Deskless workers now make up 80% of the global workforce. That’s around 2.7 billion people working outside the traditional office environment and independent of conventional workplace norms. That’s also 2.7 billion employees who, compared with the traditional 9-to-5 workforce, need a new approach from companies in the way they communicate because they aren’t sitting in front of a desk throughout the day. Additionally, because these workers are not in front of a computer screen all day, they don’t have blocks of time to devote to static training, especially when it interferes with their workflow (which is how they make money).
Not only that, but we as humans have shifted how we consume content, not just in our working environment but also in our personal lives, in which we scroll through social media and watch 90-second videos before scrolling to the next. Seamless access to knowledge is the future of the gig economy, especially for deskless workers—digestible, microlearning content that can be consumed on the go.
As the world continues to shift away from a traditional office environment and toward a hybrid model or completely deskless/on-demand working models, employers must find new ways to train and optimize their workforce to foster long-term engagement, motivation, and retention.
The Challenges of a Deskless Workforce
The nature of deskless working means that operations and HR managers must contend with a workforce of widely dispersed, independent workers who often end up feeling disengaged and informationally isolated from their company’s central mission and values, putting them at higher risk of churn.
If not replaced by a comprehensive digital strategy, the lack of in-person interaction can leave deskless employees without access to assistance or support. Eighty-four percent of deskless workers say they do not get enough direct communication from their supervisors, which not only leads to a decrease in productivity but also results in employees who are not strongly connected to their organization.
Traditional onboarding and training methods are outdated, and modernizing these platforms for the deskless worker increases engagement and knowledge retention, as well as positions deskless employees to achieve workforce success, which empowers every person within your workforce to perform at his or her very best.
3 Crucial Components of Deskless Workforce Training
1. Make It Mobile
The simplest way to modernize education for employees is to opt for a mobile learning solution, which will allow employers to create and deliver content straight to their employees’ mobile devices, where they’re more likely to spend time learning.
2. Available When You Have Time
Deskless workers have made it clear that they want learning that is self-paced. Forty-one percent say that being able to complete training at their own pace would make the learning process more enjoyable, which is vital to maintaining engagement and knowledge retention.
3. Quick and Easy
Microlearning content is designed to be easy to digest and can be added into an already existing workflow. This approach to learning has proven to be far more effective in improving knowledge retention and engagement, allowing learners to consume training content in small bursts without becoming bored or overwhelmed. A microlearning environment can also create an equitable learning experience for those with neurodevelopmental disorders.
Engaging and Motivating the Deskless Worker
The way humans consume information and communicate has shifted, both personally and professionally. Attempting to onboard and train employees with a marathon in-person training session or dozens of hour-long videos to be watched is inane. By equipping your workforce with a corporate training platform that can be accessed directly on their phone using the workflow they are already logged into, you can increase engagement and provide unlimited opportunities for ongoing training. Providing employees with opportunities to not only complete required tasks but also upskill and perform better on the job can ultimately increase retention.
Jacon Waern is the founder and CEO of EduMe, a London-based mobile-first training and communication platform. In 2005, Jacob Waern began his career with European media company Modern Times Group, quickly rising to CEO of one of its larger subsidiaries where he scaled the company’s profitability. Since then, Waern has cemented his mark in the world of technology, as a co-founder of Rocket Internet – a company starting and scaling global internet and tech companies – and was the Director of Digital Ventures at international telecommunications and media company Millicom.
During his time at Millicom, the idea for EduMe was borne of his experiences observing the difficulties in training globally dispersed teams. As Founder and CEO of EduMe, Waern oversees the company’s mission to provide the deskless workforce with a modern and effective on-demand learning experience.