Blog: Improved work flexibility – it only took a pandemic!

We’re now at a crossroads of human history, on many levels. Changes in health, hygiene, our social life and working patterns, the lot… all down to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdowns we’ve faced the world over. Many key workers braved the land of lockdown whilst the rest of us either had to stay at home and work, or sadly lost work altogether. The big question on everyone’s lips right now is: ‘So, when have you got to go back to the office? Or haven’t you?!’ 

Did you know that all employees in England, Scotland and Wales who have been with an employer for at least 26 weeks have a legal right to request flexible working? A survey by HR, learning and development charity CIPD revealed that following the pandemic 63% of employers plan to introduce or expand hybrid working, combining working from the office with time at home. It also discovered that 48% of employers were planning to introduce or expand the use of flexi-time

Flexible working is taking off and it’s unlikely to go back to the old normal. That’s right, here we have one of our ‘new normals’. And it only took a pandemic! But the benefits of working from home and relaxing our core work hours are not just limited to longer lie ins, a commute of ten seconds and a heck of lot less Costa cups cluttering up your desk space. This is a most empowering time where we can do more for our physical and mental wellbeing, as well as giving us extra time for non-work commitments, like learn, exercise and spend more time with the family. 

For those who were forced to change career either due to furlough, full-blown redundancy or a sudden epiphany that their life needed a massive shake-up, online learning was – and still is – the perfect lockdown antidote. Whatever your transitioning back to work looks like, with a few online courses here, a webinar or two there, professional development training is at all our fingertips in a way it has never been before.  

So, what are online learners saying about courses like ours? Being able to learn at their own pace at home without any help makes it easy to fit in around existing commitments.

As Josephine Sweeney, a learner on our IFA Mental Health Awareness Level 1 course, explained to us, “I absolutely loved this course – was so easy to navigate and the videos along with examples make it fun, simple and enjoyable to learn!”

And we couldn’t agree more – online learning is fun, a new challenge and we’re with you and our learners every step of the way. 

With small independents and major corporates all wising up to the idea that wellbeing is just as important as – nay, dare we say it, even integral to – a sturdy work output, it’s never been easier to exercise your right to flexible working, and with it, the opportunity to grow. Professionally and personally. As we transition away from lockdown we might not ‘need’ flexible working to look after vulnerable loved ones, but it’s now proven that flexible working works, so why stop now? 

Want to learn how to understand how to tackle racism? There’s a course for that. How to coach a football team? Yep, we’ve got it. How about learning the best ways to look after your mental health? It’s yours for the taking. It doesn’t matter who you are, or what you do, eLearning is for everyone and all you need is a laptop or a smartphone. At the heart of every online course is the development of new skills and there’s a lot of flexibility in how you can achieve them. Any time, any place, which is why it’s so well-suited to the wonderful world of flexible working.  

But improved work flexibility doesn’t only favour the employees. Companies big and small are catching on to the trend that not only work flexibility but embracing online learning is a sure-fire way to support their staff in this time. That might be developing courses for their staff or sending them on existing ones. These employers recognise that increased productivity, engagement and job satisfaction in these times of uncertainty help their staff feel supported and valued. And let’s face it, if the world is turning to online learning, why not be the ones to offer it?

  • Staff retention – check
  • Upskilled workforce – check
  • Expanded brand awareness – check

Campaigns like Flex Appeal have been shouting about the importance of flexible working for years now to fight stress-related burnout and help society strive for a better life. Campaigns like this not only support mothers and fathers with young children, workers with ‘hidden’ health conditions, and people working 100-hour weeks in finance, but everyone now. We have all woken up to how easy it can be to mix things up a bit when it comes to working patterns, whether that be compressed hours, flexi-time or creative shift patterns. 

So, what are you going to do with your new flexibility?

Get in touch with us to discuss how we can help your organisation implement eLearning to your networks and staff.   

Contact our Partnerships Manager at [email protected] or book in a meeting here. 

Written by Alexia Weeks

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