Deskless Workers Are Going Digital! Here Are 7 Stats That Say So

Published on:
January 17, 2024
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The conventional, office-based work environment of white-collar professionals is now primarily a digital image, with operations ranging from accountancy to marketing performed by highly efficient software programs.

Companies are now relying on mobile technology to support their deskless workforce, resulting in significant changes in how organizations work.

On top of that, these people make up about 80% of the global working population. That’s 3 billion international employees powering industries ranging from construction, healthcare, retail, hospitality, and dozens of others.

But is this workforce getting the help it deserves? While industries worldwide have quickly adopted tech to improve processes, deskless organizations haven’t entered the race. Deskless workers don’t have access to the same tech tools that other workers enjoy.

Do you need the tech when you’re not working at a desk?

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It turns out you do. The lack of automation in deskless organizations leads to employee burnout and disengagement. It’s also adding to high employee turnovers, a KPI that deskless organizations find hard to control. The restaurant industry alone has a whopping employee turnover rate of 75%.

Think this just impacts frontline workers? Think again. This lack of work engagement results in lost productivity and significant business losses. Gallup showed that disengaged employees cost their businesses 34% of their annual salaries.

Studies are showing that deskless workers want more technology to execute their tasks. So, what’s the solution? Here are six stats that prove the future of tech is digital.

7 Stats To Showcase The Digitization of Deskless Workers In Near Future

  1. In a 2020 survey, 70% of deskless workers reported they want more tech to do their jobs. (Source: Emcap)
  2. 83% of the same respondents said that they are provided with desktop PCs and laptops even though their job requires them to be away from the desk. (Source: Emcap)
  3. 59% of workers feel that the communications they receive are inadequate (Source: Nudge)
  4. One of four deskless workers states that a lack of purpose-built tech is hampering their everyday work. (Source: Skedulo)
  5. 83% of deskless workers still rely on paper files for some or all of their processes. (Source: Skedulo)
  6. Adequate tech is making deskless workers 2X satisfied with their jobs. (Source: Skedulo)

1. Deskless Workers Want Increased Automation

Emcap’s survey of 1,532 respondents aimed to understand the plight of the biggest global workforce. 70% of the workers stated that technology is helping them execute work more efficiently.

Respondents also feel that more tech could benefit company communications, operations, onboarding, and training. Many tasks are still manual, including data entry and equipment logging. These must be digitized and automated to help save time and maintain data integrity.

What’s also interesting to note is that four out of five frontline workers don’t have access to a corporate email account. This makes it hard to give them access to the company’s tech stack and data warehouse.

The figure that 55% of people have adjusted to new technologies without formal training connects well with the primary focus of deskless workers migrating to digital alternatives. 

As deskless jobs increasingly rely on digital technologies, intuitive interfaces become critical.

The lack of formal training for a sizable proportion of workers emphasizes the significance of user-friendly and intuitive mobile application interfaces. As deskless workers transition to digital, ensuring that these technologies are simple to use and need minimum training becomes a strategic goal. An intuitive design not only saves time but also reduces the chance of burnout by removing the aggravation associated with the learning curve.

This underscores the idea that the success of the digital shift for deskless workers is dependent on the seamless integration of technology into their workflows, reducing interruptions and encouraging a smoother adoption process.

2. Are Deskless Worker (s) Getting The Right Tech?

83% of deskless workers get desktop PCs, laptops, or speakers. While these are important for most deskbound workers, they don’t provide much value to employees on the move throughout the day. What’s worse? It seems that companies still haven’t been able to pay attention to the basic needs of the deskless workforce.

So, what kind of tech do deskless workers need? Over 6 billion people own and use smartphones. These devices stay on the owner as they travel and work. Similarly, frontline workers take their phones with them to their work sites. This creates a lot of opportunities for companies to aid company communications.

The same survey also showed that 60% of workers had been provided a smartphone or tablet by their employer. What’s even better? It’s time to put them to good use.

Mobile-friendly operations management tools such as Xenia enable businesses to manage their projects, maintenance, and employees. Collaboration tools such as Slack, Skype, and Zoom are all mobile-friendly. Businesses world over use these to bring their teams together and stay connected.

Some industries, such as construction and manufacturing, also experimented with hands-free gadgets such as smartphones and drones to aid their workers.

3. Acceptance for Remote Work

One of the most profound changes in the work paradigm is the acceptance of remote work as a norm. In a recent poll, an unbelievable one in four Americans have stated that they never want to go back to an office. 

This shows such a change in the philosophy and perception of work in the United States and shows how much people now see remote work as the new normal and understand that it allows for much more efficiency and ease in the work environment.

This transition to remote work is more than just a transitory response to unusual global conditions; it is a long-term upheaval in the workplace. As more people experience the freedom and control that remote work provides, their desire to return to a centralized office decreases. Companies that recognize and embrace this trend will benefit not just from increased employee satisfaction, but also from improved morale and retention rates.

The concept of deskless work, which was formerly associated with conventional, non-digital settings, is increasingly embracing digital alternatives as well.

The numbers presented provide light on the increased use of digital tools and technology among deskless workers, highlighting a larger move toward a more digitally connected work environment.

