The Deskless Workforce: Acknowledging the Value of an Underinvested Group. An Interview with Skedulo CEO, Matt Fairhurst
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed most aspects of how business is conducted. But it’s also shed some light on one of the most underinvested and impacted groups within companies:
The deskless workforce.
And while there’s work to be done on the technology capabilities for this group, the recent exposure is going a long way.
“80% of the global workforce doesn’t sit in an office and behind a desk.”
For Matt Fairhurst, CEO at Skedulo, that mission starts with building a platform to amplify, enhance, and enrich the lives of the deskless workers everywhere.
Growth Oriented. Builder of marketing and advertising for top tier consumer and business brands. Led growth oriented marketing programs for early stage startups and public companies including Uber, Skedulo, Instawork, FutureAdvisor/Blackrock, Xoom.com, Travelzoo, Wells Fargo, Shutterfly, and Healtheon/WebMD.
"The problems we were solving were experienced by businesses and companies and people all over the world. This is very much a problem that exists in companies, wherever there are deskless workers."
Every company has their own story to tell in regards to vision and the unique challenges faced—especially after the COVID-19 pandemic where everyone had to come together but from a distance.
But that story looks especially different for companies that have large numbers of deskless workers.
On our very first episode of The Modern Workforce, we spoke with Matt Fairhurst, CEO at Skedulo, about technology for the mobile workforce and what’s next as we look to the future of deskless work.
Matt talked with us about what informed his vision for the company, focusing on technology for the mobile workforce, the company’s mission and challenges faced (and overcome), and building a modern technology platform for the future of deskless work.
Let’s dive right in!
“Deskless work is still one of the most underinvested segments of the workforce.”
The origin story of Skedulo
Matt launched Skedulo, which has been global from day one, based on two main drivers:
- They had a global team that needed a global solution.
- The entire globe needed the same global solution.
Taking a global mindset from the start shaped the way that Matt built the team, as well as what problems the product and opportunity was focused on solving.
Deskless workers exist everywhere.
To be honest, Skedulo started with a Photoshop mockup of what a product could look like… but no actual product. Yet so strongly did the design and vision resonate with future customers that the product build and evolution came naturally.
Skedulo & NDIS
There’s a special vertical in Australia called NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) that actually became a great use case for the product early on.
The NDIS was a piece of legislation that shaped the way that providers that were helping individuals with disabilities interact with technology in the home and in the community to make sure they could be correctly reimbursed. (This is similar to EVV, or Electronic Visit Verification, in America.)
Skedulo, with its shared values of community-strengthening technology, seized the opportunity to serve a very important industry that provides amazing services to people.
Skedulo & COVID-19
The pandemic provided Skedulo another way to serve the global community. Skedulo basically had a COVID hackathon to offer a free technological solution to organize and schedule people using BioReference Labs in New York, a massive phlebotomy laboratory.
“What are the problems?” Matt said to BioReference. “Could we come back to you in a week with a possible solution?”
The design worked, so Skedulo built it. “To date, we’ve helped to schedule and facilitate more than 37 million vaccine appointments all over the world,” he added.
Building company values into worker-first products
Silicon Valley banter about company values aside, Skedulo takes its company values very seriously by baking them into building human-centered technology.
How did Matt come up with the company values for his brand-new organization? He turned to his own personality and personal values.
From there, he took his company through an exercise to explore the stories, anecdotes, and feelings that people had working for the company in order to codify and refine the values.
Skedulo’s 5 guiding principles
- No Shenanagins
- Customer first.
- Design and build great product.
- Care for one another.
- Be unapologetically better at doing better—but do it while laughing!
Let’s take a closer look at caring.
“The level of connection and empathy you need to have with your customers in a very caring way is not only important to lean into this concept of stakeholder value, but also to deeply understand the challenges that they have and build product to address them,” Matt said.
You can’t be dialed in to the needs of your customers or users unless you start from a customer-first view rooted in caring.
“80% of the global workforce doesn't sit in an office and behind a desk.”
The future is deskless
Deskless workers are still one of the most underinvested segments of the workforce—as well as the largest.
Only one out of every five of us goes to an office and sits behind a desk…
Meaning that four out of five of us are working desklessly.
“There’s still a huge gap in both the investments and the capabilities of technology and the mediums that are accessible to people that don’t work in an office,” Matt said.
His biggest mission?
Building the platform to amplify, enhance, and enrich deskless workers everywhere.
Workforce trends that have emerged in the last year and a half include:
- Higher levels of empathy among office workers for the deskless workforce
- Greater emphasis placed on human-centered communication
- More focus from brands on engagement and connectivity with employees
“This is a great awakening in terms of realizing the challenge that exists for people that are inherently disconnected all the time from each other,” Matt said. “How does communication, collaboration, and engagement amplify human productivity and efficiency and effectiveness—and happiness—at work?”
It’s a trend we’ll keep leaning into with a global mindset and a foundation of caring.
Get in touch with Matt on LinkedIn.
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