Essential Role of Deskless Workers and How to Enhance Their Experience

Deskless workers, who comprise up to 80% of the global workforce, are fundamental to numerous industries such as healthcare, construction, retail, & services. These employees typically do not have a fixed office or desk and often engage in field or frontline work​ (Simpplr)​​ (eXo Platform)​. Despite their significant numbers, deskless workers have historically received less attention in terms of investment in technology and workplace innovations​ (eXo Platform)​.

Understanding Deskless Workers

Deskless workers are those who perform their jobs outside of a traditional office setting. This includes workers in sectors like hospitality, manufacturing, and field services. The nature of their work demands high adaptability and mobility​ (Simpplr)​. Although these roles are often labelled as “unskilled,” modern business challenges and technological advancements are reshaping them into roles that require unique human skills such as problem-solving and empathy​ (SAP News Center)​.

Challenges Faced by Deskless Workers

One of the primary challenges faced by deskless workers is communication. Being away from a traditional office environment often limits their access to technology and information, which can hinder their ability to perform effectively​ (The Human Capital Hub)​. This lack of access can also lead to feelings of isolation and disengagement from the broader organisational culture​ (Simpplr)​.

Moreover, deskless workers often deal with unpredictable schedules and job insecurity, which can affect their work-life balance and overall job satisfaction​ (The Human Capital Hub)​. Their physical and mental stress CAN BE exacerbated by inadequate support from employers, such as insufficient safety measures and limited professional development opportunities​ (Simpplr)​.

Enhancing the Experience of Deskless Workers

Improving the experience of deskless workers is crucial for boosting productivity and retention. Organisations can engage these workers more effectively by investing in mobile technology that facilitates better communication and access to corporate resources. Creating shared digital workspaces and implementing mobile-enabled coaching and micro-learning applications are steps in the right direction​ (SAP News Center)​.

Additionally, recognising the contributions of deskless workers and integrating them into the company culture can significantly enhance their job satisfaction and loyalty. Programs that offer flexible scheduling options and improved job security could also address many of their workplace challenges​ (Simpplr)​​ (The Human Capital Hub)​.

The Way Forward

Investing in technologies that cater to the needs of deskless workers not only improves their work conditions but also leverages their full potential, leading to greater overall business success. Companies are beginning to recognise this shift and are increasing their budget allocations toward technologies that support this vital workforce segment​ (eXo Platform)​.

As businesses continue to evolve, the role of deskless workers becomes more central. It is imperative for organisations to rethink how they support and engage this significant portion of the workforce to foster a more inclusive, productive, and satisfying work environment.

Several companies have developed effective strategies for supporting deskless workers, recognising the unique challenges and needs of this significant workforce segment. These strategies include flexible scheduling, targeted communication, and comprehensive training programs.

  1. Flexibility and Support: Some leading companies prioritize flexibility and emotional support, recognizing these as key factors for retaining deskless employees. They adapt work schedules to better fit the lifestyles of their workers and create a culture that emphasizes respect, value, and emotional well-being at work. This approach has been shown to effectively reduce turnover among younger workers who often seek quick changes in employment due to dissatisfaction​ (BCG Global)​.
  2. Effective Communication: To keep deskless workers engaged, companies have turned to personalizing communication and making managerial support more accessible. This includes using targeted messages that are relevant to the daily tasks of deskless workers and ensuring that managers are equipped with tools to communicate effectively. These tools can include automated reminders for managers to check in with their team or recognize individual achievements​ (ITAGroup)​.
  3. Training and Development: Training tailored to the needs of deskless workers is also crucial. Companies are utilizing mobile and accessible learning platforms that allow workers to access training materials conveniently on their devices. This flexibility is essential for workers who are on the move and may not have consistent access to traditional training venues. Additionally, incorporating microlearning techniques, which involve short, focused training segments, helps improve knowledge retention and engagement​ (Lingio)​.
  4. Recognition and Inclusion: Ensuring that deskless workers feel recognized and part of the company culture despite not being physically present in traditional office settings is vital. Companies are finding innovative ways to acknowledge the achievements of these workers, such as through physical tokens of appreciation that can be displayed in their working environment, helping to maintain a tangible connection to the company and its values​ (ITAGroup)​.

These strategies illustrate some approaches to supporting deskless workers by addressing their specific needs and challenges. This not only enhances their work experience but also contributes to greater overall company performance by improving retention rates and job satisfaction among these essential workers.

Scroll to Top