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Training Deskless Workers during a Time Crunch (Which is Always)

Daniil Klubov Founder & Ceo of spoon.tech
Audri Adhyas Paul
April 14, 2024
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Restaurant Customer Service Training

Deskless workers are the backbone of many industries, from retail and hospitality to healthcare and manufacturing. They keep operations running smoothly, often in dynamic and fast-paced environments. However, amidst their demanding schedules, where getting even bathroom breaks is difficult, finding time for training can seem like an insurmountable task. But training is undoubtedly imperative: not only for organizations to ensure skilled employees and operational efficiency, but also for employees themselves: for career progression, learning new skills, and staying motivated. So how can organizations train their deskless workers amidst such a time crunch? In this blog, we'll dig deep into the timing issues deskless workers encounter when it comes to training and provide innovative solutions to help organizations effectively train their deskless workforce while respecting their time constraints.

Understanding the Time Crunch

Deskless workers have to deal with a number of time constraints due to the nature of their roles, such as irregular schedules, unpredictable shifts, and minimal breaks. Consider the plight of a retail associate, constantly juggling customer inquiries, restocking shelves, and managing inventory, with scarcely a moment to spare for personal necessities, let alone dedicated training sessions. The reality is stark – in some organizations, warehouse workers and delivery drivers are reportedly so pressed for time that they resort to urinating in bottles to avoid losing precious minutes to restroom breaks.  

Similarly, healthcare professionals, such as nurses and paramedics, operate in a high-stakes environment where patient care takes precedence over personal needs. Their schedules fluctuate in response to ever-changing demands, leaving little room for traditional training methods that require uninterrupted time blocks. These deskless workers are the epitome of efficiency, performing their duties with unwavering dedication, yet they face a constant battle against the ticking clock.

Moreover, deskless workers often lack access to the resources and infrastructure necessary for traditional training. While office-based employees may have the luxury of dedicated training rooms or desktop computers, deskless workers must contend with limited access to technology and educational materials. For them, time is not merely a constraint but a precious commodity that must be carefully allocated to meet the demands of their roles.

To address these challenges effectively, organizations must first acknowledge the intricacies of the time crunch faced by deskless workers. It's not simply a matter of carving out a few hours in their schedule for training—it's about reimagining training paradigms to align with the realities of their work environment. Only by understanding the nuanced interplay of time constraints and job demands can organizations develop training solutions that empower deskless workers to thrive amidst perpetual time scarcity.

Timing Challenges of Traditional Training Methods

Traditional training methods, such as in-person sessions or laptop/desktop-based learning modules, pose significant challenges for deskless workers due to their unique work environments and time constraints.

In-person training sessions often disrupt workflow and productivity, requiring deskless workers to be off the floor or away from their duties for extended periods. This disruption can lead to missed opportunities for customer engagement and sales in retail settings, or compromised safety in industries like construction or transportation.

Laptop-based learning may not be practical for deskless workers who are constantly on the move or do not have access to computers during their shifts. This lack of accessibility limits the effectiveness of training and may result in disengagement and limited knowledge retention.

Traditional training methods also lack the flexibility to accommodate the unpredictable schedules and varying shifts of deskless workers. Scheduling mandatory training sessions during peak hours or busy seasons can exacerbate time constraints and increase employee resistance. Conversely, scheduling such sessions after work hours or during the weekends can disrupt much needed break times and severely hamper morale.  

Moreover, these methods often fail to address the diverse learning styles and preferences of deskless employees. While some workers may thrive in a classroom setting, others may prefer hands-on experiences or interactive learning activities that simulate real-world scenarios.  

Additionally, deskless workers may lack access to the resources and infrastructure necessary for traditional training, such as dedicated training rooms, computers, or high-speed internet connections. Without these resources, implementing traditional training methods becomes logistically challenging and may not be feasible in certain work environments.


