How & why to engage with your deskless workers

How and why to engage with your deskless workers

Deskless workers are an underserved majority

By deskless workers, we mean anyone whose job doesn’t require sitting at a desk all day—often also called frontline workers. This includes retail employees, construction workers, nurses and doctors, and everyone else at the front lines of your industry.

Deskless workers make up 80% of the workforce, yet only 22% feel their job is important to the company vision. This is a pretty extreme divide. Research indicates that it stems from lacking both communication from leadership and access to modern tools. 

In most industries, deskless workers are the vast majority of employees. They are also often the ones making the product and/or interacting with customers. Despite this, they are neglected or ignored—especially when it comes to decisions about workplace tools. 

Deskless workers make up 80% of the workforce, yet only 22% feel their job is important to the company vision.

Most companies give their corporate teams modern devices and software for communication and collaboration. However, decision makers don’t have enough insight into the needs of their deskless employees. As a result, those workers don’t get access to the tools they need, leaving them feeling undervalued. With poor access to communication, they also don’t see the bigger picture to which their work contributes.

Deskless workers are the face of your company

When a potential customer interacts with your company, they are most likely going to meet someone who falls into the deskless workers bucket. That could mean a retail worker, concierge, nurse, or any number of other positions.

In that context, the numbers above should disturb you. If there is any group that should be the most tapped into the company mission and vision—and the least disillusioned with their jobs—surely it is the people responsible for executing on positive customer experiences.

Our whitepaper on the subject offers a detailed breakdown of this situation. It’s contents include:

  • The reasons deskless workers are often neglected
  • The harmful effects this has on business and company culture
  • Advice and data to help decision makers foster employee understanding and behavior change

Whitepaper: Engage with your deskless workers
Download our whitepaper for data and strategies
to engage with your deskless workers

Deskless workers are hard to reach

On the most fundamental level, the reason deskless workers get less company communication is that they’re harder to reach. Furthermore, there isn’t always a clear line between investing in deeper outreach to deskless teams and better performance. It can be hard to justify making the investment.

People that sit at desks do most of their work from one location and one or two devices. It’s not hard to justify providing your desk employees with a computer, and possibly a mobile device. These devices are crucial for their jobs as information workers.

Deskless workers are underserved with technology

Deskless workers, on the other hand, face barriers to communication that vary by sector and job role. When your job requires mobility in an ever-changing environment, it’s not always possible for you to be reachable at any moment, especially by the old-fashioned channels that most companies rely on.

For example, even something as simple as a store manager creating and distributing the store schedule each month can become a logistical nightmare, and a headache for everyone involved.

Low engagement is costing you

If you want the best out of your deskless employees, it is crucial to enable them with better technology. Once that’s done, consistent outreach and two-way communication are the key to your success.

In short, create a path with tools that bring them into the fold. Then, make use of it, engage in dialogue, and act on the feedback you get. People who feel like they have a voice work harder at their jobs. That has always been true, among any group of people.

For further reading, download our whitepaper on deskless worker engagement, or read about how a company app can help your frontline teams.

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