The workplace has undergone drastic changes over the past two years. Many companies have shut their doors during the pandemic and asked their employees to work remotely. Others preferred a hybrid work model in which part of the staff worked remotely while the rest came to the office.
These are the hybrid employees that will most probably dominate the future of the workplace. Hybrid work has multiple advantages for employees and companies, but it also comes with drawbacks organizations must address.
One of them is the productivity dilemma. How can employees who partially work from home remain just as productive?
Luckily, there are practical solutions to boosting employee productivity that don’t revolve around changing their habits or working on their motivation. One example is the intelligent learning platform (ILP).
Through AI-powered content recommendations, personalized goals, and accurate progress tracking, these platforms can help employees stay on track with their learning and career goals, thus remaining productive even as they continue to work most of the time remotely.
What does the future hold for hybrid employees?
The future looks hybrid for many organizations worldwide. Employees continued to stick to hybrid work even after companies reopened their offices. This is a big shift considering how limited remote work opportunities were only a few years ago. These were mainly present in a handful of industries, such as Marketing or IT. In most other fields, companies preferred to have their staff work on-site.
Technologies such as video conferencing tools have enabled people to cooperate remotely. More so, Millennials make up most of the workforce that embraced remote or hybrid work. This cohort is generally more tech-savvy than the previous generations. In the US only, Millennials represent 35% of the workforce.
This generation incorporates technology in everything it does. From socializing to shopping, working out, or studying, there is an app or digital platform for every need. Millennials will more than likely continue to strive in the hybrid workplace because they can smoothly adapt to new technologies, and in general, to change.
The advantages of maintaining a hybrid work model
Now that general lockdowns seem less likely, employees are returning to offices. Still, many of them prefer a hybrid model. The trend is already underway in a global work environment where more than 55% of companies allow remote work.
There are many advantages to adopting a hybrid work model:
- Companies can reduce office-related costs such as rent and equipment expenses;
- They can use these savings for R&D or marketing activities;
- Employees enjoy more flexibility, which translates into increased work satisfaction;
- There are fewer office and team-management issues since most of the team works remotely;
- Companies empower employees with more freedom that boosts productivity;
- Everyone becomes more familiar with technology, which upskills the workforce;
- Organizations enjoy better employee-management relationships. There are no more enclosed offices for leaders. Regardless of their position, everyone can partially work from the comfort of their home.
Read more: Top 4 challenges of training a hybrid team
Hybrid work increases employee productivity
Hybrid work increases employee productivity mainly because of its flexible nature. It empowers the workforce to choose when and where they work. While some tasks require collaboration, others are more easily carried out individually, in a quiet place. The first can, therefore, be accomplished on-site. As for the latter, employees can handle them during their remote days.
Many companies not only offer a hybrid work model but also provide different options for this. There are four hybrid work styles organizations have successfully implemented during the pandemic. While some asked employees to follow a strict hybrid schedule, others allowed them full flexibility in choosing from:
- The week-by-week model: employees spend one week working from home, the following one on-site, and so on;
- The split-week model: people work from home for two or three days and the remaining days, from the office;
- The shift work model: employees work in evening or morning shifts in the office for a certain number of hours and remotely the rest of the hours;
- The at-will model: people come to the office whenever they want to and work the rest of the time from home.
The most successful of the four options seems to be the at-will model. A study conducted in the UK shows that almost 70% of employees felt this hybrid work style increased their productivity. Flexible schedules like this one increase work satisfaction. They provide the type of arrangements the modern workforce strives for. People no longer want to be confined to the office space from 9 to 5. They want to gain and receive trust and transparency and benefit from flexible arrangements. A hybrid work model does just that by ensuring employees that organizations trust them to do their work from anywhere as long as they do it right.
What is an intelligent learning platform and how can it boost hybrid employees’ productivity?
Employee productivity is strongly linked to skill development and building a few healthy habits that prevent procrastination and boost efficiency:
- The ability to correctly assess and prioritize tasks;
- Good time management skills;
- The ability to organize tasks and meetings effectively;
- Quickly spotting and reporting issues as soon as they appear;
- The habit of asking for help instead of wasting time trying to solve issues alone.
Moreover, accurate self-assessment and willingness to continuously improve through training programs are also important factors in becoming and staying productive. This is precisely where an intelligent learning platform (ILP) proves useful.
These tools add more intelligence to traditional learning management systems. Their AI-infused capabilities enable them to swiftly meet the needs of the modern workforce both in the office and remotely. These are the learning platforms of the future as they shift the focus from a content-centered approach to a learner-centered one. On the one hand, trainers and L&D professionals get many tools to create and manage internal courses. They can automatically evaluate learners, and track their goals, and progress, which streamlines L&D departments’ work and boosts their productivity.
On the other hand, employees enjoy custom content recommendations and access to many educational resources. These contribute to increased employee productivity since each person receives the best recommendations for the skills they currently lack or want to sharpen.
