The majority of the world’s population does not work at a desk. Over 80% of the global workforce (2.7 billion people worldwide), is deskless. They are what you call deskless workers who are often the first and most direct representatives of their company. We rely on deskless workers for tasks that impact directly our everyday life, health, happiness, and the well-being of ourselves and our loved ones. Yet, they are too often forgotten and receive limited technological support. In this article, we’ll explore some of the most common deskless worker challenges and how to solve them.
Who are the deskless workers?
Deskless workers are employees who do not work in a traditional office. They do not have regular access to computers or email and have limited contact with the leadership. These types of jobs are spread across a variety of industries and often represent an important part of our economy.
Examples of Types of Deskless Workers
• Frontline Workers
• Health Care Workers
• Law Enforcement Workers
• Drivers and Delivery People
• Manufacturing Workers
• Hospitality Workers
Deskless Worker Challenges that Every Business Face
Since deskless workers are not located in corporate headquarters, they are generally out of sight and out of mind. It’s difficult for them to connect with the company values because they have limited contact with coworkers and management. That is why it is important to recognize deskless worker challenges in order to empower them.
Here are some of the most common challenges deskless workers are facing and tips on how to deal with them.
1. High Turnover Rates
Many businesses are currently struggling with attracting and retaining good employees. It’s even more true for employees who don’t have a desk because most of them are working in industries with among the highest turnover rate such as retail or hospitality.
Many of the deskless workers base their decision on the working environment. If they are dissatisfied with their working environment, they are more likely to quit.
A work environment that encourages employees to be committed has more chances to retain employees. Giving employees more ways to interact with each other and increasing their opportunities for growth will increase their sense of belonging at your company. This, in turn, will reduce turnover, after all, they are the ones who truly keep the business going.
2. Difficult to Reach
Deskless workers are at the frontline of business. These employees are out on the factory floor, or doctors and nurses moving from one location to the next, one room to the next, on the fields or roads, or any other location where work actually takes place. Because 83% of frontline workers don’t have a corporate email account, and 45% don’t have access to the company intranet at work, employers and managers have a hard time reaching these people in an effective manner.
It is essential to have an adaptable mode of communication. Current employee engagement technologies such as mobile applications, enable businesses to connect, engage, and train their employees while also providing actionable information.
Continue reading to find out more about how to involve your deskless workers in the digital revolution that is reshaping workplaces all over the world.
3. Sense of Belonging
The average non-office worker is fraught with difficulties because they’re not at a desk all day, they are more prone to feeling isolated than office workers. More and more deskless employees are deciding whether or not to continue with a company based on the culture and feeling of being valued. Some even resign because they feel like an outsider. Employees who work remotely generally want to interact with their colleagues. The best way to keep them happy is by making sure that they are a part of the team.
Investing in an internal communications plan that makes use of mobile technology may aid in reaching employees, making communication more interpersonal, and making employees feel more like a part of the company. By providing them with the appropriate tools, you will make them feel closer and more engaged with your organization.
Learn more about the importance of developing an internal communication plan for your business.
4. Difficult Access to Information
According to a McKinsey study, employees spend 1.8 hours each day searching and accumulating information. That equates to 9.3 hours each week on average! Approximately 20% of the time is spent seeking internal information or locating colleagues who can assist with certain tasks. In the end, it’s a huge amount of time that could be saved by adequate communication. Deskless workers are always on the go and do not have their own laptops or desktop computer. As a result of their limited access to technology, frontline employees are unable to get all of the information they require in a timely manner.
Employer-specific applications and mobile-friendly intranets are becoming highly popular because of their instant access to information.
Read to learn more about why the future of content is mobile and some key consumer habits.
5. Higher Risk of Getting Injured or Ill
Compared to office workers, deskless workers are at higher risk for work-related injuries because of the nature of their jobs. During this pandemic, for example, all frontline workers worldwide are at high risk of infection. The risks should not be taken lightly, but a potential deskless employee may be unaware of the risk since they’re not in the office and are not aware of all the safety precautions, but steps can be taken to reduce safety risks.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Employer-provided safety training has a high degree of not being retained. Some training methods include using mobile apps, where the employee can receive reminders, notifications, tests, and quick-guide while performing their job in actual situations.
6. Communication & Learning
For deskless workers, traditional classroom learning doesn’t always suit their lifestyle. With that said, they also have difficulty finding the right time for training. If you invest in your employees and provide them with a training environment and opportunities to grow, your company will ultimately be more productive, have lower incident rates, increase employee engagement, and have a lower turnover rate.
We all have a lot to learn at work, whether it’s new skills, improving our knowledge, or simply improving how we do our jobs. Employers should use bitesize content, tests, and how-to videos to help deskless workers improve their skills. Microlearning is an efficient and playful way to learn small chunks of information that will allow employees to be more productive, and more efficient. Combined with mobile-accessible training they can access the correct information they need at any time and from any location
Deskless workers are not going away; they are here to stay. In fact, it appears as there will be even more in the future. Technology is changing the ways in which employees work and will have a big role in enabling and empowering deskless workers who are most likely already comfortable with technology, and already use mobile devices extensively. It’s important to provide tools that deskless employees can use regardless of where they are in order to maintain real-time communication with office-based employees. Always remember that spending for the benefit of your employees is an investment, not an expense.
Technology-based systems are the best solutions for companies to reconnect deskless workers to their organizations. A solution like Albert, allows companies to manage deskless employees while offering them an environment to exchange, share and learn.