Remote working is here to stay. A survey by Omdia shows that 48% of the workforce will continue to work remotely or in a hybrid fashion – and that more mobile-centric options are the future of work. How does a remote solution affect the widening skills gap?

Benefits and challenges of remote working

The benefits of remote working include:

  • Flexibility
  • Improved work life balance
  • Increased motivation
  • Increased productivity

But these new ways of working also bring additional challenges. From an organisational perspective, one of the biggest issues is how to upskill and coach individuals who are working from home.

Traditionally, coaching employees has been a very hands-on experience. Managers or supervisors would sit with a colleague, perhaps go through their workload or development plan, and guide them towards changing their style or approach to improve results.

In the real world, of course, it was always easy for managers to dip in and out over a period of time, gradually allowing the individual ever more autonomy in an almost imperceptible way. This gradual releasing of the stabilisers is far more difficult to achieve when working remotely.

Regular contact with an individual who is working from home – regardless of how well-intentioned it might be – can feel stifling. If that’s allowed to happen, work life balance, motivation and productivity suffer.

The widening skills gap

The importance of training and upskilling staff in the UK has never been more clearly demonstrated than it is right now. Research by the Industrial Strategy Council predicts 20% of the UK labour market (7 million people) will be under-skilled by 2030 unless action is taken now.

One of the biggest problems facing UK companies right now, the research suggests, is the issue of managers and supervisors having the necessary skills to upskill staff while working remotely. Indeed, one member of the council, Juergen Maier, has said the UK needs “a radical and urgent rethink on how we provide lifelong learning for the UK workforce.”


While the term ‘radical thinking’ brings forth images of vast think tanks, conferences and technical innovations, sometimes it’s far simpler than all that.

Of course, those things have their place in supporting the evolution of the UK workforce. But they are invariably slow-moving and expensive. If businesses are to close the skills gap and prevent a situation in which almost a quarter of the workforce is under-skilled in just over 6 years time, they cannot sit and wait for others to find high-level solutions.

The time to act is now. Lifelong learning is something we all need to buy into. Sitting back and relaxing is for after we’ve left the workforce. Regardless of their status or position within an organisation, nobody can ever say they know it all. But most workplaces are full of people who have skills in training others. People who understand how to get to the heart of a problem and zero in on what can be done to solve it.

These are the most important skills required to help others learn and develop personally and professionally. The trick, therefore, for organisations in the UK is to find a way for those people to use their skills to deliver high quality training remotely without it coming across as overbearing on the trainee.

How to upskill remote and hybrid staff

Post-Covid, post-Brexit and with a General Election less than 12 months away, the UK is in something of a state of flux. Undoubtedly, things will settle down in the years to come. And those businesses that prepare now will be in the best position to thrive when that happens.

Skills Coaches at Richmond are experts in supporting businesses to upskill team members remotely, providing that same softly approach that we’re also familiar with in the physical workspace.

Upskilling staff builds capacity, resilience and performance, boosting retention rates and attracting new team members who are drawn to a company that offers them the support and development opportunities they want and deserve.

So, the good news is that you don’t need to set up think tanks or conferences. We’ve done that for you. With Richmond, your employees, your training needs and the future of your business are in safe hands.

To talk to us about bespoke training packages to address your business needs, call today on 01244 344322 or enquire online.

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