This May, I celebrated a decade of working from home. Being an introvert, I revel in working remotely, bolstered by my familiar routines and faithful (albeit lap-hogging) dachshund companions, Puff and Josh. My biggest work-from-home challenges the last few months have been editing and posting the barrage of COVID-19-related articles that have flooded my in-box (check them out at www.trainingmag.com) and convincing my husband I really do still have to work when his employer sends him home early.
But I know for millions of others around the world, working from home is not so easy. And training from home is next to impossible. During the last few months, I know many of you probably have been frantically trying to convert hours and hours of classroom training to e-learning; figuring out how to train hundreds, if not thousands, of employees working from home; dealing with wonky Internet connections and lack of bandwidth; and resignedly watching kids (or pets) hijack your conference calls and Webinars and virtual sessions—or perhaps all of the above and more.
I salute you for your patience, persistence, and perseverance as we figure out how to adapt to this new world of work. With so many offices around the country still shuttered due to COVID-19, we decided to make the July/August issue of Training magazine available in an online-only format so our readers can access this content wherever they are. We will return to print issues for our September/October and November/December editions. Click here to access the online table of contents for this issue.
According to research from VitalSmarts, a leader in corporate training and learning development, of the majority of employees sent home to work, 9 out of 10 were given less than a week’s notice. And 1 in 4 were given less than a day to pack up their offices and head home with the expectation to be productive—all while on the cusp of an economic recession and amid a global pandemic.
The survey of 1,465 people found that the five biggest challenges respondents encountered in being focused and successful in their new work environment included:
1. Not connecting with colleagues (47%)
2. Available technology (36%)
3. Too many distractions (32%)
4. Lack of focus (29%)
5. Feeling disorganized (27%)
And while several recent surveys (including the Remote Workforce Report, conducted by the Best Practice Institute) have found that many employees are not—and may never be—willing to go back to working in a physical office even after a Coronavirus vaccine is created, there is one generation that seems to be eager to get back to a more social working environment.
A new report by employee survey and people analytics platform Perceptyx captured sentiments from 500,000-plus employees globally and found that digital natives (those under age 26) are struggling the most when working remotely apart from their colleagues. The report notes these individuals “feel less productive and supported in remote environments, leading to pervasive negative sentiment about remote work.” According to the report, digital natives favor a return to the physical workplace, while those age 26 to 45 are most eager to see a hybrid work environment in the future.
These findings dovetail with insights from our cover story, “Zooming in on Gen Z,” which found that though Gen Zers are the first generation raised entirely in the Digital Age, they prefer face-to-face communication with their peers. And they want transparent leaders and instant feedback.
As more Gen Zers enter the workforce, organizations may want to consider hiring a “behavioral scientist” to help remove barriers to learning, integrate personalization, and increase learner engagement. Click here to read more about the potential benefits of behavioral analysis in our feature, “Does Your Business Need a Behavioral Scientist?”
One of the benefits of the July/August issue being online only (aside from me not having to adhere to a specific word count for this note) is that we are able to include several additional features relating to this edition’s Talent Development focus. Written by industry professionals exclusively for Training, these features tackle topics such as: role efficiency studies; developing soft skills; managing less instead of more; closing skill gaps; and helping women climb the cyber ladder. Plus, our usual department columnists provide their insights and thought leadership during these challenging times.
I have been asked if we are still holding our Training Top 125 awards program this year. The answer is a resounding 100% YES! We feel it is more important than ever to recognize your innovative and out-of-the-box efforts to train and grow employees in this rapidly changing world.
Please click here to learn more and download the 2021 Top 125 application and quantitative and qualitative scoring guidelines. Please call (516.524.3504) or e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) me with questions at any time throughout the application process—the deadline is September 14.
I can’t wait to read about all the amazing things you are doing with training! In the meantime, stay strong, stay safe, stay healthy and have a wonderful summer!