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Work/life balance is a good thing for business

For many employers, work/life balance remains a difficult issue – not least be- cause most see it as a negative develop- ment for the future of their organisation. However, while the primary intention is to provide some relief to employees who feel overworked and overstressed, it also gives them an opportunity to work when they are at their most receptive and productive. Few people are capable of continued concentration over long

The indicators are positive – the L&D sector is championing innovation and starting to harness the true capabilities of technology to bring professional development into the modern age

periods and there have been multiple reports in recent months suggesting that shorter working days would ultimately drive greater productivity.4 Evidence from Vodafone’s recent study into the benefits of establishing flexible working initiatives5


further in supporting this theory, re- porting that 83 per cent of respondents perceived significant improvements to productivity within their organisation. In addition, 58 per cent indicated that the implementation of flexible

working policies had a positive impact upon their organisation’s reputation, thereby improving talent attraction and staff retention figures. Te most significant result, however, was that 61 per cent indicated that their company’s profits had increased as a direct result of flexible working practices. It is evident that by allowing work- ers to take themselves out of the office, employers can realise improvements to efficiency and productivity with employ- ees working in environments which they perceive to be more conducive to work.

Business is going mobile

As an extension of the work/life balance conversation, businesses are increasingly going mobile – allowing their employees to access company assets and informa- tion via remote connections. Tis brings many of the same benefits associated with flexible working, but it also enables workers to fit learning into parts of their day which would otherwise be lost, such as when commuting, waiting for appointments and so on. While this has been a positive motivator for businesses to adopt mobile learning platforms, the new driver is the increasing popularity of mobile devices with younger people. According to the latest Ofcom communications report,6

mobile device

usage has been steadily increasing for tasks traditionally reserved for desktops or laptops. Troughout Europe, internet access via smartphones and tablets has risen to more than 50 per cent. What this demonstrates to em- ployers and L&D experts alike is that workers are far more likely to utilise training platforms that are available

on mobile platforms than those that are not, providing a clear indication of how to get the most out of both the training solution and the employee.

Personalisation is the key

Another revelation is that per- sonalisation is the key to winning loyalty and establishing more effective engagement to promote better learning. PwC established that Millennial and GenZ workers want to follow their own path and they want to be recognised as individuals contributing equally to the overall success of their firm.7

Tis is no different in terms

of their career progression – they want to choose their development pathways, see their own hard-earned success and, just as importantly, be seen succeeding by their superiors.

A positive outlook

HR and L&D professionals have their work cut out for them. Tere are many challenges that lie ahead, not least the continued widening of the skills gap and, in the UK in particular, low productivity and workforce performance. However, the indicators are positive – the L&D sector is championing innovation and starting to harness the true capabilities of technology to bring professional development into the modern age. Looking ahead, learning profession-

als will need to keep the learner front of mind. User experience has become the single most important factor in promoting successful apps and technol- ogy platforms. With the HR industry consistently looking for better ways to improve engagement and motivation, it will be necessary to continue to analyse and configure solutions to ensure that learners are provided with support, encouragement and relevant rewards throughout each stage of their professional development journey.

Liam Butler is VP EMEA Sales, SumTo- tal Systems, a Skillsoft company. Find out more at

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