3 Ways to Improve Deskless Worker Team Communication

Published on:
February 2, 2024
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Nearly 80% of the modern workforce across the globe is comprised of deskless workers: nurses and healthcare workers, construction teams, delivery personnel, service industry staff, and many other essential employees.

And with ever-growing industries of frontline employees filling the deskless workspace, there are new problems to solve with workflow, management, and most importantly when it comes to deskless operations—communication. 

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When your team is segmented away from the ease of direct one-on-one, in-person instruction and general communication, it can create additional challenges with task tracking, accountability, and employee empowerment.

But with the right tools and processes in place, you can improve communication across your deskless team and avoid wasted time, eliminate missed opportunities, and avoid other operational risks. 

In this article we’ll discuss what makes up common deskless workforce communications, why communication is critical for deskless teams, and how you can improve communication across your deskless operations to streamline your operations. 

What is deskless worker team communication?

Deskless worker team communication is the concept of connecting employees of industries that are spread out over a large facility or work area.

Just like any other working team, deskless workers communicate about a wide variety of topics during their day to day tasks.

Everything from process questions to company announcements and task check-ins can be on the docket for deskless teams. Oftentimes deskless teams may find they have even more crucial and time sensitive information to communicate than their counterparts who are typically at their desks. 

Typically, these workers use radios, text messages and phone calls to operate.

This is the primary reason these teams run into problems: deskless teams lack centralized communication channels that are easy to use with a reliable historical record. Employers need to bring all workplace communication into one digital system to maximize the benefits of frontline team communication.

Why is deskless worker team communication important?

With so much necessary information to communicate on such a regular basis, it’s critical for deskless teams to stay in touch with one another to ensure customer and client satisfaction, enable the organization to reach operational goals, and keep work running smoothly.

Poor communication in high risk industries can have serious consequences

Imagine a highly dispersed healthcare team, for example. If on-the-go nurses are unable to contact their supervisors or on-staff doctors about important questions, patients could go too long without necessary or even life-saving care.  In another case, imagine a construction site with complex machinery. Without proper communication channels, safety risks and parts issues can be left uncommunicated for hours, leaving workers and facilities at risk.

Much via Giphy

No matter what industry, a lack of communication or miscommunication amongst a deskless workforce can cause a litany of issues. It can lead to many negative consequences such as: 

  • Missed opportunities
  • Equipment breakdown 
  • High labor costs 
  • Increased staff turnover
  • Bottlenecks in workflow
  • Wasted time 
  • Missing data 
  • Lack of collaboration 
  • Increased operational risk 
  • Poor customer experience 
  • Client or customer loss 
  • Negative reviews or tarnished reputation 

To mitigate these problems, deskless teams often communicate by radio, regular in-person meetings, email, texts or calls, and paperwork.

These methods can prove helpful for a time, but it’s necessary to have the right working culture and processes in place to ensure these forms of communication are enough. Even then, many organizations find it easier to implement digital workforce management solutions to create a centralized, one-stop-shop for deskless communications.

3 Ways to Improve Deskless Worker Team Communication

1. Use internal messaging for deskless teams (ditch radio and paper)

There are many ways to begin improving communication across your deskless teams, but one of the simplest and most inclusive solutions is to employ internal messaging that allows you to eliminate radio and paper communications. Radio and paper methods are great for some situations, but they have their downsides. 

Radios can be a helpful way to communicate quick messages or let someone on the team know about a sudden change, but they can also have an unreliable connection in certain environments and become very disruptive to workflow.

Paper isn’t much better: it’s easy to misplace paperwork and oftentimes it takes twice as long to communicate something since papers stack up and information is easily lost in the shuffle.

Not to mention the potential issues with accurately reading a team member’s handwriting if it isn’t so clear! 

Xenia Deskless Team Communication App

Internal messaging tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams are great for simple and straightforward team messaging—but many deskless task forces find that having a more all encompassing digital operations solution (such as Xenia) that combines messaging with task management helps to not only increase the flow of communication but to empower employee work and keep staff on track with organizational goals. 

