Face-to-face learning and development opportunities could bring more people into the office

The legacy of Covid means that many staff are still working remotely or on a hybrid basis; with 72% of office workers saying that access to face-to-face training and development opportunities would encourage them back into the office.

Missing human connection

According to the whitepaper – learning and mentorship in the digital age – published by Unispace, a global leader in creating bespoke workplaces, employees want more in-person learning and development opportunities and more connection to their colleagues.

The study of 3,000 employees also found that 78% of employees feel disconnected from colleagues, and 75% said they would feel happier returning to the office if they knew that their team was there.

What this means is that office spaces need to be reimagined to facilitate connections and provide separate areas for group learning, mentoring, and private study.

Offices support learning and development opportunities

The study found that 72% of office workers would like the opportunity to access face-to-face training and development, while half would appreciate in-person mentoring opportunities.

Less than a third of employers said that their staff had access to online training and development opportunities when working from home.

The survey also revealed a disconnect between the employer and employee’s perception of the suitability of their office space for training and development. 81% of employers felt that their workspaces were designed to facilitate training and development for their staff.

However, 38% of employees said they do not have access to dedicated break-out areas and almost a quarter revealed that they had no communal areas for joint learning and collaboration.

Emma Forster Mitrovski, CEO Australia & New Zealand at Unispace said, “While online training has come a long way in terms of break out rooms and virtual interaction, it is clear from our survey that there is no substitute for learning with your colleagues in a physical and collaborative environment.

“Remote working has provided a significant opportunity for the workforce to obtain a better work-life balance and have more autonomy over when, where and how they work. However, the value of in-person connections and face-to-face training cannot be underestimated. Our study shows that employers are not confident in virtual onboarding and training and that employees value the opportunity to connect with colleagues for in-person learning and mentoring.”

Jen Gaster, Founder and Managing Director of HR Heads, said, “At HR Heads we have already seen the shift in demand post-pandemic from talent attraction roles to Talent Management.

“The focus on businesses in 2023 will be on getting the most from their existing talent and upskilling and developing capability will be front and centre of most HR agendas.”