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24 January 2024

Remote Working and Language Learning Opportunities

online language classes

The COVID-19 pandemic normalised the concept of ‘lockdown’, acclimatising us to near-revolutionary changes in how we live and work. Today, many of those changes have stayed with us, leading to a working world with greater flexibility and less structured working patterns.

With the marvels of modern technology, it quickly became clear how manageable remote working could be. In fact, it became clear that remote working presented employers with new opportunities that could benefit businesses as much as employees, as well as offer employees the chance to practise a new language.

Here, we evaluate the benefits of remote working now the pandemic is in the rear-view mirror – and consider how language learning might create future business prospects.

Remote Working 2.0

Flexible working arrangements have been around, at least conceptually, for some time, and many organisations already allowed for a degree of flexibility before the pandemic thanks to portable technologies such as laptops, tablets and smartphones. The pandemic showed us that the trust and freedom granted to employees to make their lives easier on an occasional basis (such as to fit around a doctor’s appointment at an awkward time of day) could be extended to create a new way of working.

In many ways, the pandemic just pressed the fast-forward button towards ultra-flexible remote working, even if many employers are now keen to return to a more balanced way of working with more time in the office. With the world largely back to normal, it has become clear that employees are still keen to spend at least a proportion of their work time at home.

As employers struggled to balance employee needs with business demands, they began to see that they could downsize office space and yet continue to thrive as a business by embracing hybrid patterns of working (essentially, embracing a combination of in-office time and remote working in some form). They began to investigate ways to appeal to future employees while creating the in-person contact time they felt was required. Co-working spaces, which at first were hit hard by the pandemic, became a revitalised new place in which to connect in person and remove the need for companies to hold on to large, half-empty offices.

Work Whenever, Wherever

Office-based workers were able to adapt to the pandemic quite easily – they simply set up their laptop (using a decent wi-fi connection), kept their smartphone to hand and started their day. Dining tables, kitchen tables and even outdoor spaces were adapted successfully into workspaces all over the world.

Daily routines also changed, meaning people often worked when it best suited them, while also finding better ways to fit in a decent break to eat lunch, go for a walk or chat to a family member. All this raised the question: if you can work from home and accommodate your ideal daily routine, surely you can optimise your work environment anywhere with internet connectivity, whether at home or elsewhere?

The answer led to the rise of the ‘digital nomad’ – someone who continues to work while moving from location to location, and this could mean while travelling country to country. Bringing in more mobile ways of working has the potential to be a win-win for employees and employers as staff get to travel and businesses can tap into international opportunities. And co-working spaces can be found all around the world!

Remote Working and Language Learning

If you are self-employed or your small business has decided to close its office, you might already have thought that you could be based anywhere you like and be looking at ways to make this work for you. If your laptop can operate as a portable office that allows you to work from home, you could in theory work wherever suits your personal or professional interests.

However, being a digital nomad need not only be the domain of small business enterprises or the self-employed. International travel is now back in full swing, so entrepreneurial businesses looking to expand into new territories can utilise the flexible working patterns of enthusiastic employees and find a way to make an overseas adventure mutually advantageous.

Not understanding the language in a new destination may be a significant barrier, but it is also an opportunity to start learning a new language! Developing new language skills gives employees a chance to improve their skillset and direct your business towards wider global opportunities.

Whether you are looking for a short-term change of scene or considering a longer-term move, a new remote working location could provide your employees and your organisation with the ideal opportunity to develop new language skills.

 

Language learning is both an enjoyable hobby and a valuable skill that can be maximised for personal and professional gain – and the world is now open for in-person travel and business once again. If you are interested in finding out more about how we can support you or your organisation with language training, please do get in touch.

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