2. Combine communication with task management to create more reasons to communicate

The simplest way to combine communication with task management is to utilize a software solution that supplies accessible tracking and instant team messaging in one place. But however you decide to marry these ideas, it’s important to note that nuanced usage is more likely after initial adoption into your team’s daily processes. 

Xenia Task Management Platform
Xenia Task Management Platform

You can start by holding a digital daily standup meeting where all essential team members briefly send a message update on what tasks they accomplished the previous day, tasks on deck for the current day, and any roadblocks or issues they have standing in the way of their work. These digital updates should take less than fifteen minutes out of everyone’s day and help to not only regularly practice and promote the value of communication across deskless teams but also help to keep information and work flowing. 

A solution such as Xenia lets your team instantly communicate via one-on-one messages and team chats from each staff member’s individual mobile devices no matter where everyone is located. Additionally, Xenia contains powerful task tracking features, customizable process checklists, analytics tracking, and more all in one solution so you can easily combine communication with task management and keep your entire team united on shared goals and collaborative processes.  

3. Foster a culture of effective communication through collaborative processes

Collaboration naturally breeds communication because when team members have to collaborate to complete their tasks they are essentially forced to communicate. When you can, create clear and effective collaborative processes for tasks that require more than one team member and lay out direct expectations for what you expect them to communicate from their collaborative tasks to leadership. 

Even if collaborative processes must be carried out partially or completely within a digital space, your team can still utilize the power of collaboration to foster better communication practices. For example, if two team members need to be informed of one another’s pieces of work from afar, ensure that these two employees collaborate via digital messaging with specific, required information daily to encourage teamwork and foster communication practices. 

If team members are in the same location, encourage them to share specific information on their collaborative processes with their supervisor or manager and consistently engage with these teams to improve accountability and lead by example. You can also reward collaboration in daily tasks by calling out employees who are successfully implementing collaborative communication or even creating specific workplace rewards that your team can strive to win. 

Finally, if you’re using a solution like Xenia that includes fluid analytics features that can be filtered with whatever data you designate, you can use the power of data to demonstrate the ways communication and collaboration are driving positive improvement at your organization. You can look at data points like the time it takes to complete tasks, the overall quality of task completion, customer response to task completion, and more. This helps your team to better understand their direct contribution to operational improvements. 

Using Xenia to connect deskless teams

If you’re looking for an all-in-one product suite for your deskless operations, Xenia has you covered. With solutions for everything from digital team communication and document uploads to daily task tracking and asset management, Xenia allows your deskless workforce to access organizational information in the palm of their hands so they can focus on their work and you can focus on reaching operational goals, regardless of how dispersed your team is. 

No matter where you are—whether your team is divided across a single hospital campus or spread out across several construction sites—Xenia makes it easy for you and your team to reach one another. Our software provides an accessible, easily-adopted solution to team communication and deskless work tracking. And with a team of customer help specialists on hand 24/7 to help you ensure complete implementation and ongoing adoption, you’ll always have the additional support you need to keep your team communicating. 

Check out our website to learn more and schedule a free demo anytime! Xenia is here when you’re ready to take your team communications to the next level. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

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What is deskless worker team communication?

Deskless worker team communication refers to the process of connecting employees in industries where they are spread out over a large facility or work area, such as healthcare, construction, or service industries.

This type of communication often includes a variety of topics, from process inquiries to task updates, and is typically conducted using radios, text messages, phone calls, or through digital platforms.

Why is communication critical for deskless teams?

Effective communication is essential for deskless teams to ensure customer and client satisfaction, achieve operational goals, and maintain smooth workflows.

In high-risk industries, poor communication can lead to serious consequences such as equipment breakdowns, increased labor costs, workflow bottlenecks, and even safety risks.

What are the limitations of traditional communication methods like radios and paper for deskless teams?

Radios, while useful for quick messages, can have unreliable connections and disrupt workflow.

Paper communication is prone to being misplaced, information can be lost, and handwriting might be difficult to read.

These methods lack a centralized and easily accessible historical record.