When the coronavirus lockdown was first announced in the UK, an epidemic of panic-buying spread across the country. Staples like rice and pasta soon sold out, and so did another more surprising set of items: office furniture.
Sales of desks, monitors and chairs spiked as businesses asked employees to work from home, ushering in the first widespread home-working experiment in the UK.
Far from being restrictive to businesses, this strange new world of home-working can provide a lot of flexibility and opportunity, particularly when it comes to improving the skills and knowledge of your employees.
This is vital during times of economic turbulence. A study by Deloitte found that investing in employee development can make businesses 48% more likely to be change-makers in their industry, 58% more prepared for the future, and 37% more productive than their competitors who don’t. It found that learning organisations are 92% more likely to innovate, too.
But how can organisations actually improve their learning culture during home-working?
1. Set clear learning goals
Working with employees to set personalised goals and targets will help to add structure to your learning programme.
Clear goals help to foster accountability and give employees something to aim for, improving their focus and motivation, while regular check-ins are a useful way for managers to engage with their team and monitor their progress.
2. Shift the focus to formal learning
While working from home can be detrimental to the informal learning that happens through teams working side-by-side, it can be highly beneficial for more structured forms of learning.
Most professional qualifications can be completed online, including those issued by CIPD, ILM, AAT, CIPS and CIM.
Plus, your employees are likely to have more time on their hands than ever before, making it an ideal time to work on achieving more substantial learning goals.
Funding, part-funding or simply encouraging study towards a professional qualification is a great way to give your employees something productive to do that will ultimately benefit them and the wider company.
Colleagues who are on the same course can also form a virtual study group, building bonds between co-workers at a time when we could all use more connection with our teams.
3. Take your time
Establishing a supportive learning environment takes energy, commitment and time. Don't lose heart if immediate results aren't forthcoming. Measure smaller indicators of progress and use these to inform your overall strategy for engaging employees and key stakeholders in the process.
Whether you’re working from home or not, embedding change in a company is a long-term process, so it's useful to remember that you're running a marathon, not a sprint.
ICS Learn provide award-winning online qualifications in HR, finance, management and more. Designed to be 100% online and accredited by prestigious bodies such as the CIPD, their courses are the ideal way to develop your career or your organisation from home.
Get your free course guide at icslearn.co.uk