Stephen Smith discusses how to utilise learning technology to communicate return to work policy and training more effectively.
The effects of coronavirus (COVID-19) on our lives, work and society have been immense, and unlike anything we’ve seen before. This is no truer than when we reflect on the state of the economy and the many business sectors that had to stop to comply with the strict lockdown measures implemented at the end of March 2020.
This month started positively, with the UK government easing lockdown measures as the ‘R’ rate of the virus has now fallen to a level that allows those in sectors such as construction, outdoor work, warehouses, offices and contact centres to return to work.
Businesses and employers now need to consider what safety measures and protocols need to be in place, to allow employees to return to work safely.
The government has published return to work guidance for businesses and employers. This includes guidance on maintaining social distancing, where possible – and implementing physical processes such as increased cleaning regimes to help to prevent the spread of infection.
We have developed a return to work strategy – the Prepare, Inform, Prevent and Recover (PIPR) approach. Each stage of this approach is designed to help businesses and employers return their staff to work safely and effectively.
One of the stages in this approach is ‘Inform’, because once businesses have developed their workplace return to work program – they will then need to ensure it can be successfully communicated to employees, some of whom may be required to continue working from home for the time being.
E-learning is a tool that can help organisations achieve this.
Return to work e-learning
Even though lockdown measures are easing, social distancing must remain in place where possible – and this will make face-to-face meetings, training and large gatherings in workplaces challenging.
To prevent the need for more complications, organisations should consider using e-learning courses and programs to deliver information and training related to new workplace measures implemented as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19).
E-learning has many advantages to traditional training methods and allows organisations to deliver training while maintaining social distancing.
1. Deliver training quickly
Businesses preparing to return employees to workplaces will likely need to distribute training to their employees quickly. In addition to this, they may also be required to ensure employees can complete training in various locations, whether this is at home or at offices located around the country or world.
With e-learning, there is no need to organise face-to-face training, which requires office space or a classroom, a trainer, and employees to be together – something which is unlikely to be possible while maintaining social distancing.
E-learning can be sent directly to employees via email or other digital channels, saving both time and money. In addition to this, employers can create flexible e-learning programs that are customised to different employee job roles or locations.
2. Consistent training and messaging
The protocols and measures organisations will need to implement to maintain social distancing and hygiene to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) will likely be completely new for many employees.
E-learning courses feature differentiated learning – through images, text, video, testing and risk assessment – all of which help to make courses engaging and immersive. This not only makes training more enjoyable but also helps to ensure content can be understood by all users.
3. Recorded training
E-learning provides evidence of training that can be used for future compliance. This not only proves that learning has taken place but can also help to identify risks within a workforce so they can be mitigated.
Our Healthy Transitional Working platform requires no LMS integration and can be managed as a standalone system. Businesses and employers can use the program to deliver e-learning courses and record when they are completed.
4. Personalised learning
E-learning is easier to customise than traditional classroom-based learning. As they are digital, e-learning courses can be edited and personalised. They can be branded and contain specific messaging, a feature that is suited to the evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) measures in place. E-learning courses use differentiated learning techniques, which help to deliver personalised safety messages in a format that each user can understand.
With e-learning, organisations can also easily create programs for different groups of employees– whether that be employees returning to work and those who continue to work remotely – or to different groups of employees around the world, where workplace safety measures may be different.
5. Communication plan
Some employees may likely be feeling anxious about returning to work and the easing of lockdown measures. Businesses and employers need to ensure all communication and training is clear, to prevent failures in workplace measures and employees losing trust in leadership and protocols.
E-learning can help businesses and employers in sharing return to work policies, procedures and protocols clearly and concisely. E-learning programs such as Healthy Transitional Working can be used to share complex health and safety messages with all employees directly, and ensures messages are being delivered consistently.
The Healthy Transitional Working Program
We have developed the Healthy Transitional Working program, to help our clients deliver the right safety messages to staff easily. This e-learning program has been designed for temporary home workers and those returning to work to help businesses and employers deliver learning and safety communication effectively.
This solution is flexible and quick-to-set-up and will help organisations solve the challenges of transitioning workers from furlough or temporary remote working. The e-learning combines return to work and home working courses and includes content related to working from home on dining room tables or other home furniture to informing staff of who should return to work, and how this will be achieved safely.