An innovative new course will support company owners managing a remote or ‘hybrid’ workforce due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Level 4 and Level 5 programmes will be delivered by Northop Business School – part of Coleg Cambria – and are aimed at directors, senior leaders and HR employees who faced the unprecedented challenge of switching operations online during lockdown.
Pre-Covid, less than 10% of the UK workforce worked remotely; now, up to a third of companies have introduced hybrid systems for all staff, meaning many will spend two to three days at home in a spare room or makeshift office.
Jane Keys, Assistant Principal for Employer Engagement at the Business School, says organisations have coped well with the unparalleled challenges of the last two years but many still struggle with overseeing individuals and teams online.
“There is no substitute for managing people face to face, but when the pandemic hit the UK that quickly changed, there was very little time to prepare for it and no precedent for what to do next,” she said.
“For some there are still obstacles to communicating virtually and trying to implement strategies, deal with everyday HR issues and measure productivity – it’s been very testing for them.
“That’s why, given demand and the feedback we’ve received from multiple industries, we decided to create a bespoke programme that will cover many of these themes, which can be tailored to different sectors.”
As well as the technical and logistical issues raised by home and hybrid working, the psychological aspect of self-isolation and motivation will also be discussed.
Other themes covered include data protection, employment law, roles and responsibilities, organisational procedures and policies, advantages and disadvantages for the individual and employer, and health and safety.
“A remote workforce needs a different style of management but to this point many people have been living it day to day and not implementing long-term policies into their business models and strategies,” said Jane.
“Future-proofing is pivotal – we have seen how important it is to have a resilient organisation – and hybrid and home working is not going to go away any time soon so embracing it and ensuring your organisation has the right legislation and training in place will form a big part of the learning.
“It’s also vital employees feel valued and trusted, given the autonomy involved.”
She added: “We are here to support people who have any questions and look forward to delivering the programme and see how it evolves over the years ahead to reflect modern working methods.”