As the professional world continues to seek center after a global pandemic, we’re seeing a gradual return to in-person work. According to Pew Research Center, as of October 2023, 46% of American workers are working from home at least half of the time. This is down from 57% in January 2022, but still significantly higher than the pre-pandemic level of 10%. With the desire for businesses to return to in-person work, in-person training isn’t far behind. The benefits are well-documented.
In-Person Work Shift: Gradual
The shift back to in-person work has been gradual, with most companies taking a phased approach. According to Gallup, many companies are requiring employees to come into the office for one or two days a week, while allowing them to work remotely on the other days. The gap in work-life balance is shrinking, too, as professionals readjust to commuter life and spending more time out of the home.
But why do businesses continue to push for in-person work? There is a prevailing sentiment that work is more consistent when done in situ. Collaboration, particularly spontaneous collaboration, happens better in the office. For other businesses, it’s the physical connection of the team that is the draw. Despite the conveniences of online collaboration platforms like Zoom, WebEx, and Teams, there is no complete substitute for the face-to-face human interaction.
In-Person Training: Now
At NVSI, we’ve not only been practitioners of in-person training for more than 25 years, but we’ve also been researchers. While it’s true that training can be carried out across various modalities, our own surveys and research show that there just is no replacement for live, in-person training. Here are some of the benefits that we’ve observed and that have been corroborated by those with whom we’ve worked:
- Higher engagement levels. In a live session, frankly, there’s no place to hide. Hop on a virtual class and with the camera off, there’s no guarantee the person on the other end is even in the room, much less paying attention. Have you ever “multitasked” while logged into a training online? Point made.
- Collaboration. Shared experiences bring teams together. When your training is in-person, those same shared experiences are augmented by shared sights, sounds, and environments. These characteristics are the connective tissue that binds teams closer.
- Overall, the shift back to in-person work is likely to continue to be a gradual process. Companies will need to carefully consider the needs of their employees and the overall business objectives when making decisions about work arrangements. (Source: McKinsey & Company)
- Return on investment. When your team sees your investment in them, they become more invested themselves. For all the reasons already outlined, your returns are increased: better collaboration, better engagement, better retention, and a more skilled, effective team.
Returning to the Office
As your business wrestles with the ongoing “return to the office,” be sure to address these other areas. While it’s true some trainings can be handled online, there truly is no substitute for in-person, instructor-led training. The benefits are far-reaching and invaluable. Whether you do it for the ROI or to help reconnect your team as it transitions back to in-office work, now is the right time to consider the right training strategy. We can help. Reach out to us today to schedule an exploratory consult. As you return to in-person work, in-person training should follow closely behind.