Covid did not only change the way we travel the world, but it fast tracked the way in which law firms work, with less people in the office and more staff working remotely, but has IT training adapted to meet these new needs?
“Remote working” has now become a household term, with most law firms choosing a hybrid approach to the inner running of the firm.
Although not all law firms have committed to hybrid working, the way of the world has changed where there are less face-to-face meetings and people’s reluctancy to travel, this could be internal or external attendees. The use of online meeting and training software have increased during this period, and I now deliver most of my training sessions remotely, at the request of my clients.
With this in mind I thought it would be good to visit the challenges and benefits of remote training.
With hybrid working, staff may not be in the office on the same day every week and you cannot guarantee when they will be in.
This can be an administrative nightmare to try and get all the attendees in the office at the same time to attend training. With remote training, attendees can join from anywhere, all that is needed is an internet connection, a microphone, speaker, and the willingness to learn.
Less internal resources
If the training can be delivered remotely, there is no need for extra laptops to be set up in a meeting room.
In the past I have delivered training face to face where a meeting room has been booked and I have had to set up for 8 attendees. I look back now and still have flashbacks to all the wires and net gear boxes set on the table in the middle of the room.
Some people may think that is not a lot but think about it:
- 8 laptops;
- 8 monitors;
- 8 keyboards;
- 8 mice;
- 8 chargers;
- 2 Netgear boxes;
- 8 ethernet wires.
I will add the caveat that the monitors, keyboard and mice were not a necessity but a “nice to have”. When I deliver training, I like to make everyone have the best experience possible and working from a small laptop screen does not compare to a monitor. Also, the Netgear boxes were to make sure that we could stay on track and not have Wi-Fi issues slowing the session down.
Of course, some firms are lucky to provide full-time training facilities to overcome these challenges, but most don’t – ask any IT trainer about their experiences of training in an “ad hoc” training environment and they will all have their “war stories” of things gone wrong with the room setup.
Whereas, remote working attendees can sit at their workstation and use their own equipment which saves firm time and money, see the costs paragraph below.
Remote working can fit around attendees and be flexible, if people have meetings all day apart from first thing, training can be delivered first thing at 09:00. Whereas in person training does not normally start until 09:30 – 10:00 to take in account for travel and setting up time.
If a training session is online 9 times out of 10 there is the capability to record the session so if an urgent matter comes up, you can request the session to be recorded so you can attend later. As well as using the recording as a refresher. Gone are the days of asking your colleague to take notes for you!
Not only is there the flexibility of timing and recording but the number of attendees can be flexible. On most online meeting or training software there is a high, or even no, limit to the number of attendees, so you are not limited on physical seats. Although, saying that, you would not want a remote hands-on training session with a lot of people, because the support from the trainer will be watered down.
Attend wherever you want: attendees have the flexibility to join the training session wherever and however they want. So, if a group of staff still want to attend together, they can conference into the remote session.
If you have ever worked in an open plan office, I am sure you have experienced a colleague that has not mastered the term “inside voice” or using the volume button to turn their ringtone down. With remote training, attendees have the ability to attend wherever they want, meaning they can go and find the best place for them.
Earlier we looked at the internal resources needed for onsite training, with remote training none of that is needed, meaning you save money on the hardware and security updates needed. The firm’s meeting rooms will also be more available for client meetings.
Also, the time it takes for someone to set up the meeting room for training as well as the admin beforehand is all reduced, this saves you paying someone to do this.
Travel costs are also decreased, if you are a firm with multiple branches, you will more than likely have to pay expenses to the staff that need to travel away from their usual office to attend the training. But with remote training, there is no travel needed.
Do not get me wrong though, just like everything else there are cons with remote training. The biggest one being that you are not physically in a room with your attendees, so cannot see if they are listening or reading their emails. So, the outcome of training may be decreased if attendees are not interested.
This is why, when I deliver remote training, I try to use a piece of specialist training software which provides me with a virtual “classroom” environment which puts me a bit more in control of the session. With this tool, I can watch my attendees’ screens as well as seeing them on camera. This allows me to view what the attendees are concentrating on, support them with any queries they have and keep the session on track with hands on exercises, rather than having a demo-based training session. The powerful solution also lets me have one to one conversations with attendees so they can ask those questions they need to without feeling embarrassed in front of their colleagues.
In conclusion, remote training is great to support the hybrid working era and can be just as effective as face-to-face training, but only if you have the right tools. In this article we focused on the benefits of remote training, but there is also a place for onsite classroom training, especially with major implementations.
If you need any help with your firm’s IT training needs, please contact me.
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