What is a Deskless Worker?
When employees do not have a designated office or work space, they are referred to as deskless workers. Today, deskless workers account for an astounding 80% of the total global workforce, or approximately 2.7 billion people.
They are commonly employed in industries such as healthcare, retail, manufacturing, construction, transportation, telecommunications, and others.
The deskless workforce is on the front lines, creating and selling the products we enjoy today. Many of them work hard to keep us all safe and healthy in the face of a global pandemic, while also being at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 than those who work in offices or at home.
How can organizations keep their deskless workforce motivated and engaged?
Overcoming these challenges can be difficult for employers without the use of company-wide emails, laptops, or other mobile devices. Many people who work in industries such as retail and hospitality have very high turnover rates.
This is why it is critical to provide deskless workers with quick and easy access to their managers, company policies and other relevant information, as well as their company's brand story, so they can make the best decisions throughout their workday.
Challenges organizations face with diskless workers
1. Increased Turnover Rates
According to the study, organisations with a high proportion of blue-collar workers struggle to retain and attract top talent. In comparison to corporate employees, these employees are less loyal and more willing to change jobs.
Furthermore, many deskless workers regard their jobs as temporary and do not anticipate staying with their employers for long.
This is a major issue when it comes to lowering turnover rates, because high turnover rates waste more resources within the organisation. Many industries with deskless workers have some of the highest turnover rates. Grocery store and quick-service restaurant employees, for example, have a year-round turnover rate of 100 percent.
This demonstrates that many deskless workers are dissatisfied with their current working environment and conditions.
2. Tough to Access
According to studies, more than 80% of frontline workers do not even have a corporate email address, and more than 40% do not have access to the company intranet while at work.
Deskless workers are typically on the front lines of the companies for which they work. They work on factory or shop floors, in the field collecting data, or on the road providing services. This can make it difficult for employers and managers to reach out to their employees when it matters the most.
While many corporate workers can use email, intranets, mobile applications, and other communication channels, most deskless employees will not have access to these technologies, or they may be too difficult for them to use.
3. No Feeling of Belonging
Because communication between the employer and the deskless worker is poor, many deskless employees feel as if they aren't truly a part of the organisation or group. Furthermore, a lack of communication leads to a disconnect with the company culture.
Because many organisations struggle to adequately and consistently communicate with their deskless workers, these workers are unable to feel connected to the company's core values.
Because deskless workers work away from the corporate office and in-office employees, 80 percent of remote workers report feeling more excluded than in-office employees. Furthermore, more than half of them believe that their employer regards them as disposable or temporary workers.
4. Information is not easily accessible
The search for relevant information is a problem that all employees, not just those who work from home, face. However, because frontline workers have less access to technology, the search for information can be even more frustrating.
5. Disconnected and Disengaged employees
Office workers in many organisations use more communication and engagement tools than most frontline employees. These tools allow them to stay in touch with their colleagues and superiors at all times, which increases employee engagement. Furthermore, many frontline employees feel disconnected and out of sync with the rest of the organisation
In the United States, 56 percent of deskless workers feel connected and engaged with their employers. A startling 84 percent of deskless workers say they do not receive enough direct communication from their bosses, and only 10 percent feel strongly connected to their organisations.
This has a negative effect on employee productivity and performance.