One popular myth about remote work is that it leaves you far less likely to advance in your career than the traditional office job. It isn’t hard to see why this fallacy has been shared far and wide, however: professional development can be self-service only, and promotion-worthy projects can seem out of reach.

How can you move forward with skill acquisition and still feel as if you’re part of a cohesive team? As a manager, how can you foster trust and learning with a far-flung group of professionals?

When working in a mixed environment (distributed and onsite), professional dynamics are indeed tricky. A Harvard Business Review study showed that those working outside of a traditional office can feel left out or shunned by their office-bound coworkers; however, more contact via video chat or phone has proven to alleviate these issues.

But gaining new skills and staying ahead of trends doesn’t have to be a solo endeavor. Many remote leaders are interested in helping their teams grow professionally. You just might be one of them!

Keep in mind that this training can be synchronous or asynchronous with a debrief to follow; it can happen remotely or in face-to-face meetings or retreats, with an added bonus of building team rapport.

Here are some options (including fee-free, wallet-friendly, and you’ll-need-an-expense-account) for bosses and HR folks who are seeking modes of professional development to add to their workplace benefits:

Digital Content

There’s so much available online that your challenge will lie in whittling options down to the highest quality material. A variety of universities offer free MOOCS (massive open online courses), and there are a number of expert-hosted podcasts available from a variety of disciplines; for a fee, your team can check out curated content on popular training websites like General Assembly, Skillcrush, Lynda, or Udemy. (Do check to see if team-based subscriptions are available, as these tend to be more cost effective.)

Real-Time Online Training

Maybe you have some semblance of a training budget, but in order to gather your team in one spot, you’d need to add another zero (or two). In this case, consider some synchronous web-based options. For example, if you can’t attend your industry’s annual event in person, see if there is a virtual conference or other digital track that you can participate in together and discuss afterward.

Or you can have an expert present and facilitate discussions with your team via webinar and video conferencing.

In-Person Enrichment

Even the most passionate remote work evangelists endorse face-to-face meet-ups on occasion. This is an excellent option if your team is close to being co-located (think same city or state), or if you have a significant enough budget to allow for more distant national or overseas travel. Your team can attend a conference as a group or you can set up a special training session during a planned retreat.

There’s no better way to ensure that everyone has had an opportunity to experience the program and engage with teammates, management, and any instructors.

Photo Credit: bigstockphoto.com

SaveSave