You may have already given a read to our previous post on this hot topic, but we felt like this was the perfect time to reinvigorate some of the topics substantiating desk-less employees as the core part of any organization.
As you’re well aware, desk-less workers make a significant portion of the overall global workforce. Still, employers have a long way to go in empowering their desk-less employees for success. Moreover, desk-less workers are often “forgotten” by their employers who tend to be more focused on their deskbound community.
To give you some context on the importance of not leaving frontline workers behind, they make an astonishing 80% of the overall global workforce (around 2.7 billion people). Also, they’re on the front line, making and selling products we enjoy while keeping us safe and healthy. Many are now also exposed to higher risks of getting COVID-19 infected than employees in their offices and homes!
But what do organizations do to keep these employees motivated? Employers must realize the challenges that come with non-wired employees’ nature of work. Without company emails or laptops, however, eliminating these challenges can be a tall order for employers.
Most of these workers are in industries like retail and hospitality that suffer from extremely high turnover rates. Therefore, ensuring desk-less workers fast and seamless access to their managers, company policies, relevant information, and their company’s brand story is essential.
Let’s take a look at some of the challenges organizations face when it comes to them.
They are hard to reach
A recent study found that over 83% of frontline workers don’t even have a corporate email address, and 45% don’t even have access to the company intranet when at work.
Deskless workers are often at the frontline of your business. They are on the factory or shop floors, out on the field, or the road. This makes it extremely hard for employers and managers to reach their people promptly. While other workers may be using email, intranets, Slack, Microsoft Teams, and other communication channels, many desk-less employees don’t have access to such technology or it’s too complicated for them to use it.
If 74% of all employees feel like they are missing important company information, can you even imagine what that percentage is among desk-less workers?
They don’t have easy access to the right information
Search for relevant information is a problem among all employees, not just the desk-less ones. However, due to their limited access to technology, information search among frontline workers can be a nightmare.
According to a McKinsey report, employees spend 1.8 hours every day searching and gathering information. On average, that’s 9.3 hours per week! Moreover, nearly 20% spend looking for internal information or tracking down colleagues who can help with specific tasks.
Additionally, in the Definitive Guide to America’s Most Broken Processes, we can see that 49% of employees say they have trouble locating documents.
These trends surely need to change.
They are voiceless and don’t feel empowered
Because desk-less employees are hard to reach and they are not well connected, they are often voiceless and feel like their ideas are not heard. Moreover, according to the State of Deskless Workforce, over 40% of all desk-less employees “don’t feel loved” by their employers.
According to another research, only a quarter of employees feel like they can freely express themselves at work. One-quarter report that they often choose not to speak up at work, even though they have something they would like to say.
Many companies are clearly not making enough here.
A sense of belonging
Because of poor workplace communication, desk-less employees tend to feel left out, they are not aligned with the company’s strategy, and they often don’t feel like a part of the group.
Furthermore, this lack of an adequate communication channel then contributes to the third-most cited challenge: connectivity to the company culture. Since organizations are unable to consistently communicate with desk-less workers, this leads to an inability to keep these workers connected to the company’s core values.
Because they are often disconnected from the corporate and in-office workers, 80% of remote workers report that they are more likely to feel excluded than in-office employees.
You may or may not know all of the above already, but the real question here is – How are companies trying to reverse these trends?
Luckily enough, some organizations are looking to transform the “future of work” with modern employee platforms and innovative communication tools, which is great. But while many cloud platforms and SaaS solutions are designed for desk-based workers, just 1% of business software spending currently focuses on deskless technologies.
Also, we now live in a Millennials-built world, and 92% of them have a smartphone. If we feel like our desk-less community will feel uncomfortable with mobile comms, well, we’re definitely NOT on the right track. New technology is in fact inevitably transforming employees’ experience in the workplace! Hence, the mobile-first type of work needs to become now a reality, especially for desk-less workers.
To corroborate the above, as employee communication is clearly one of the biggest challenges with desk-less employees, it is not surprising to state that social and communication apps should become even more of a big investment priority for modern companies. They have great power in eliminating the biggest communication barriers in the workplace, and according to previously mentioned research, improved communication and collaboration through social technologies could raise the productivity of interaction workers by 20 to 25%.
Moreover, investing in an internal communications strategy that leverages mobile technology can play an integral role in reaching employees, making communication more interpersonal, connecting strategy with operations, employees with purpose, and helping companies thrive and grow.
Especially during the past year, we’ve learned about how important it is for a company to stick together during difficult times, leaving no one behind and considering its frontline workforce on the same level as the desk-based community. There’s no room for error anymore here: sharing and amplifying company news and updates with frontline employees too, need to become the norm, and there are no companies who can afford to leave anybody behind.
So if you’re looking to deliver personalized and relevant information to avoid information overload and eliminate productivity losses, well, you’re in the right place at the right time!