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COVID-19 and Workplace Training

Online training provider iHASCO conducted a survey to gain a greater insight into the biggest challenges and future issues facing businesses, surrounding COVID-19 and workplace training. Here, they talk us through the findings. 

iHASCO surveyed over 400 Health & Safety, HR and Training professionals and uncovered some of the common workplace trends and challenges, across a broad range of industries including education, care, construction and manufacturing, as well as many private sector businesses. The survey was split into three categories: Impact of COVID-19, Employee Health & Safety and Workplace Training.

Impact of COVID-19

The impact of COVID-19 has been far reaching, with a much greater number of businesses suffering a negative impact rather than a positive one, as a result of the pandemic. Longer-term planning has been impossible for organisations as a result of lockdowns and forced closures, as well as having a crippling effect on company finances. The pressures put on businesses have been catastrophic for some, and it’s become a fight for survival. 60.8% of respondents said COVID-19 has negatively affected their business in some way. Organisations have had a lot to think about, not only keeping up with the latest government announcements, but also having to adapt plans and respond to the needs of their employees and customers. For some companies (22.8%), this has resulted in an increase/drastic increase in business. However, for just under half the respondents, it has meant a decrease/drastic decrease in business. 

Around half of the respondents found staff absences a particular challenge throughout the pandemic. With the government’s COVID-secure guidelines, there were a lot of considerations for businesses in keeping their staff and customers safe. Other common challenges included staff training (38.2%) and setting up remote workers (33.5%). 

Looking ahead to a new year, staff mental health and wellbeing topped the challenges for employers for 2021 for 53.6% of the respondents. Staff health and safety (38.9%), along with budget cuts (28.3%), were also in the top three challenges for 2021.

Employee Health & Safety

It is clear that businesses are placing employee health and safety training high on the agenda for 2021, and it will remain a key focus. According to the professionals surveyed, the biggest challenges surrounding health and safety at work are supporting mental health and wellbeing and developing a safety culture. Business owners and leaders need to be mindful as to how they can achieve this, whilst juggling all their priorities as the new year progresses.

91.8% of the surveyed professionals are aware of the legal responsibilities regarding Health & Safety, HR, and Business Compliance training, and rate workplace training 9.3 out of 10 for importance.

Workplace Training

Organisations have an ongoing responsibility to keep their staff safe and create a positive working environment, in a challenging business climate. Workplace training plays an important role in this for many businesses. 67.4% use e-Learning for some or all of their training requirements and see the greatest benefits of using e-Learning as being cost-effective, more convenient and the useability for staff to complete it on any device at any time so they have some control of their own learning.

Of those that use e-Learning, 77.8% of the surveyed professionals use it for health and safety training courses, subjects which include DSE training, Fire Awareness and Food Safety for example. 45.9% use it for Business Compliance training, including GDPR and Cyber Security and 43.6% use e-Learning for HR Compliance - which includes Equality & Diversity and Mental Health and Wellbeing training courses. A further 21.5% use e-Learning for soft skills such as computer skills and leadership, along with 5.4% for other training requirements.

In the current climate, e-Learning is particularly valuable to businesses, especially as face-to-face training has not been possible. The popularity of e-Learning is set to continue and grow even further as the future workplace evolves.

What is clear, is that whatever industry you work in, employee mental health and wellbeing is a key concern.

Lottie Galvin, Studio Manager & Staff Mental Health First Aider at iHASCO, said: “Over the last few years, employers have definitely been focusing more on their employees' mental health and now it's at the top of the agenda, due to the pandemic.

“All organisations have employees struggling with poor mental health and many of those may be suffering in silence. I'm not surprised that the survey has found mental health and wellbeing to be a top concern for employers in 2021, but the focus is in the right place.”

The Care Industry and COVID-19

Care home owners and managers, as well as their employees are facing incredibly tough times, as a result of the ongoing pandemic. The pressures faced on a daily basis may have a detrimental effect on a person’s mental health. Their ability to switch off and recharge between being at work or home has become limited, in a bid to rally round and provide the ongoing care the vulnerable and elderly require and deserve. As a result, many in the sector are at breaking point, but their dedication, as well as the need to put food on the table, keeps them going. This survey has shown that employers are fully aware of the need to support their workforce with their mental health and wellbeing. The issue is how to achieve this and provide the resources and tools that can offer some support, and start the conversations around mental health. iHASCO offers an instant free trial of any of their online training courses, of which their Mental Health and Wellbeing courses may be of particular interest. 

Those who are interested further in the key trends and issues that face businesses this year, can download a free report. It has been compiled by iHASCO’s industry experts to provide an informative and insightful report, and give businesses some inspiration and focus for the year ahead.

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