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5 recommended training programs for returning to the office

5 recommended training programs for returning to the office

As employees return to the office, your building may be ready -- but are your people prepared to be together in-person again? Some 90% of companies want their workers to return to the office this year, Forbes reports. But nearly three-quarters (73%) say they are meeting challenges along the way, according to a survey by The Conference Board. Bringing people back to the office is not as simple as it sounds. With the return-to-work once again upending the workplace dynamic, Emory courses and certificates can help employees learn (or re-learn!) key skills that might have gone stale during the pandemic. 

“A lot of people are dealing with having to get used to working in close proximity with others,” said Jeffery Alejandro, senior manager at Emory Corporate Learning. “As they return to the workplace, they need to refresh that set of skills.” 

Emory recommends these valuable courses — all instructor-led, and available both in-person and online — to help support the return-to-work, including:

Dealing with Difficult People

“Everyone is going to encounter difficult people, or people they assume are being difficult,” Alejandro said. “The key thing is understanding what may be leading to that feeling that ‘they're being difficult.’ Is it their body language? Is it their tone?”

In this course, students will learn how their words and behaviors impact others’ impressions. They’ll learn problem-solving techniques to de-escalate challenging interactions, explore their own triggers, and discover how to better understand others’ emotional needs.

Emotional Intelligence

Long-term interactions via online video platforms may have eroded employees’ ability to read the room.

“They may not have seen the person they’re speaking with, and their own social skills may have diminished because of lack of in-person interaction,” Alejandro said. “Emotional intelligence is about reading social cues, facial expressions, body language. It about understanding how you're presenting yourself, and how your own actions may be sending messages that you are not intending to send.”

In this course, students will identify the strengths and limitations of their own emotional intelligence. This in turn will help to increase self-awareness and self-control, enabling them to work more effectively, even in stressful situations.

Leading Through Change

While change is a constant in the business world, the pandemic-inspired turbulence has brought to the forefront the need for effective change-management skills.

“Everyone is going through a lot of change, whether it is in their work dynamics or in organizational shifts driven by the pandemic,” Alejandro said. “Those in leadership and management positions need to know how to communicate that change, how to manage their team's emotions around that, whether that’s a business change, personal change or professional change.”

Students will learn how to conduct “change analysis,” and how to communicate consistently about change, in order to drive engagement. They’ll learn skills for managing the emotions that arise during change, and how to keep employees focused.

Managing Up: Forging a Successful Relationship with Your Supervisor

Problems with your boss? Maybe the problem is you.

“A lot of times people worry: What is my boss doing for me? What is my boss doing to make my job easier?” Alejandro said. “At the same time, these are interpersonal relationships, where you really got to take a step back and ask: How am I helping them help me? How am I helping them do their jobs? People can learn to better communicate their needs and desires around personal and professional development.”

“Managing up” is all about personal empowerment. In this course, students learn to identify and work with their supervisors’ strengths, weaknesses and working style. They discover ways to determine a supervisor's priorities, goals, and pressures, along with ways to establish expectations and eliminate preventable problems.

Resiliency Design

Organizations need to be resilient — but so do individuals. “In these turbulent times, we all have to do a little self-care to protect ourselves, to deal with the stress,” Alejandro said. “We all have to learn how to take a breath and control ourselves. It’s more than just: I'm going to go drink my coffee and smoke my cigarette. It’s learning how to decrease the conflict around yourself.”

This course will introduce individuals to the RDI (Resiliency Design Index) and help them chart their personal characteristics in order to develop strengths designed to empower themselves during tough times.

There’s a pressing need for training on interpersonal skills.

“It's been a while since we’ve had to be on our best behaviors, and we may have allowed ourselves to slip,” Alejandro said. “This is an opportunity for companies to realign their employees with the organization, to give them the skills they need to better deal with the challenges of the day.”

The Emory Continuing Education Corporate Learning team can assist in teeing up that training, as organizations look to use up their remaining training budget this fiscal year. “We can schedule courses before the end of their year, or provide proposals and contracts so that you can spend this year’s dollar on training in the upcoming year,” Alejandro said.

This article was updated on February 27, 2024.

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