Working both remotely and in the office is perfectly compatible with training via an ILP. These systems can be accessed at any time, from any device. They are perfect for the modern employee who no longer adheres to the regular office schedule and wants access to information 24/7.
Intelligent learning platform features that help hybrid employees become more productive
Now that you have a broader idea of what an ILP looks like, here are a few key features that boost hybrid employee productivity.
ILPs allow employees or trainers to set objectives such as becoming a team leader, mastering SAP, or learning more about PPC marketing campaigns.
Based on the specific goals added to a profile, the platform then recommends the most suitable content. For example, for a marketing employee who wants to learn more about PPC, the ILP can recommend internal courses, procedures, guides, or other materials created by the company’s marketing team. Additionally, the platform can fetch and provide course recommendations from various other sources such as marketing publications, LinkedIn Learning, etc.
This approach is the perfect match for the hybrid employee who is not always able to attend in-person coaching or training sessions and discuss their goals and progress with instructors or team leaders. Speaking of which, these people will have direct access to employees’ goals in the ILP. Hence, they can support them in their efforts to upskill themselves and boost their productivity.
In an ILP, employees not only get a wealth of educational resources, but they also enjoy direct feedback and help from their colleagues and managers. For instance, if an employee has a hard time completing their learning goal, the platform can recommend “Contact mentor” to quickly contact a knowledgeable peer who can help them. This feature is important because most of the time, employees don’t even know who to turn to when they hit a roadblock in their training, let alone who could be more suitable to answer their questions.
Hence, employees can act as mentors for one another. ILPs allow you to create groups based on common goals or interests. These groups enable direct communication, so colleagues can answer each time a person asks a question. They can communicate in public chats or take the conversation in private.
Moreover, those who are proactive in helping other team members reach their goals can get awards or points that will help them achieve their own professional goals and grow faster while completing their training programs.
All in all, mentorship opportunities not only facilitate learning in a hybrid or remote team that mainly communicates virtually. They also foster collaboration among employees, which enhances team and individual productivity. Other community features that contribute to social learning that are present in ILPs include forums, Q&As, communities, and communication tools.
More so, communities can be as restrictive or inclusive as organizations want to. They can include a certain network of professionals from the same departments, the entire company, all the members of a country’s branches, or even the entire organization.
Personalized recommendations are among the key features that make ILPs ideal for the hybrid employee who wants quick access to valuable information. These recommendations are tailored according to each user’s interests, goals, and needs. They work similarly to an e-commerce platform that provides product recommendations based on previous search and purchase habits.
If a learner completes the organization’s in-house compliance training, the platform can recommend additional materials on this topic, such as guides or compliance-related procedures. Moreover, the ILP will fetch and provide external content recommendations as well. For example, HR blog articles where employees can learn more about the impact of compliance training and why it’s essential to complete these training programs.
Personalized recommendations are also strongly linked to learning goals. If an employee has set for themselves the goal “progress from Level 8 to Level 7 in my organization,” the ILP can provide them with internal and external content suggestions to help them achieve their goal faster. All the while, it will track their progress and behavior to renew the recommendations accordingly.
The best part is that hybrid employees waste zero time looking for training materials. Everything is handed to them once they log into their ILP accounts:
- Internal training courses;
- Additional internal training resources such as guides, procedures, etc.;
- News feeds related to their interests;
- Online courses from marketplaces such as Udemy;
- Videos and tutorials;
- Blogs and articles from magazines in their industry.
By simply accessing the content they want, from any device, when they find it suitable, hybrid employees enjoy a great deal of flexibility. In return, organizations get more productive, upskilled, job-satisfied employees. Plus, they can achieve all these at lower costs compared to the expenses incurred for face-to-face training.
Increased hybrid employee productivity and other benefits for organizations implementing intelligent learning platforms
Organizations of all sizes can easily implement an ILP. With this solution, both on-site and remote employees can engage in their training regardless of their location.
ILPs can successfully replace costly, hard-to-organize, on-site training sessions. Trainers, L&D specialists, managers, and employees all get access to an intuitive user dashboard where they can:
- Access courses and personalized content recommendations;
- View data on their training progress;
- Communicate with colleagues via groups;
- Set, track, and accomplish career goals;
- Access career mentorship opportunities.
All these features ensure a lean training process both for employers and their trainers. The bottom line is increased productivity across the organization.
Helping hybrid employees become more productive
The hybrid work model is not going anywhere. Employees want and need more flexibility than ever before. Working both from home and in the office allows them to find the best moments and approaches for handling team and individual tasks. All the while, productivity remains one of the biggest concerns of organizations that adopt a hybrid work model. To make sure employees remain productive in the hybrid work environment, companies can rely on an ILP to deliver the best training experience. These AI-infused systems increase hybrid employee productivity by allowing them to access training, career growth, and communication features wherever they are.