and not give the expected results
In such scenarios, trainings become a necessity to build and preserve the momentum, so that the businesses can be assured of productivity and employees can be assured of care and well-being and off-course, their paychecks.
Benefits of Training for Work from Home Human Capital
As compared to employees who work full-time in an office, work from home employees have more job satisfaction and are much more productive than their counterparts. What will be the cherry on the cake is when a work from home employee is given the required training and resources to get into a more motivated mindset. In fact, a recent survey has gathered a report which stated that whilst 67% of remote workers were happy to receive training, 33% said they needed more.
How would specific and relevant trainings help the WFH tribe
Although distance and lack of physical training sessions could definitely create some challenges, since work from home employees are not centered in one location, it would be important to focus on training subjects that would add value to WFH employees to get a deeper understanding. The approach one would use to achieve this would be the game-changer. Let’s get straight down to the much-needed training areas.
Role clarity – Setting expectations – Goals and Deliverables One of the most essential points to be established for WFH employees is making their roles very clear. Set expectations, boundaries, role clarity. This becomes very important as one cannot establish any kind of physical supervision in this scenario. Role clarity establishes a method and means to achieve the set goals without having to issue or address any kind of bonds, thus giving them the freedom and transparency to do the job at their pace and time, and do a good job about it. Here, in addition to understanding their individual duties, they require to know what the rest of the team will be doing. All this can be done with the help of virtual meetings. Along with this you could have a strong LMS system and attendance tracking system to measure absenteeism and training effectiveness.
Understanding the Do’s and Dont’s – Remote Compliance Management With WFH teams, many times it is very easy to digress. Since WFH becomes a casual atmosphere, people tend to enter into casual conversations either as a group or one to one. In such conversations, it is very likely for people to say something that could in ways be discriminatory or insensitive. Since one cannot establish any kind of screening, it is easy for work from home employees to take bribes from vendors, etc. It becomes very important to establish Do’s and Dont’s of acceptable behavior and instill in employees a strong sense of company culture, values and ethics.
Cybersecurity One cannot work from home without technology and the internet. It is very important and in the company’s interests to address common cybersecurity threats and best practices for WFH employees. Like for example, a WFH employee is travelling for some work, whether personal or professional, can keep their laptops on, especially in public spaces which can result in data leakage. Or worse still, they could use a public wi-fi which could be very dangerous. WFH employees should be made aware of the hazards and dangers of working in public spaces. Also, some other cybersecurity training topics for WFH employees could center around password protection, proper use of antivirus software, as well as spotting phishing attempts, and suspicious links.
Communicating while Working from Home – Improving Digital Skills Today, Digital Literacy is a Core Competency a Core Skill one must possess. One of the important requirements for WFH is, they have to be digitally savvy. In this scenario, the team relies heavily on technology and online communication platform. Therefore, one must be savvy with software, applications, various video and chat platforms, and digital spaces and mediums for uploads, downloads, and communication. To add to this WFH employees should also know a bit of computer hardware, too, so that they can handle simple technical issues on their own. For example, they should know how to install antivirus software or fix their internet connection.
Enhancing Soft Skills Although it is true that work from home employees are more productive than their counterparts, they still require to build on their soft skills. Cultivating skills like time management skills, sensitivity training, organizational skills, would help WFH employees to manage their time and prioritize their workload. For employees who are new in the system, these trainings become a priority.
It would be in the best interest of organizations to benchmark some best practices followed by companies that are actively supporting the work from home culture. Sufficient to remember that this trend is not a passing fancy but is here to stay. So gear up and create a working pattern for WFH and in-house employees to collectively thrive and boost productivity.