July 2023
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The image is divided into two frames. On the left side, a woman works from an onsite office space with a plant and a clock. She wears office attire, uses a monitor, and her hair is down. On the right side, the same woman is informally dressed in slippers, a hoodie, and a messy hair bun. She works from a laptop in an at-home space with a china cabinet and a cat.
TD Magazine

Employees Are Learning More in the Office Than at Home

Friday, June 30, 2023

Employers need to balance flexibility with productivity.

A few minutes of training can make a world of difference in employee engagement and retention. A 2023 McKinsey Global Institute study illustrates that companies focusing on employee development are among the most profitable in their industries. In addition, a 2022 MIT Technology Review report, Customer Experience and the Future of Work, reveals that L&D is a critical employee retention tool.


Two-thirds of the 1,806 workers polled by career website Monster in 2022 said they would quit if their company required them to return to the office. Alarmingly, 40 percent said they would consider quitting if their job required them to come into the office just one day per week.

It's a tricky tightrope for companies to walk, but WFH Research suggests the best way for hybrid employees to get those critical L&D opportunities is during in-office days. It's a necessary solution, as WFH Research's study also found that although the pandemic permanently increased work-from-home arrangements, hybrid policies are more prevalent than fully remote options.

Globally recognized Academy to Innovate HR outlines the key difference between formal training and L&D: training focuses on a specific task, while L&D focuses on ongoing development. Among the 2,418 WFH Research survey participants, employees who come into the office spend about 18 minutes in formal training. Those who work from home average approximately 14 minutes of training per day. The disparity in professional L&D is similar, with employees in the office spending about 29 minutes on L&D each day while those working at home average less than 27 minutes.


Due to employee unhappiness regarding full return to the office, employers should be more willing to be flexible with work arrangements, recommends software company Kizen's 2023 study. The number of respondents dissatisfied at work due to lack of flexibility more than tripled from 9 percent in 2022 to 33 percent this year.

To combat that employee dissatisfaction, Kizen's study suggests saving synchronous tasks for hybrid employees' in-office days. Load up those "anchor" days with meetings, training, group lunches, and other activities, enabling employees to take care of asynchronous tasks such as writing or answering emails on work-from-home days.

About the Author

Bobby Lewis is a writer for ATD; [email protected].

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