For decades, deskless workers have largely missed out on the benefits of the digital transformation of business processes. Field service technicians and others who don’t begin and end their day at a fixed location are often left out of conversations about leveraging technology to boost productivity and other crucial metrics. That often leaves deskless workers to fend for themselves, and that ultimately hurts your company’s bottom line. And in 2022, that’s not just a double-edged sword – it’s a triple-edged one. Leaving deskless workers – who actually make up the majority of the workforce – out of your analysis of business processes – undermines your company by:
- Shrinking productivity by ignoring the needs of much of your workforce.
- Magnifying the ongoing harm created by the overall labor shortage (and by the even sharper shortage of workers with the advanced training, skills, and experiences needed for many critical tasks).
- Allowing morale to plummet (and turnover to skyrocket) as a result of creating a work environment in which the needs of deskless workers are ignored.
The new year is a good opportunity to consider a few resolutions that can foster a more productive workplace in which all workers have the tools and resources they need. They'll also improve job satisfaction which, in turn, will help shrink the labor and skills gaps you’ve likely been wrestling with. In other words, when you do the right thing, it's often also the right thing for your bottom line. With the needs of your deskless workforce in mind, here are a few New Year’s resolutions to consider for 2022:
- Understand the deskless: The term “deskless” can be a little misleading. It suggests that these are people whose lives could be made whole if only they had a desk. But it refers to people whose work lives are very different from what those who work at a desk all day might envision. If your workday begins and ends at a desk at a fixed location, there's a host of functionality that supports you throughout the day that you probably take for granted. For field technicians and other deskless workers, their mobile phone is often their only digital lifeline. And even common tasks like scheduling and group chats can be much more onerous on a smaller screen than on the real estate available to “desk jockeys.”
- Just-in-time training: No question there’s a talent gap. The gap is especially pronounced for skilled workers with the right experiences needed for the most challenging tasks. And training to meet those needs is often easier said than done – it takes time, resources, and commitment – from both the employer and the workforce. So being able to offer on-demand training – such as bite-sized videos that show technicians right on their phone how to complete a particular task, delivered when and where they need it – is a valuable alternative. It not only solves the immediate task at hand, but also helps workers qualify for roles for which they would otherwise lack the necessary prerequisites.
- Face the facts: It’s next to impossible to fix problems you don’t even see. But ignoring those problems is one of the contributing factors driving down employee recruiting and retention – to say nothing of productivity and other crucial metrics. Improving visibility into your operations is one of the most important first steps toward making your company the kind of employer workers are looking for.
- “Right to disconnect”: That’s the name of a growing movement intended to shield the workforce from some of the unintended consequences of digital technology. The ability to work remotely has driven all kinds of benefits – particularly in the face of crises like a pandemic or natural disasters. But it also often brings with it an assumption that every worker should be on call and ready to jump in on a 24/7 basis. Starting in Europe and expanding rapidly around the globe, workers calling for the right to disconnect seek formal assurances that the workday has a beginning and an end. Those caps can be baked into the tools you use for functions like scheduling and communications, limiting the hours or the number of tasks a worker can be scheduled for on a given day or in a single week.
- Corporate culture: Just as your software tools should embody the values you aim to encourage, you need to proactively design your own corporate culture to do that as well. For example, at Zinier we have something we call our “Hobby Fund” that picks up the tab for something that helps employees do whatever they enjoy doing outside of work. When they share Slack photos of themselves enjoying their new bike, or cookware, or yoga classes, or music keyboard, it helps all their coworkers really get to know them in a different light. And it provides constant reminders of the importance of making sure every employee has time to enjoy their hobbies (and grow as a result of them).
Ready to start some new good habits in 2022? Get in touch with us at today.