Working from home is more now than it was 10 years ago. Remote jobs were on the rise before the COVID-19 pandemic. When communities had to find ways to continue functioning while social distancing, work from home positions were an obvious solution.
Now, many companies have built the infrastructure to support remote employees or expanded existing systems to accommodate more of them. And with the constant looming threat of virus variants and an awareness of how world events can impact business, many have decided to run with the concept.
According to the Pew Research Center, around 20% of employed adults said that they did all or most of their work from home before the pandemic. That statistic has grown to 71% with 54% stating that they would like to continue working from home even if there is no motivating threat requiring them to do so.
Many workers point to remote positions as a personal preference, and a big selling point when hunting for a job.
The University of Chicago’s Becker Friedman Institute for Economics conducted a survey of 10,000 employees. Respondents stated that they felt they were more productive at home compared to the traditional office. Around 30% felt more engaged in their jobs. An Owl Labs survey found that 55% of employed adults said they put in more hours when working remotely.
Businesses that want to increase retention rates should be aware that 32% of those surveyed said that they would quit their job if they could no longer work remotely.
Companies that want to be resilient and attract top talent should pay attention to the work-from-home part of their business. The right technology is needed to support remote workers. The following list includes many of the features that you should look for in a work-from-home friendly LMS.
Mobile-First Design for Optimum Access
You may have heard how important a responsive design is for an LMS. This approach was appealing because it would adapt to the size of the screen, making it possible to learn on tablets, smartphones, and laptops. Now more businesses are choosing mobile-first over responsive.
They sound the same, but there is a difference. A responsive design may not be mobile-first, however, mobile-first sites are always responsive. The latter responds to the size of the device, changing when it needs to for optimum performance.
Mobile-first is more proactive. It is designed with the smallest screen size in mind. That means it pays closer attention to the interface on these devices. Anything clickable will be designed so it is larger and easier to use. It also consolidates content without making it harder to read.
Mobile-first designs have more fine tuning, resulting in a better experience for learners on smaller devices.
Support for Live Training Sessions
While self-paced courses are appealing, you should have the option of also hosting live training sessions. An LMS that supports both is ideal for most businesses.
Some systems have their own live training tools, with ways to show video feeds and audio. Many also include class chat options with features like raising a virtual hand to ask a question. Others may connect to a third-party video service. Either option can work, depending on your needs and expectations.
Space for Discussion and Idea Sharing
One of the biggest obstacles related to working from home is the isolation. You can’t have in-person meetings, and some people worry about losing the business perks that come with human interaction.
Your LMS should have online spaces for discussion and idea sharing. These can come in the form of forums, live chats, or groups. Some even offer virtual whiteboards that work just like the real thing. Make sure your team can communicate and gather online to talk about new developments, challenges, or ideas just like they used to do in office meeting rooms.
Strong Analytics That Do the Heavy Lifting
Your LMS needs to have strong analytics features that gather data and present it in an easy-to-read format. Most learning management systems offer reporting tools and can generate charts and graphs to help you decipher the results faster.
You can usually set up a reporting schedule that tells the LMS to generate reports at a specified time and send them to the people who need them. This eliminates a lot of back-end work for system admins or anyone who handles data in your organization. Analytics will help you see how your work-from-home team is performing.
System for Sending and Receiving Feedback
Feedback is necessary to ensure that your training courses are working well. That should go two ways. Trainers should be able to provide feedback to trainees, but the trainees should also be able to share their experiences and opinions.
The people working through your training courses will be able to tell you how effective they are. Learners can help you identify weak points and know your strengths. This information is important to continue to improve your training program.
User-Friendly Assessment Process
Assessments are essential to checking progress. Make sure your LMS includes an assessment engine. Many can incorporate video, images, or audio files into quizzes and tests.
Today’s LMSs support a variety of question types including multiple choice, fill in the gap, true and false, short answer, and ordering. The system you choose should offer the right combination for your purposes and should automatically compile the results for you. You should be able to see results for a single trainee or look at data for a course or training class.
Session Record and Sharing Options
If your trainers or subject matter experts are going to put in the time to conduct live classes, you should make the most of it by recording them. Many LMSs include easy record features as part of their live online class features. This usually includes recording both the screen and audio.
The file can be saved as a quick reference for trainees or to give to anyone who missed some or all of a session. You can also use recordings as material for future online training classes. Some businesses monetize this content by selling it to other companies or individuals, depending on who might be interested in the subject.
As a bonus, many LMSs also connect to third-party online training marketplaces so you can list content for sale with a few clicks.
Self-Serve Resources for Support
Most businesses provide employees with a way to communicate without being in the same physical space. However, there may be times when someone isn’t available, and a coworker may need answers. They can’t wander down the hall to see if the person they need to speak to is nearby. In these situations, having self-serve resources is important.
Self-serve support includes things like wikis, knowledgebases, how-to documents, and tutorial videos. These are things that employees can access from anywhere that provides information or guide them through a task. They should be well-organized and easily searchable so that workers can jump right to the topic or task they need.
Many LMS platforms include a built-in resource library. This can serve as a central repository for everything your team needs. It can include instructional resources as well as HR documents. The more self-sufficient your employees are, the more efficient they will be at their jobs, both at home and at the office.
If you are searching for an LMS for your remote employees, we can help. Visit LMS.org to read LMS reviews or to learn more about the eLearning industry.