With the rapid growth of technology in the workforce, more and more employees are choosing remote work. All over the globe, the amount of people working remotely at least once per week has grown by 400%.
Remote work has multiple advantages, including increased productivity, reduced turnover, and increased company savings.
Yet a remote workforce presents unique challenges. Remote workers can feel isolated and unappreciated. They can also have difficulty learning procedures and core company values when transitioning away from a traditional 9-to-5 desk job.
You can overcome these issues, however, with a well-organized online training regime. Developing thorough and efficient training tools and procedures are one of the best ways to ensure your remote employees — and thus your company — thrive.
Explore your options
Whether you plan to do remote work full-time, part-time, or are training remote workers, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of remote work, have some insight into the latest trends, and learn how to increase your chances of success when going remote.
Remote work is more than just working from your laptop outside your office. You need the right policies, tools, and technology.
Above all, you need to train your employees in order to successfully transition to remote work.
Before developing your training materials, you must know the different training tools available. There are a plethora of options, and each can be beneficial when you use it the right way.
Written training materials include everything from standard operating procedures (SOPs) to manuals and checklists.
Employees should have access to online versions of all company policies and documentation on company values, how-to guides, and any other written training materials.
Put all of your documentation in one easy-to-access location so employees can review it at their own pace and refer to it whenever they need to refresh their memory.
Expect the forgetting curve
Even your star employees may suffer from a psychological phenomenon known as the “Forgetting Curve”.
The Forgetting Curve hypothesis explains how we forget information over time at different rates depending on the complexity of information, how meaningful the information is to the learner, and how often they review the information.
To combat the forgetting curve in your remote workers, try these simple tips:
- Keep information short and to the point. Complex, rambling documents are hard to follow, and employees will skim through them without retaining much info.
- Offer employees frequent opportunities to review information. Ask your employees to tell or show you what they’ve learned. This will keep information fresh in their mind.
- Create “cheat sheets” for key policies and procedures. By summarizing the key points of longer documents, or creating a simplified outline of the steps to follow for completing projects, you will give employees a cheat sheet they can refer to until they memorize the information.
For common questions, consider putting together an online database of frequently asked questions in a question-and-answer format. This will cut down on time spent hunting for answers, and your employees won’t have to contact someone every time they have a simple question.
Tools for in-depth training
Once your employees have completed the beginning stages of training and are ready to learn the specific details of their job, you can dive into more detailed training tools.
Webinars, one-on-one video calls and screen sharing are all effective ways to help remote employees learn the more in-depth parts of their job.
Webinars are an excellent way to review large amounts of material with multiple employees at once. They can work for topics ranging from company policies to how-to demonstrations of software products and reviewing preferred company workflows. You can record and re-watch the webinars whenever you need.
To create effective webinars, try to:
- Keep your webinar as short as possible and focus on a single topic. Cramming too much information into one webinar will overwhelm viewers and – you guessed it – worsen the forgetting curve.
- Offer a written version of the key points and notes from the webinar so employees can review the material without wasting time skipping through the video.
- Give employees a chance to ask questions both during the webinar and after. Let them know who to reach out to if they need additional clarification after the webinar has ended.
Video calls and screen sharing
Choose video calls over a traditional phone call when possible. This helps remote employees feel more connected to the company on a social level. It also reduces miscommunication by allowing both parties to see each other’s facial expressions. We can misunderstand the tone of voice when emailing or talking over the phone.
Screen sharing is a powerful tool in your remote training toolkit. When training employees on detailed procedures, opt for screen sharing. First, show employees what you want them to do. Then have the employee mirror your actions by “teaching” you what you just showed them. This will drastically reduce the forgetting curve and help employees master their assignments.
Putting it all together
Even the best training materials will prove useless if your employees don’t know where to find them. Everyone, both on-site and remote workers, should know where and how to access all the materials.
A learning management system (LMS) is a powerful tool for organizing and distributing content:
- An LMS allows you to place all your content in an e-learning type platform for employees to access.
- Besides the simplicity of having all your training materials in one location, an LMS provides powerful tools for tracking employee progress and providing feedback.
Similar to the e-learning environment used by many colleges, managers can set-up online training as a course with specific assignments and deadlines. They can then monitor employee performance and provide feedback. It has become one of the most powerful tools for helping remote workers succeed.
Get up to speed on latest remote work trends
If your organization is lacking in efficient training policies for remote workers, you can lead the charge on getting them up-to-speed.
Even employees who work a desk job may consider remote work or the occasional remote project. Knowing how to succeed in this environment is a valuable skill that will increase your value in the workplace.
Ashley Wilson is a digital nomad writing about business and tech. She has been known to reference movie quotes in casual conversation and enjoys baking homemade treats for her husband and their two felines, Lady and Gaga. You can get in touch with Ashley via Twitter.