Remote working could hinder the skills development of employees

Remote working could hinder skills development longer-term, with employers indicating difficulties in the onboarding, training and development of staff in a remote environment.

That’s according to a recent study from Unispace and CoreNet Global.

The study of global leaders revealed that the physical separation between peers could have a longer-term impact on the success of developing skills, with 71% indicating that staff learned best when they are near others.

According to the data, a further 90% of employers believe that their firm is more confident delivering mentorship programmes in the office.

In comparison, less than half (43%) were comfortable managing this virtually.

The successful onboarding of new hires is also at risk in a fully remote world, with the majority (75%) of respondents indicating that it was easier to welcome, onboard, and collaborate while in the office.

Lawrence Mohiuddine, CEO, EMEA, from Unispace said, “While remote working may be the preferred set up for a number of individuals and employers, being physically removed from peers on a permanent basis can have a detrimental impact longer-term.

“People learn from people, and being away from an environment where staff feel comfortable not only onboarding new staff, but also mentoring others, will limit skills development and staff retention overall.

“Not all learning is conducted in a formal landscape.

“Being in a room with experienced peers or having spontaneous brainstorming and water cooler moments all aid in the development of employees.

“Without a space that facilities this, the successful development of staff will be limited. That does not mean that all open-plan areas are suitable for time spent training and onboarding.

“The environment that individuals are accustomed to working in needs to be considered.

“For example, not all employees have access to quiet spaces at home to carry out focused training and, as a result, will need private working areas in the office to concentrate. It is important that employers provide the right environment for employees and new hires that enables them to thrive.”

Jen Gaster, Founder and Managing Director of HR recruitment specialists HR Heads, added, “Recent research has shown that more than half (57%) of global employers are worried about losing staff in the first half of this year due to higher earning potential elsewhere, businesses are striving to retain talent.

“As a result, from an HR recruitment perspective, we’ve seen an increased demand for Reward and Learning & Development professionals, as companies look to improve their employee value proposition.

“From our experience as recruiters, I would agree with the study’s findings, where 71% of respondents indicated that staff learned best when they are near others.

“However, I would urge caution from a talent acquisition perspective, as the majority of the best HR professionals desire hybrid working patterns and a return to the traditional full-time work-based patterns simply won’t appeal to many of the best candidates, who have become accustomed to a hybrid model.”