How to Support a Deskless Workforce

There is a rapidly growing trend away from in-office workers and toward a deskless workforce. According to a report by Emergence Capital, deskless workers make up more than 80% of the workforce in the U.S. In order to remain competitive, organizations need to create or expand their deskless workforce, as well as meet the unique needs of this nuanced workforce. 

But first, let’s discuss what exactly is a deskless workforce.

What Is a Deskless Workforce?

A deskless workforce is a group of workers who don’t work behind a desk or in an office. Deskless workers are found in many industries and hold job titles such as field service technicians, home healthcare providers, field sales representatives, delivery workers, and traveling consultants. 

According to the Emergence study, the number of remote workers have increased in recent years to almost 3 billion, and employers are paying attention to this surge. A remarkable 82% of IT buyers surveyed in the study indicated that they’ve increased technology budgets for their deskless workforce.

Because deskless workers aren’t tethered to one location, they have unique support needs for technology, communication, employee engagement, etc. Deskless workers who are mobile and complete jobs at different locations throughout the day may require more specialized tools than those who are simply working remotely or telecommuting.

The Mobile Workforce Needs Different Support Than Traditional Workers

The in-office workforce and the deskless workforce are two different groups and need to be approached as such. Each has its own requirements to be productive, efficient, and engaged. 

Technology Plays a Stronger Role

The deskless workforce relies heavily on mobile technology and requires more resources in that area than traditional workers. Despite being 80% of the workforce, remote workers only receive about 1% of the overall software budget in most companies. This number, however, will likely increase—and should increase—as the deskless workforce continues to grow. 

Mobile workers lack the full IT support that is a given for in-office workers, so any technology they use should seamlessly integrate with existing ecosystems. 

Deskless workers also require technology that is specifically configured to grow with the organization. Because mobile workers have limited IT support, it’s inefficient and frustrating for them to have to frequently learn new platforms.

Furthermore, a good mobile workforce management platform should be user-friendly for workers. This means that a solution should:

  • Be easy to use with one hand on a mobile device
  • Have offline capabilities for use in the field
  • Offer well-designed and easy-to-use navigation
  • Work across a variety of devices and operating systems

Communication Is Front and Center

Another difference between in-office and deskless workers is how each group communicates. An office worker can easily find and talk to a coworker in-person, or access internal files like client history and contact information, job assignment details, and other data. 

Some of the challenges for deskless workers include having limited communication with coworkers, being in locations without data service or Wifi, and accessing internal data and files. As such, deskless workers need a sophisticated tool that fulfills these gaps. 

Mobile workforce management solutions offer streamlined communication between coworkers, allow offline access, and share job details and status updates through real-time emails, SMS messages, and push notifications.

Employee Engagement Drives Retention

One of the biggest struggles for the deskless workforce is employee engagement. Companies can retain more workers by giving them the tools they need to perform their jobs effectively. Workers who feel connected and supported have a sense of impact and engagement. This, in turn, feeds worker satisfaction and retention.

Real-time schedules and job histories, including customer preferences that help staff tailor the service experience, are some of the features in a mobile workforce management solution that deskless workers need. Mobile workforce management platforms positively impact workers, as well as customer satisfaction. Engaged workers and happy customers are powerful fuel to launch an organization’s health and growth to the next level.

The Future of the Deskless Workforce 

The deskless workforce trend shows no signs of slowing down. In order to remain competitive, organizations need to invest in the deskless workforce sooner rather than later.

Benefits for organizations and their workers abound for companies that have already established a deskless workforce with mobile workforce management solutions. Aside from the benefits already mentioned, mobile workforce management also assists organizations with labor shortage issues by simultaneously retaining current workers and drawing in new talent. 

Successfully benefitting from a deskless workforce means giving workers the tools they need to perform their jobs. A mobile workforce management platform offers streamlined, user-friendly technology, promotes worker communication, empowers employee engagement for the deskless workforce.

Skedulo has everything needed to both implement and support a comprehensive mobile workforce. Book a free demo today!

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