The definition of a workplace has changed over the years. Earlier a traditional workplace meant people glued to stationary desks with or without digital devices. As of today, this has changed. Modern businesses have a different way of operating- mobile desks swamped with digital devices, smart office and factories, retail stores with mobile POS systems and delivery services. Today’s businesses cater to the needs of their clients and customers in different ways than before and for this, they need a diverse workforce.
According to a study, 80% of the workforce today is deskless¹. Think delivery executives for online retail and restaurants, logistic employees and drivers, on-demand home service providers, and frontline sales reps. This massive and majority share of the workforce practically drives your company’s frontline operations and more importantly represents your company to your clients and customers.
As companies involve more and more non-desk workers, keeping them engaged and productive is a big challenge. But as stated earlier, this workforce is deskless- which means that although they might be the driving force of your business, they work outside of the conventional perimeters of a workplace. They are practically remote, on-field and don’t necessarily have a dedicated device for work. They cannot be connected through the other ways of engagement such as regular emails, in-office team building activities or any office-level celebrations, simply because they are fragmented. In fact, they might not even have a corporate email ID to fall back to, in case they need to be involved.
And this is why, engaging these employees is crucial yet difficult. Let’s have a look at the 5 reasons that state why engaging non-desk workers in any organization should be an utmost priority:
Reason 1: They know your business and your customers
The frontline workers are the ones that are actually ‘running’ the business. Day in day out, they are the ones who know most about what your business is, what works and what doesn’t. More importantly, they interact with your customers on a first-hand basis and they know what your customers like and don’t like about your business- be it a product or a service. Hence, engaging with the non-desk workers can give you insightful data about your business, how it is received within your customers and areas of improvement.
Reason 2: They need to be updated with resources
Since they are the first point of contact for your customers, they need to be up-to-date with the business plans, strategies and resources. They need to know the new improvements and should be trained on how to convey any changes and updates to the customers as well as the machines. As mentioned earlier, since a large number of these non-desk employees do not have access to emails or company newsletters. And this is a large gap that needs to be bridged with their engagement.
Reason 3: They are the face of your brand
Since they are the ‘frontline’ employees, they literally represent your company, your products and services and more importantly your brand proposition. It is very important to have them on board with your core principles with regular training, sessions and interactions with key stakeholders of the company. This ensures that they are informed and well-versed with your brand terminology, ideology and hold it true when they are out in the field!
Reason 4: They need to be accessible quickly
One of the prime reasons for engaging your deskless employees is to be able to reach out to them, keep them in the loop and involve them in decisions in the time of emergency. This can be anything from a faulty product to a natural calamity, a pandemic to a national emergency. Accessing them quickly and efficiently, looking out for them is important to them as well as your business. Crisis communication is crucial and since these employees may never be present in a physical office or visit at longer intervals, keeping them informed is important. Given that they are difficult to get in touch with, this becomes an even bigger challenge.
Reason 5: They can easily make a switch if they are un-engaged.
Like any other employee in an organization, they can quit if they don’t find value in the association. Since they are already not working in the same space as the rest of the office, they have more opportunities to test out their value, they are more likely to be poached and they need to be provided with enough reasons (over and above the monetary compensation) to be in your business. Tracking their productivity is one thing, but tracking their interest is another.
As we discuss several reasons for focussing on the engagement of non-desk employees, it highlights the importance of having a team communication tool that is not email or social media. And Oneteam by Scalefusion is exactly the solution to ensure engagement (and productivity) of the non-desk workers in any organization. Oneteam enables organizations to connect to their deskless workforce via a team communication app that ensures the security of the corporate data exchanged, it doesn’t lead to distractions and it’s a win-win for all.
Renuka Shahane is a Sr. Content Writer at Scalefusion. An engineering graduate, an Apple junkie and an avid reader, she has a 5+ years of experience in content creation, content strategy and PR for technology and web based startups.