The Process of Learning and Training in Remote Work
No matter how many years have passed since your last professional accreditation or how much experience you have gained in the meantime, your skills’ development is a process based on continuous learning. We cannot build high-performing organizations without well-informed employees and without everyone’s involvement in the unlimited exercise of knowledge improvement. In the context of remote work, how do we keep up to date with the latest news relevant to our professional development?
To answer this question, it is good to first think about whether our physical presence on a daily basis at a fixed office offers the advantage of a certain learning style, which we no longer have when working remotely and, if so, how it can be compensated. Going to the office, you can easily leap at learning opportunities in the daily company of your colleagues – coffee breaks chats, small debates in the elevator or magazines, newspapers and flyers with interesting news, at the building’s information points.
In addition, physical participation in various conferences, courses and events offered a certain type of socialization and learning, which has gone through an important reconfiguration in recent years. In this transition, we are looking for the tools through which we can successfully replace learning from a fixed office. In addition to this, we discover surprising possibilities of information, which we did not have before.
Learning methods provided by employers in remote work
Carried out mainly online, most of the learning process in remote work is passive. Whether we refer to reading, attending courses, presentations, video and audio materials, employees usually go through these learning sources without a direct involvement in generating ideas. This method is especially useful when it is necessary to familiarize yourself with new concepts.
However, organizations must also consider active methods of training their staff. In the remote context, dynamic discussions in the office, interactive refresher courses must also be largely transferred to the online environment. Internal chat, online meetings must be designed and used in such a way as to support the dissemination of information between colleagues, the clarification of concepts and continuous learning, in a friendly and professional atmosphere.
Based on these considerations, many companies have made it a priority in recent years to configure and adjust along the way an efficient internal learning system.
Coworking spaces as a learning opportunity
Remote work is not just about working from home. A notable alternative is going to coworking spaces, where people have the opportunity to work alongside professionals from many other domains. In these conditions, we benefit not only from logistic facilities similar to those at the company’s headquarters, but also from the opportunity to be part of a diverse community of specialists, who will have a lot to share and learn from each other.
We are talking, therefore, about a special learning opportunity that remote work can fully exploit, this style of work being, in fact, at the basis of coworking spaces’ emergence.
How to ensure your continuous training as a remote employee
Learning in a remote context, whether it is requested by the employer or coming from the employee’s initiative, leaves the latter the freedom and responsibility to organize and to effectively document himself/herself. For this, one needs a strategy. Conferences, webinars, audiobooks, debates are good opportunities for learning, but the most used method of daily training, with the best results in optimal time, remains reading.
Most of our daily reading time is online-based. Although it can be more physically and mentally exhausting, online reading has specific advantages. For example, you can easily emphasize and extract the passages that interest you, you can quickly take notes or you can mark paragraphs on which you want to undertake further research, you can immediately share with your colleagues an information that caught your attention.
Equally true is that online reading is also accompanied by specific temptations and distractions, such as escalating from one link to another before finishing the initial article. Some active reading techniques can help in this regard:
- You can choose a reading style according to the purpose of your study. In some moments, a quick pass over the main ideas is enough, in others more attention is required to the details.
- Before you move on to the content itself, it is good to get an idea of the text’s structure, by reading the table of contents, introductory paragraph or subtitles. This way, you will know from the start how the material is built, what kind of information it can offer you, what are the conclusions it formulates.
- During the reading, you can select and filter the paragraphs that capture your attention, taking notes about what you consider being useful to you in the future.
- A special challenge in online reading is the temptation of distractions: the impulse to access links, ads, social media platforms. Apart from this being a willpower and self-discipline exercise, some tools can also help, such as setting the “reading” mode in your browser, blocking certain types of notifications during reading or even using a separate device dedicated to reading.
At home, in our company’s office or in coworking spaces, learning is an endless process. If we keep our willingness to inform ourselves at all times and if we manage to do this in a well-structured way, we will see that remote work gives us a lot of learning autonomy and supports a performant skills’ development.