A staggering 2.7 billion workers in the world are “deskless.” Despite accounting for 80% of the global workforce, deskless workers often do not get much attention and are mostly disregarded. But with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the entire world was hit with a dose of reality. When lockdowns were imposed and people were stuck in their homes, businesses were forced to temporarily or permanently shut down, and everything was put at a standstill, the deskless workers kept society running. They worked at the frontlines and risked their health to ensure that everything was being provided, being taken care of, and running smoothly. In short, deskless workers are the lifeblood of our economy.
What is a deskless worker?
For most people, the term “traditional worker” brings to mind someone who works 9 to 5, sits at a desk, and punches a time clock. However, in modern times, this concept of the “traditional worker” is out of date. To adapt to the ever-changing world we live in, traditional jobs have taken on new forms, which include the many roles that deskless workers occupy in our society.
Deskless workers are those people whose work involves no desk or workspace. They are individuals who, as the name implies, are not confined to a desk. They work outside the typical office environment of cubicles, and encompass and come from a variety of industries and professions. They work in hotels and restaurants, retail centers and malls, agriculture and manufacturing, construction and transportation, and many other industries. They are your sales clerks, janitors, room attendants, and baggers. They wait tables, check in guests, drive trucks, deliver packages, and clean offices and spaces. They are essential workers who frequently have the most difficult and demanding jobs.
Each deskless worker has unique needs and motivations for the work they do. And it’s the job of their managers and employers to assess and meet these requirements to overcome the current challenges that they face.
What challenges do the deskless face?
Because deskless workers do not work in a typical office setting and have limited or no access to technology like a computer, many of them feel isolated. They struggle to collaborate and communicate with their peers which results in disengagement. Another issue deskless employees face is a lack of access to any readily available resources that may be necessary for them to perform their work. They feel out of the loop since they can’t easily access company news and updates.
Furthermore, it has been especially difficult to implement effective training for deskless workers. The traditional training model, which typically requires a significant amount of time from employees, does not work well with deskless workers who have a lot on their plates and are constantly on the go. Finding the best training model should be a top priority for any business.
When you invest in your employees and give them opportunities to learn, they will respond by giving their best efforts to the company. This will ultimately lead to lower turnover rates, higher productivity, and improved employee morale.
Read to learn more about the 6 Most Common Deskless Worker Challenges.
Why should you invest in deskless training?
Deskless workers are the face of your company. They are brand ambassadors who are expected to represent your brand and know every detail about your products and services. They are responsible for the day-to-day operations of your company and have a direct impact on the bottom line.
By encouraging staff members to improve, you can build your business on a stable foundation that lasts. Here are 3 reasons why you should invest in deskless training:
1. Deskless workers are constantly on the move.
Deskless workers are typically on the go, whether that’s in a warehouse, restaurant, or office. They are often working remotely or in areas where there is no desk or workstation available. In these situations, a mobile solution is the only way for them to access the training they need.
2. Frontline workers can’t afford to waste time.
Frontline employees don’t have the luxury of sitting still and watching hours-long presentations — they need to be doing their jobs as well as learning how to do them better. This means that online training has to be quick, easy, and engaging enough so that it doesn’t cause any delays in productivity while they’re learning new skills.
3. Connecting mobile workers to management is difficult.
When employees are out of sight, it can be hard for management to stay connected with them and know what’s going on at all times. Deskless workers may not always be able to get into an office environment with fast internet speeds or reliable Wi-Fi signals, which makes it difficult for them to connect with managers through traditional communication tools like email and phone calls.
The Key Elements for Effective Deskless Workforce Training
Training is a critical component of employee success in deskless workforces. A lack of training can result in lower productivity, higher turnover, and lower employee satisfaction.
Here are five components that any deskless workforce training strategy should incorporate:
1. Provide Accessible Training
Wherever your employees are situated, training should always be available. Deskless workers ought to have access to their training materials from any device, even if they are traveling or working remotely. Training in this manner can be in the form of a mobile learning app or a website with videos, articles, or other forms of content. Thus, making training more accessible can boost completion rates and benefit both your organization and the end user.