Strategies for Effective Training

1. Microlearning: Break training materials into short, focused modules that can be completed in less than 5 minutes. Each module should cover a specific topic or skill, allowing deskless workers to learn at their own pace and fit training into their busy schedules more easily. For example, instead of a lengthy training session on customer service techniques, break it down into smaller modules covering topics like effective communication, handling difficult customers, and product knowledge. The key to making it short and interesting is using engaging formats such as short, TikTok style videos or Duolingo style games. This way, they can learn in small increments during their free time. Eventually, these small increments lead to well-trained employees.  

2. Mobile-first Learning: Utilize mobile-friendly training platforms or apps that allow deskless workers to access training content anytime, anywhere, using their smartphones or tablets. Mobile learning enables employees to learn on the go, during breaks, or even while commuting to work. Ensure that the training content is optimized for mobile devices, with responsive design and easy navigation. Consider incorporating multimedia elements such as videos, interactive quizzes, and podcasts to enhance engagement and retention.

3. Gamification: Incorporate game-like elements, such as quizzes, challenges, and leaderboards, into the training experience to make it more engaging and motivating. Deskless workers can earn points, badges, or rewards for completing training activities, fostering healthy competition and enhancing learning retention. For instance, create a leaderboard to recognize top performers or introduce tangible rewards for employees who achieve certain milestones. Additionally, design interactive simulations that allow employees to practice real-world scenarios in a risk-free environment.

4. Peer Learning: Encourage knowledge sharing and collaboration among deskless workers by creating opportunities for peer-to-peer learning. This can include group discussions, mentorship programs, or informal learning circles where employees can share insights, tips, and best practices with one another. Encourage experienced employees to serve as mentors or trainers for their peers, leveraging their expertise and insights to support the learning process. Consider implementing peer feedback mechanisms where employees can provide constructive criticism and suggestions for improvement to their colleagues.


Implementing Time-Sensitive Training Programs with spoon.tech

All of this sounds great, but implementing them sounds like a costly and time-consuming endeavor. And it will be, if you want to implement them from scratch. Luckily, there are tech-enabled solutions that will implement them for you, fully tailored to your needs.

One such solution provider is spoon.tech, which provides mobile-first gamified training solutions for deskless employees. You can divide each of your training topics into bite-sized “scoops”, each containing short TikTok style videos, interactive step-by-step guides, and various forms of fun gamified exercises. The best part? Employees can learn these “scoops” in less than 5 minutes. This caters to the time-crunch of deskless employees, as they can learn in small increments during their break times, or even during commutes. The gamified nature of the app compels employees to return to it on their own volition. But if that weren’t enough, it also comes with built-in, instant cash rewards which employees can earn by completing lessons, winning in-game contests etc. spoon.tech offers free trial that enables you to try out their solution for free.


Training deskless workers in a time crunch requires a thoughtful and strategic approach that prioritizes efficiency, flexibility, and accessibility. By adopting innovative training methods and leveraging technology, organizations can empower their deskless workforce to develop new skills and knowledge without compromising productivity or work-life balance. As the workplace continues to evolve, it's essential for organizations to adapt and evolve their training practices to meet the needs of their deskless employees and ensure their continued success.

If you found that blog helpful and wish to implement training solutions catered to your time-crunched deskless workers, get in touch with us by filling out this contact form. You can also e-mail us at hello@spoon.tech or give us a call at +43 670 655 56 82.

Daniil Klubov Founder & Ceo of spoon.tech
Audri Adhyas Paul

Hi, I'm Audri, a Master's student in Digital Economy at Vienna University of Economics and Business, and an enthusiast of the food and hospitality sector. Digital transformation in the hospitality sector is an intersection of my practice and passion, and I love to write on that topic. Let's connect on LinkedIn to chat more!

Audri Adhyas Paul

Hi, I'm Audri, a Master's student in Digital Economy at Vienna University of Economics and Business, and an enthusiast of the food and hospitality sector. Digital transformation in the hospitality sector is an intersection of my practice and passion, and I love to write on that topic. Let's connect on LinkedIn to chat more!

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