In this era, when businesses must face the challenge of digitizing themselves, these firms must consider the requirements and desires of today's desk-less workforce. Equipping the deskless worker, to fulfill his or her full potential is both a wise strategic decision and a factor that has a direct impact on greater morale and retention. 

The link between the desire for remote work and the digitization of desk-less workforces emphasizes the importance of a more comprehensive strategy to satisfy the needs of our modern workforce.

4. Deskless Communication Needs To Pull Up Its Socks

Remote workers often complain about feeling disconnected from their work and their teams. 59% of the workforce feels that their instructions and communications are inadequate.

Why might this be? For starters, many employees feel isolated at work. Not working in a traditional office setting makes it hard to connect with your colleagues. Everyone’s distributed at various sites, and there aren’t many channels to build relationships remotely. This also contributes to high employee turnover, as employees can’t associate a sense of belonging with their coworkers.

38% of workers believe that a strong community at work helps them feel engaged. So, how do you improve deskless communication? Here’s our take:

  • Set up regular team syncs and 1:1s with all your team members. This keeps everyone updated and removes roadblocks as they pop up.
  • Encourage team projects and collaborations. This helps colleagues learn how to work together and communicate effectively.
  • Take employee feedback and keep it anonymous. Ask how your team feels about work, how engaged they are, what problems they face, and how the company can serve them better.
  • Use apps that combine instant messaging and project management, such as Xenia. This helps employees track their tasks and discuss them in one place. It also fosters a spirit of collaboration at work.

5. The Need For Purpose-built Software Tools

Skedulo surveyed 1000 employees, where 500 were deskless, and the other half were deskbound. They stated that 25% of all workers feel that the tech they’re offered isn’t tailored to their needs and roles.

With IT buyers increasing their software spending, things have changed, but there aren’t many apps helping them solve everyday deskless problems. This isn’t surprising. Before the pandemic, only 1% of software funding went towards developing tools for the deskless workforce.

But this creates a significant opportunity for entrepreneurs as well. With 80% of the global workforce just receiving 1% of software funding, innovative tech for deskless workers could disrupt the landscape.

The days of one-size-fits-all solutions are over. Today's businesses cover several industries and have a wide range of demands, therefore there is no such thing as a software solution that is suitable for everyone. The key for them is to remain focused on selling and offering value to their clients rather than becoming sidetracked with customisation initiatives. Purpose-built software solutions are industry-specific, with features tailored to that sector to make things simpler. It simplifies the user experience by initializing the Single Sign On (SSO) component, eliminating the need to input it many times when using.

Regulatory compliance and comprehensive cybersecurity connect software-driven and deskless digital business transformations. This critical integration of customized tools and industry laws facilitates digital transformations in deskless sectors by ensuring that the benefits of digital business are not overshadowed by the complexities of operating within a legal and regulatory framework. Only by combining these aspects will deskless workers be able to navigate the new digital landscape with confidence and effectiveness.

6. Paper Files Are Still In Use Today

The Skedulo report also showed that 83% of organizations still rely on paper files to get work done. On the other hand, 17% stated that their companies have entirely ditched manual processes and used software to track all projects and maintain data.

Digital data storage is secure and easy to access. Digital equipment logs and operations management tools have made it easy to remove the hassle of maintaining paper logs. Workers no longer have to spend hours chasing paper tails and reading illegible scripts.

Need a checklist? Explore Xenia’s checklist library.

7. Get The Right Tools To Make Satisfied Deskless Staff

Businesses providing enough tech automation are setting the benchmark for employee satisfaction. The Skedulo report indicated that digital apps and processes lead to satisfied employees. This is helping lower employee turnover rates, with tech-empowered employees being 50% more likely to stay with their companies in the long run.

Employee training and onboarding practices are evolving substantially. US-based 

corporations have modernized their staff management efforts by replacing traditional training 

techniques with online learning. Remote training is currently preferred by more than one-fifth (21%) of US workers. It's a trend that cannot be ignored. Consider the impact that implementing a remote training system had on employees: increased employee engagement, increased staff productivity, and enormous organizational achievement.

The traditional method of teaching staff members will not fulfill the organization's demands. In an internet-centric age, where 68% to 88% of the workforce feel the onboarding experience has a big impact on whether or not they decide to stay with a firm three years later. Traditional training and onboarding strategies will not engage these newcomers. It is vital to highlight that this applies regardless of whether the new person is an intern/graduate, manager, executive, or non-manager.

We live in a mobile environment, thus having information on the move is critical for employees to succeed.

This is prompting employers to find a way to retain remote employees integrated into their culture, on board with corporate initiatives, updated beyond email, and bridge the retention gap. Companies that do not invest in adapting to the new mobile environment might incur significant consequences. Indeed, huge US corporations witness trillions of dollars in voluntary turnover each year.

Putting It All Together

The tech boom has penetrated several industries worldwide, but deskless organizations have been left behind. However, workers in these niches feel more tech will empower them at work. Companies must provide the right gadgets to their workforce and deploy the right collaborative tools to create better teams.

It’s time that leadership takes note and pays attention to the needs of those that enable their success.

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