Deskless or remote workers are not anything new in today’s workforce.
Just think about farmers, healthcare providers, retail associates and many other industries. A majority of the world’s workforce has not worked behind a desk for centuries. Yet, this part of the workforce is often overlooked when it comes to employee engagement, training and professional development, or communication initiatives.
Without this effort to engage and communicate with this critical sector of employees, organizations risk disengagement, an uninformed workforce and instability. This results in negative impacts on productivity, customer service and the bottom line.
Surprisingly, there is not much research associated with the deskless workforce that is readily available. These issues are just beginning to be studied, so the insights are not very obvious. Here are some statistics that do stand out from what little research there is:
If your organization has a large number of deskless employees, or if you run a team that is deskless, have you considered whether or not they feel connected? Do you give them access to the right tools and technology to best align with their needs, teammates, departments, executives and the organization as a whole?
It’s important to give this a thought, and you might find it helpful to survey your deskless workers to get some honest feedback about how they feel working remotely from the headquarters.
So what solutions exist for keeping deskless workers engaged?
If you’ve got a workforce that is mostly made up of employees working on the frontlines and you are looking to keep them engaged and feeling connected to their colleagues and the company missions and values, there are a few things you can do to help keep everyone in the loop.
Mobile technology has had far-reaching effects on consumerism and the way that we work today. Over the past decade, people have gotten used to using their mobile devices for doing everything, from banking to shopping, to entertainment purposes and more. It makes complete sense that mobile phones and their convenience be used in other aspects of daily life, such as at the workplace.
Utilizing mobile applications is an important tool that can help reach and mobilize deskless workers, especially because deskless workers consume information when and where it is convenient for them. This need for instant information fits hand and hand with the use of mobile technology.
With the need for instant access to information, having employer-specific applications and mobile-friendly websites are a necessity. This type of communication network and engagement tool is an effective solution for both deskless and deskbound workers since it allows for microlearning. Microlearning is the presentation of information in short, quick bursts, which makes it much easier to digest and is readily available when needed.
Microlearning can be used as a demand-based and participant-driven approach to fostering communication with deskless employees. So, it’s useful to think about the messages you should include in a deskless employee communication plan with the concept of microlearning in mind. Use mobile applications that can offer the ability to customize information in bite-sized pieces for the end-user, and can be accessed instantly.
In addition, the companies that utilize employee applications have reported a 46 percent improvement in communications and a 23 percent increase in employee satisfaction.
Not every piece of information presented to deskless workers needs to be electronic or virtual. Printed materials like breakroom posters, brochures, or direct mail can be a good way to communicate with deskless employees and provide them with tangible information to keep with them. And, since print materials are used less in today’s workplace they will typically make a stronger impression on employees.
Direct managers and supervisors of deskless workers play critical parts in communications processes. This is why it’s important to have direct lines of communication, where they are informed of ways to improve employee motivation and are able to receive important information from those who manage them directly.
You may need to implement additional communications training for supervisors or provide them with the right tools for communication, but these supervisors and managers can serve as effective communication channels because they are able to help spread information in a useful way that is relevant to deskless workers.
The use of gamification, which is the process of using gaming mechanics in non-gaming situations like the workplace, is a great effective strategy to improve employee engagement with deskless workers. Gamification can be especially beneficial when it comes to training and teaching settings, when onboarding, and during organizational change. For example, using a points system, progress bars, badges and leaderboards.
Another way gamification can help boost engagement is by giving deskless workers recognition for the things they do and how their role contributes to the organization’s mission, vision and values. This recognition also helps employees understand how their job responsibilities contribute to the goals of the company.
This recognition can also be meaningful for disengaged employees and remote workers who feel ignored by leadership or corporate. Some other methods you can implement for recognition include giving out bonuses for helping the company with key milestones, spotlighting deskless workers in workplace publications (or on the mobile app or website) and using nomination programs that can highlight excellent performance.
While still fairly new in the workplace, gamification is highly effective for teaching, retention and engagement.
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 own workforce? Request a demo today.
Sam Caucci, Founder & CEO at 1Huddle
Check out our plan that outlines a position that we at 1Huddle fight for everyday; for every worker.