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The Road to 2021: Changes and Challenges

Dr. Jim Collins, President/CEO, Collins LearningDr. Jim Collins, President/CEO, Collins Learning
Office or Home?

We have seen companies quickly transform their work model from working in offices to working at home. Many believe this will persist into 2021 and perhaps beyond. Many employers will offer a hybrid solution for employees to work completely remotely, voluntarily return to the workplace partially or fully, and phase employees into the office at certain capacities. An important trend for 2021 may be a mandatory vaccination to re-enter the workplace.

There are many challenges associated with these changes including maintaining a strong culture, creating a sense of connectedness, teamwork and collaboration. It’s easier to maintain these when employees work in-person.

Travel Less; Digitally Communicate More

Business travel won’t come to a complete stop in 2021, but it will continue to remain a fraction of what it once was. As a result, companies can save a lot of money associated with flights, hotels, meals and Uber. On the downside, professionals will miss the person-to-person interaction that is required to gain trust and build and maintain relationships.

Continue the Digital Transformation

Many companies were already going through important changes including digital transformation prior to the pandemic. Those that did, probably weathered the storm better than companies that were not engaged in digital transformation. Companies will only continue to develop better systems, operations and methods of communication digitally. There is one word of caution – be careful to not over-automate to the point that human presence and personal touch are lost to the customer.
Tie grass roots service to advanced technology.

Physical Work Space Will Continue to Change

Offices and other places of employment will be occupied by fewer employees. The space may have to be reimagined or repurposed. In order for employees to come back to work, the space will need to be made safe as possible so that employees feel comfortable and safe. Some restrictions may be necessary, like minimum employees in conference rooms and breakrooms. These changes may leave employees feeling out-of-place or in a new, strange environment.

Retraining, Reskilling and Upskilling Employees

There will undoubtedly be a strong focus to “build the workforce of the future” and to achieve this goal, companies will have to invest in retraining, reskilling, and upskilling their staff. Some employees will need to be retrained in their current position, but learn how to efficiently work from their homes. Employees who will be “reskilled” include those who show an ability to perform at higher levels and at different tasks. And those who receive upskilling training learn new skills in their current roles.

Of course, there will be many challenges in training employees to work in different environments, learn new technology and tasks and become more efficient in their current roles. Remote training may be necessary and challenging. The “human touch” in training may become lost.

Our Companies. Prepared and Moving Forward.

At Collins Learning and CEU Academy, we have positioned ourselves to work from home during the beginning of the pandemic. Then, a couple months later, we all met in our spacious office. Each employee has his or her own office. Instead of maintaining a rigorous travel schedule, I now meet with people from all over the country behind my webcam.

Our IT Team thrives on making constant changes to our online learning management system. They listen to our clients and develop new features that make their work easier concerning compliance training and continuing education in senior care. Our system will continue to evolve into 2021 and far beyond to better serve our valued clients.

We also continually train, retrain, learn new skills and find ways to improve our staff and our service. We hope for the best for all companies through 2021 and beyond.
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