October 04, 2021

Challenges That Your Deskless Workers Face

Sam Caucci

Deskless worker operating a forklift

Deskless workers make up a significant portion of the global workforce, yet employers still have a ways to go in helping empower them and set them up for success. Deskless workers face unique challenges that their corporate counterparts do not. Supervisors and managers should have a good understanding of these challenges in order to drive their own digital transformation projects effectively so that resources are used in the most efficient manner. 

Organizations everywhere are embracing going digital for their deskless workforce in order to help increase productivity, safety and compliance, quality and productivity at the workplace. The focus is to move away from traditional paper, spreadsheet and anecdotal knowledge to a paperless and more digitally connected workforce which will help unlock huge growth possibilities. 

More About Deskless Workers

Workers are considered ‘deskless workers’ when they do not have a designated office or working space. Today, deskless workers make up a staggering 80 percent of the total global workforce which is approximately 2.7 billion people. They typically work in industries such as healthcare, retail, manufacturing, construction, transportation, telecommunications and more. 

The deskless workforce take their place on the frontlines, both making and selling the products that we enjoy today. Many of them work hard to help keep us all safe and healthy in the face of a global pandemic, while also being at a higher risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 compared to those working in offices or in their homes. 

So how can organizations help keep their deskless workforce motivated and engaged?

Without the use of company-wide emails, laptops or other mobile devices, overcoming these challenges can be difficult for employers. Many of the individuals who work in industries like retail and hospitality often suffer from very high turnover rates. This is why it is important to make sure that deskless workers have fast and easy access to their managers, company policy and other relevant information and their company’s brand story so they can make the best choices throughout their workday.

Challenges Organizations Face WIth Their Deskless Workers

Here is a closer look at the unique challenges that organizations face when managing their deskless workforce.

Higher Turnover Rates

According to the research, organizations with many blue-collar workers struggle to retain and attract top talent. These types of employees tend to be less loyal, and willing to change jobs more often in comparison to corporate employees. Plus, many deskless workers see their jobs as temporary or don’t see themselves staying with their employers for long.

This is a big issue when it comes to reducing turnover rates, as high turnover rates means more resources are wasted within the organization. Many deskless worker industries face some of the highest turnover rates. For instance, grocery stores and quick-service restaurant workers have a 100 percent turnover every year. 

This goes to show that many deskless employees are unhappy with their current working environment and conditions. 

Hard to Access

Studies have found that over 80 percent of frontline workers do not even have a corporate email address, and over 40 percent don’t even have access to the company intranet when at work. 

Deskless workers are typically the frontline of the businesses that they work for. They are operating on the factory or shop floors, are out on the field collecting data or are on the road providing services. This can make communication difficult for employers and managers to effectively reach their people when it counts. While many corporate workers are able to use email, intranets, mobile applications and other communication channels, most deskless employees will not have access to the same technologies or they might be too challenging for them to use. 

No Sense of Belonging

Since the level of communication between employer and deskless worker is poor, many deskless employees tend to feel like they aren’t really a part of the organization or group. Plus, this lack of communication also leads to a disconnect with the company culture. 

Since many organizations struggle to adequately and consistently communicate with their deskless workers, this results in an inability to keep these workers feeling connected with the company’s core values. 

Because deskless workers work away from the corporate office and in-office workers, 80 percent of remote workers report that they are likely to feel more excluded than in-office employees. In addition, over 50 percent of them believe that their employer views them as disposable or as temporary workers.

No Easy Access to Information

The search for relevant information is a problem that all employees face, not just deskless ones. However, due to having more limited access to technology, the search for information among frontline workers can be even more frustrating. 

Disconnected and Disengaged employees

In many organizations, office workers tend to use more communication and engagement tools compared to most frontline employees. These tools help them always stay connected with their colleagues and superiors and it increases levels of employee engagement. Furthermore, many frontline employees feel disconnected and out of the loop from the rest of the company. 

In research conducted by Ragan, they found that 56 percent of deskless workers in the United States feel connected and engaged with their employers. An astonishing 84 percent of deskless workers say they do not get enough direct communication from their supervisors, and only 10 percent feel strongly connected to their organizations. 

This ultimately has a negative impact on employees’ productivity and performance. 

Today, modern organizations face many challenges with their critical workers in healthcare, agriculture, construction, retail and other similar industries. Deskless workers continue to have poor access to proper technology and dedicated software that will help them complete their jobs successfully and stay connected within their organizations. 

But this situation is gradually changing. An increasing number of companies plan on increasing their investment in deskless technology with a focus on empowering deskless employees and building a more positive workplace culture that is inclusive to all employees. 

At 1Huddle, we offer cloud-based employee gamification software that can easily adapt to any employee training or gamification strategy you want to implement at your workplace. You can customize your content for a seamless experience and all of your employees will be able to access their training anywhere, anytime and at the push of a button. You can use our gamification platform to measure their performance and make key decisions on where you should take your gamification strategy next. 

Do you want to learn more about how 1Huddle can help you level up your workforce? Request a demo today.

Sam Caucci, Founder & CEO at 1Huddle

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