How To Upskill Remote Teams And Improve Productivity

Learn how to help your remote team become more efficient so they can work less, accomplish more, and find greater fulfillment in their work.

Would you rather have a team that is efficient or hard-working?

This is not a trick question. It is a powerful look into the mindset of company leadership and how the value of time is shifting in order to retain top-performing employees.

Photo: Kellee Marlow, founder and Host of Spark | Source: Courtesy Photo
Photo: Kellee Marlow, founder and Host of Spark | Source: Courtesy Photo

The previous way of thinking was that a hard worker was the most productive and reliable employee, however, one multigenerational compilation Stanford study suggests that a worker’s output only increases until about 48 hours of weekly time worked.

Once team members hit 49 hours, their productivity begins to decline and once they hit 70 hours, they’re only producing as effectively as their peers who are working 56 hours. This study has demonstrated over several generations that time off from work is vital to a healthy productive output.

More importantly, companies who encourage time off and efficiency over hours worked experience higher employee satisfaction and productivity rates, leading to increased retention.

So how can you help your remote teams become more efficient so they can work less, accomplish more, and find greater fulfillment in their work? Invest in upskilling. Empower employees by adding or fine-tuning skills that will make a difference in their work and the opportunity to advance.


Remote working is the perfect opportunity for upskilling

With more people working from home as companies continue remote work policies, upskilling may be easier to schedule in lieu of a daily commute and in-office setting. From virtual workshops to online courses and coaching, your team can easily access skills training and certification while working from home. It also motivates employees to know they can advance wherever they are and stay focused on the difference they can make for themselves and the company.

Training can be integrated into work duties. The goal is to incentivize your team to apply their training and improve a particular aspect of their work. At the same time, the training can show employees how a new process, system, or skill can help them be more efficient and productive.


Upskill teams with online workshops, events, and bootcamps

Pre-Covid-19, it was common practice to send employees to seminars, events, and workshops to gain new skills and bring what they learned back to the workplace. Since traveling and social gatherings have been heavily restricted, many of these trainings have pivoted to virtual workshops, courses, and boot camps. Some even offer exclusive online training tailored for teams.

Programs like these are typically accessible at any time and give employees the power to upskill from wherever (and whenever it fits into their schedule). More importantly, upskilling should be incorporated into monthly milestones.


Provide support and guidance

Have you ever taken a course and felt confident in what you learned, but when it came to applying that knowledge, you were unsure where to start?

As employees are upskilling, they need supportive guidance. It is important for teams to have context as to when, where, and how best to apply what they have learned in their roles. To quickly apply upskills in the workplace, identify where they can proactively test or apply what they have learned.

It is also valuable for employees to receive meaningful feedback while applying their new skills. If you can pair employees with a mentor or adviser to guide them on how to tweak and expand on their new skills, it will rapidly benefit them and the company.

Lastly, consider hiring a third party, such as a coach or consultant, who can help ensure your team receives the one-on-one support they need. These types of trainers might be even more hands-on since their entire focus is to assure full immersion and avoid common mistakes.

Whether you utilize an in-house mentor or a third-party consultant to assist your team in the application of any upskill, it is key to define a clear process whereby employees can seek guidance to make the transition from learning to executing a productive experience.


Kellee Marlow is an Impact Entrepreneur, Business Strategist, and Motivational Speaker. She built her career by embracing disruption and identifying innovative concepts and technologies that challenged people to think differently. Kellee created a science-proven catalyst mindset, focused on empowerment, innovation, and inspiration that guides people to realize their goals. As the founder and host of Spark, on KXSF.FM and 8+ global online platforms, Kellee pinpoints and shares the underlying value of the expertise from change-makers in psychology, wellness, business, and innovation with her audience. Kellee’s expertise has been published in media outlets including MSN.com, Yahoo Lifestyle, Redbook, and more. 


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