The way we work is constantly changing. And there’s been no bigger change than work from home. Regardless of the reasons, more and more employees are working remotely. The good news is that 88% of veteran remote workers recommend this type of work. Why? Among other reasons, remote employees are more productive than their office counterparts.
But to achieve the desired level of productivity and efficiency, your remote workforce also needs to keep up with training.
How to train your remote workforce
Who are these mysterious strangers known as remote workers? Do they work independently at a place far away from us common people? Not exactly.
Remote employees work, indeed, outside company premises either entirely or a few times per week. But they usually work for one specific employer and, more often than not, they are required to follow a fixed schedule.
Remote employees talk a lot about productivity and job satisfaction, both of which are higher compared to that of in-house employees. A common spot of bother for remote employees, though, seems to be work-related training. According to recent remote work statistics compiled by a TalentLMS survey, while 87% of remote workers receive training, 67% say they need more.
The distance and lack of face-to-face interaction surely create some challenges. How do you train remote employees when they’re spread around the world? What should you focus on?
In reality, training remote workers isn’t all that different from training in-house employees. You just need to employ the right tools.
In this post, you’ll find 6 training topics for remote employees to help you get started. You’ll also discover a variety of training tools you can use depending on your needs and preferred delivery method.
6 training topics for remote employees
When you develop training for remote teams, certain topics shouldn’t be missing from your agenda. Though they don’t differ substantially from the topics you explore with your in-house staff, you might need to take a different approach and focus.
1. Digital skills
One of the greatest challenges of remote work is effective communication and collaboration. For the technical aspects of communication, your remote team relies entirely on technology. This makes digital literacy more of a core rather than an optional competency.
It’s up to you to determine the frequency and the media through which you’ll manage the workload, communicate updates, or check in with remote employees. But whatever tools you deploy, they are going to be the glue that holds remote and in-house employees together. So, make sure your remote team is comfortable using them.
Remote employees should be a bit of computer technicians, too, and handle simple technical issues on their own. For example, they should know how to install antivirus software or fix their internet connection.
2. Company culture
Does the concept of company culture even apply when it comes to remote work? It sure does. A strong company culture is key to engaging in-house and remote employees alike. Employee engagement, in turn, has a huge impact on employee productivity and retention.
Cultivating a sense of shared vision and goals is hard when you don’t share the same physical space with your employees. But that lack of direct contact is what makes developing a company culture even more significant.
A common example of company culture is whether you have a dedicated space and time for “watercooler conversation” or not (it’s best that you do!). Or the way you check in with remote employees and measure progress.
For example, do you expect them to work a certain number of hours per week? Or do you focus only on the deliverables? The more open about your expectations you are, the stronger your company culture will be.
3. Soft skills
True, remote workers are more productive than in-house employees. They also manage to collaborate effectively despite the barriers in communication. Otherwise, the whole remote work concept would have fallen apart.
But if communication and collaboration is challenging for employees that interact daily and in person, imagine how tough it is for those who work remotely. Or, how much organization it takes for a remote worker to manage their time and prioritize their workload.
Need we say more? Soft skills are the cornerstone of remote work. Some might need to enhance their time-management, communication, scheduling, and organizational skills before they can handle remote work. Especially those with no relevant experience.
4. Role clarity
Another essential training topic for remote employees is role clarity. Role clarity establishes transparency and helps remote workers understand where they stand in the company.
Job-specific training on the matter is a given. All employees should know their exact tasks and responsibilities, who they report to, and your job processes. Due to lack of in-person interaction, however, remote employees have a blind spot. They often don’t know who is doing what in the company, or how their role is connected to that of others.
So, in addition to clarifying their own job duties, explain what the rest of the team does. Arrange virtual meetings until they meet everyone and create flashcards on your LMS with every employee’s job role and duties.
Remote teams, much like in-house teams, engage in casual conversations either as a group or one to one. At some point, someone could make a comment that sounds discriminatory or in any way insulting. Similarly, if an in-house financial executive can accept a bribe, so can a remote.
You get the idea. As long as there are rules to be broken, there’s no escaping compliance training. Remote employees should know which behaviors are acceptable and which are not according to your code of ethics and company policies.
Remote work isn’t possible without technology and the internet. So, addressing common cybersecurity threats and best practices during remote work training is well worth your while.
Whether to alleviate loneliness or during business trips, remote employees often work from public spaces. That’s what your cybersecurity training should begin with. Discussing the risks of using public Wi-Fi and safe alternatives is cybersecurity 101 for remote employees.
Another issue to address is physical security. Careless habits like leaving a device unattended or the screen unlocked can result in data leakage. It sounds like a no-brainer that practices like these are dangerous. And yet, they are very common among employees who haven’t received proper training on security awareness.
Other cybersecurity training topics for remote employees are password protection, proper use of antivirus software, as well as spotting phishing attempts and suspicious links.
The Best Remote Training Tools
Now that you have an idea of what topics to include in remote work training, let’s take a look at the best training tools for the job.
1. Learning Management Systems
Remote training software is the first tool to consider for training remote employees. An LMS is an integrated solution for building an engaging, personalized training course, as well as tracking employee attendance and progress.
Do you need more content options than the standard text or video? Branching scenarios, simulations, games, and interactive activities are also available. Additional capabilities you’ll enjoy are gamification, social learning and collaboration features, as well as mobile compatibility, video-conference support, and ILT sessions.
Build training courses for your remote workforce with TalentLMS:
the learning management system that’s easy to set up, easy to use, and easy to customize.
2. Video-conferencing tools
Whether you want to squeeze in a few instructor-led sessions or train remote employees exclusively in real time, a video-conferencing tool is the solution. From Skype and Zoom to GoToMeeting, there are plenty of choices to bring remote employees together.
Apart from training, a video-conferencing tool is indispensable for those occasions where face-to-face interaction is preferable. Welcoming new team members or introducing new projects are such occasions. You can also use video conferencing on a regular basis to enable more direct communication. For example, to inform remote employees about project updates or engage in non-business related discussions.
3. Project-management and collaboration tools
If your training material is largely text or video-based, you can upload and share it via your project management tool or the G suite. Your remote employees will already be using these tools daily, so why not use them for training, too? In the same spirit, you can use content management tools like Google Drive and Dropbox.
With technology at your service, there’s no excuse for going MIA on your remote workforce. Determine which training topics for remote employees are relevant to your workforce, pick the most suitable training tool, and get to work!