When it comes to training new members of a remote team, there are a lot of new considerations that you have to take into account. In the old days, there were fewer challenges – everybody worked in the same office, and it was easy to show someone the ropes.
But now that more and more people are working remotely, things are a bit different. You can’t just expect people to learn by osmosis anymore – you need to be more intentional about training your team and setting expectations.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss some of the challenges that come with training remote teams, as well as some of the new tools and strategies that you can use to make things easier.
A change in the working paradigm
Remote working is quickly becoming the new norm. A study by Global Workplace Analytics shows that, in the US alone, the number of people working from home has increased by 115% since 2005. And it’s not just because of the pandemic – even before Covid-19 hit, more and more companies were starting to allow (or even encourage) their employees to work from home.
There are plenty of advantages to this trend. For one, it allows people to avoid the stresses of commuting. It also gives employees more flexibility in terms of their work-life balance. And, perhaps most importantly, it can lead to increased productivity levels.
However, despite these clear benefits, there are some challenges that come with this move to increased levels of home working, with effective training being a common pain point.
What are the primary challenges to training remote teams?
The training of remote teams comes with its own specific set of challenges, including:
Lack of personal interaction
One of the primary challenges to training remote teams is the lack of face-to-face interaction. When trainers and trainees are in different locations, it can be difficult to build rapport and trust. This can make it harder for trainees to engage with the material and absorb new information.
Team building difficulties
Another challenge when training remote teams is team-building. It can be difficult for team members to get to know each other and work together effectively when they’re not in the same place. This can make it difficult to complete team-based exercises or activities.
If the team isn’t using the same software or equipment, it can be difficult to ensure that everyone is on the same page. This can make it difficult to get work done together.
Additionally, remote teams are often in different time zones. This can make scheduling training sessions and meetings difficult. It can also be challenging to ensure that all team members are able to participate equally.
Poor access to information
Access to the proper training information is critical for remote teams. If team members do not have the same access to information, it can be difficult to ensure that everyone is on the same page. This can make training sessions and activities more difficult to complete successfully.
Lack of social interaction
Social interaction is an important part of team-building. Without regular social interaction, it can be difficult to build trust and relationships with team members. This can make it more difficult to complete on-the-job training effectively.
Remote teams often lack the social interaction that is present in a traditional work environment. This can make it difficult to build relationships and trust with team members.
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Ways to overcome the challenges inherent in remote training
The good news is, there are ways to overcome the challenges inherent in remote training, including:
Using Team Learning
Team learning is a technique that can be used to build relationships and trust within a team. By bringing team members together for training activities (especially within a cohort that onboards together), you can help them get to know each other better and build trust.
This can help to overcome the challenges of social isolation, as well as help team members feel more connected to each other.
Effective team learning can be done by:
- Having team members work together on an activity or project
- Assigning team members to mentor each other
- Grouping team members in the same time zone or cohort
- Encouraging team members to share their knowledge with each other
Enhancing your team-building
Another way to build trust and relationships within a remote team is through team-building activities. By taking the time to do activities together, team members can get to know each other better and learn to work together more effectively.
Some team-building activities that can be done remotely include:
- Scheduled hangouts (for work or team-bonding)
- Virtual happy hours
- Remote-friendly games
By taking the time to do pairing and team-building activities, you can help your remote team members feel more connected to each other and build trust within the team.
Choosing the right tools
As we’ve already mentioned, a lack of access to information and tech issues can be a big barrier to effective remote pairing.
That’s why it’s important to choose the right tools for your team. There are a number of great tools out there that can help with bringing remote groups together, including:
- Meeting software like Venue or Zoom
- Online whiteboards like Miro or Figjam
- Task management tools like Trello or Asana
By using the right tools, you can help your team members feel more connected and make the process more efficient.
There are a few key things to look for in any tool for remote meetings:
- Ease of use: The tool should be easy for everyone on the team to use, regardless of their technical expertise.
- Real-time collaboration: The tool should allow team members to work together in real-time, whether they’re in the same location or not.
- Flexibility: The tool should be flexible enough to accommodate different pairing configurations (e.g., any number of people working together).
- Fun: The tool should help the team feel engaged and energized!
Effective remote training
Overcoming the challenges associated with training remote teams allows organizations to tap into a larger pool of potential employees, and it helps to build a more diverse and inclusive workforce.
Importantly, it also allows workers to enjoy all of the benefits of remote working, like increased flexibility and the ability to work from wherever they choose. By working with the guidelines above, you can help to ensure that your remote team will enjoy learning from each other.