We’re so familiar with hybrid work now that it’s easy to forget how new a concept it is.
Pre-pandemic, we could never have imagined that in just a few short years how we work would have been completely turned on its head.
According to the CIPD, three-quarters of employers now offer some form of hybrid working. And a full return to the office (at least for the majority of businesses) is looking evermore unlikely.
Whilst remote work isn’t currently necessary from a public health point of view, employees are keen to retain the work-life balance and well-being benefits that flexible work and a hybrid work schedule provide.
And employers are increasingly happy to offer this perk in a bid to hold onto employees – and recruit new talent – during the midst of a labour shortage. Especially as remote work appears to improve productivity.
So if hybrid work is here to stay, what does this mean for L&D?
Characteristics of hybrid work
Hybrid work incorporates both remote and in-office work, with employees at all levels switching between the two.
Whilst these are the basic characteristics of hybrid work, you’ll find different hybrid work models depending upon which organisation you look at.
Here are a few of the most common hybrid arrangements.
1. An employee-led hybrid work pattern
An organisation gives employees complete freedom over when and how often they spend time at the office.
2. Limited remote working
A company specifies days on which their hybrid workers have to attend the office. Or stipulates a ratio of work from home and work in the office days.
That might be one day a month, or multiple days each week.
3. Digital first with a workplace hub
Employees work remotely. Employers actively limit the number of days employees spend in the office. Organisations can then cut down on office space, whilst maintaining a space for collaborative in-person work.
Why is training required in a hybrid work model?
Training is essential to any organisation. It’s particularly important for a hybrid work model.
That’s because this is new territory. For many organisations, the hybrid workplace is a new concept. There’s a lot to learn to create a successful hybrid work environment.
As well as all of the usual workplace training you’d expect to deliver to your teams, you now need to provide learning opportunities specifically related to hybrid work.
Here are a few places where training can support the hybrid workplace.
Hybrid work requires new methods of communication. Video conferencing, project management software and messaging platforms are now in day-to-day use.
But how should employees use these communication tools? And does your organisation expect a certain online communication etiquette?
Training can help employees learn the ropes of digital communication with colleagues.
Got a mix of in-office and remote workers? Chances are you’re using a lot of software solutions to facilitate at-home work.
Training is essential for introducing new employees to the software packages you use – and for helping existing employees to get the most out of software features and capabilities.
Leading a hybrid team, rather than a fully face-to-face team, requires a slightly different approach.
For example, leaders have to be proactive in their communication, asking for feedback and scheduling 1 to 1 meetings regularly.
Leadership training specifically related to managing a hybrid workforce can help your workplace leaders to be more effective at what they do.
How can you make sure all hybrid workers advance in their careers?
Training is essential if you want to nurture talent within your organisation and provide equal opportunities for career progression.
There’s a danger that workers who choose to come into the office will be offered promotions ahead of their home-working peers. Those who work diligently behind a screen at home are at risk of falling out of sight and out of mind.
This isn’t fair. But you can address the issue with the help of the right training programmes, delivered in the right way.
Make training accessible for all workers
By adopting an e-learning strategy, you provide L&D opportunities that all workers can access. It doesn’t matter if they’re based at home or in the office.
With a device and an internet connection, they can access learning resources at a time and place of their choosing.
This ensures that every member of your hybrid workforce gets the same opportunities to develop the skills and knowledge they need to advance in their careers.
Provide bias training for managers
Managers are responsible for identifying talent within the workforce – and offering appropriate career advancement opportunities.
But they don’t always recognise the positive bias they feel towards the people they regularly see face-to-face in the office.
Training can help to alert managers to bias – and offer strategies for counteracting it – ensuring that all employees are considered for opportunities and promotions.
How to manage your team’s hybrid work schedule
If you’ve traditionally delivered a programme of classroom-based or blended learning, arranging training around your team’s hybrid work schedule can feel like a challenge.
Getting everyone to attend in-person training on specified days is tricky. It’s also now completely unnecessary.
With the right e-learning solution, you can provide engaging learning materials and opportunities for colleague interaction. This improves the learning experience and outcomes too.
So does hybrid work make it harder to train your teams?
In some ways, yes it does.
If you try to deliver your L&D programme through old, in-person channels, you’re going to struggle. This strategy just isn’t compatible with a distributed workforce.
You also need to provide new training opportunities and materials, helping your teams to adapt to hybrid working – and the tools, norms and expectations that go along with it.
However, hybrid work presents huge opportunities for any forward-thinking L&D leader. Adopt an e-learning solution and you may find it easier than ever to train your employees.
That’s because employees can access e-learning in any location. And because e-learning provides a host of other benefits – including personalisation, gamification and improved engagement – it could make your L&D efforts easier yet more effective than ever.
Book a free demo with My Learning Hub to explore e-learning options for your company.