2. Make Training Fun & Engaging
Training content that’s engaging and enjoyable can help employees retain information better than traditional methods like reading from a manual or watching an instructional video. Training that incorporates gamification techniques or the use of game elements in non-game contexts, can also make learning more fun for employees and encourage them to complete tasks quickly so they can move on to the next challenge in their course.
Gamification uses are numerous. When an employee, for example, completes one task in the game, they are rewarded with points. These points accumulate and qualify the employee for awards or special recognition. This training system not only makes learning more enjoyable for employees but also helps them apply what they’ve learned on the job for greater results.
3. Utilize Short & Bite-Sized Training
Given that deskless workers are always on the go and are situated in fast-paced environments, any training material that slows them down or diverts their attention is unlikely to be finished. Instead of requiring employees to spend hours at a time completing tedious training modules that overwhelm them to become proficient at their jobs, consider breaking them up into smaller and more digestible modules that allow them to learn new skills gradually over time rather than all at once. You’ll find that employees who have completed bite-sized training tend to learn new skills faster, retain knowledge longer, and are more performant at their jobs.
Read to learn more about the Difference Between E-Learning and M-Learning.
4. Create Self-Paced Training
Employees should be able to learn at their own pace and on their schedule. This will allow them to take pauses as needed, or even stop a session and resume later in the day or week. It also minimizes the likelihood of burnout for people with limited time during the day. Self-paced training gives deskless professionals the flexibility to complete their training whenever and wherever they want. Employees benefit from self-paced training since it requires less time from them, allowing them to fit learning into their hectic schedules while also meeting deadlines and increasing productivity.
5. Employ a Mobile Training Solution for Deskless Workers
A mobile training platform can improve the efficiency of training deskless workers by streamlining and digitizing content and training resources. Because they eliminate the travel expenditures involved with traditional face-to-face training sessions at company facilities, these solutions are frequently more cost-effective. Furthermore, mobile solutions give real-time feedback, allowing managers to assess which areas employees need to improve upon.
Explore how you can upskill your entire team from their smartphones with Albert’s Mobile Training solutions.
Employee Training Topics That Can Add Value to Your Workforce
Deskless training technologies provide faster, more efficient, and less expensive training sessions. It can be used to apply a range of training topics, such as:
- Company Culture – Every company has its own unique culture. Employees need to understand what makes the company tick, what kind of values it stands for, and how those values affect everything from their behavior at work to the way they treat customers.
- Company Policies – While some policies are universal across most companies (i.e., dress code), others vary from company to company. These policies may include vacation time, sick days, bonuses, etc., but all can be tailored according to the specific needs of an organization. Managers need to be aware of these policies so they can address issues such as employee absences or tardiness before they become bigger problems down the road.
- Products/Services Training – Employees should be trained on all of the products or services provided by their company so that they can answer questions from customers with confidence and authority. Asking questions during product demonstrations can help you identify areas where additional training may be needed — such as when an employee doesn’t know how long a product warranty lasts or how many years are covered under it.
- Organizational Alignment – For your employees to be engaged and productive, they need to understand how their work fits into the bigger picture. By creating a clear organizational structure that shows how each department relates to one another, you can help your employees understand their role within the company. This will also help them better understand what they need to do to achieve success.
- Employee Prevention – Employee prevention is a topic that should be covered during orientation but also revisited periodically throughout an employee’s tenure at your company. This includes things like sexual harassment prevention training, diversity and inclusion training, conflict resolution training, and more general topics like workplace safety or ethics policies.
- Onboarding – For new employees, the first few days on the job are crucial since they are learning the ropes from their colleagues and adjusting to the workplace culture. When it comes time for new employees to start working full-time, onboarding programs can help them get up to speed quickly so they can get started right away.
Ultimately, to create the best deskless worker training, you should first identify your workers’ training needs and then choose a program that meets those needs. Make sure that the training is engaging, easy to use, and relatable to your employees so they can see just how much they will benefit from this type of work style. If you do all that and more, you’ll be well on your way to creating a deskless office program that will help your business grow.
There are no hard and fast rules to creating effective deskless worker training, but just by following these key guidelines, you can get a leg up on your competition, who may be less likely to spend the money necessary to train their employees. These tips will help any business save money in the long run while ensuring that they’re still getting the highest quality work completed by their employees.