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How to keep your deskless workers?

The exhaustion of deskless workers: a hidden reality

Desk less workers

Deskless workers are a key component of our economy, representing up to 80% of the workforce in sectors such as healthcare, manufacturing, retail and many others. They have continued to drive the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic, but at the same time, they are under increasing pressure to carry heavy workloads and work long hours in constantly changing environments. According to a recent survey conducted by BCG survey of deskless workers, more than half of these workers are burned out and 43% are currently looking for a new job, and this is not related to financial reasons.

It is therefore crucial for companies to understand the emotional needs of these workers and take them into account to ensure their satisfaction and commitment to the company.

In this article, we'll explore the challenges deskless workers face and ways companies can support them for increased engagement and productivity.

Who are the deskless workers?

deskless workers

Deskless workers are employees who do not have a physical office to perform their tasks. They are often associated with occupations in sectors such as hospitality, healthcare, manufacturing, food services, airlines, etc.

According to the Rise of the Deskless Workforce report, they represent nearly 2.7 billion people in the global workforce. However, despite their significant presence in the workforce, studies have revealed high turnover rates among these employees. The most common reasons cited for this trend are lack of communication and harmony with managers, as well as a desire for better pay and a better work-life balance.

The challenges of deskless workers

Deskless workers face many challenges that can affect their satisfaction and commitment to their employers. According to a study report by Nudge study report from July 2021, 67% of deskless workers confirmed that timely feedback is necessary for them. However, 39% said their managers don't listen to them, which can cause a lack of communication and recognition at work. Employees without an office may also feel isolated and disconnected from their colleagues and employer because of their physical work location.

Common challenges faced by office deskless workers include:

Lack of rewards and appreciation

Employees without an office, often face a lack of recognition from their managers. They are in direct contact with customers, but do not receive enough rewards or appreciation for their good work, which affects their motivation and leads them to leave their jobs. According to the same Nudge report, 36% of workers want to leave their jobs, and this rate increased from 38% to 40% for foodservice workers and facilities management workers, respectively.

Poor coordination between managers and deskless workers

Employees without an office suffer from a lack of direct communication with their supervisors. According to a study conducted by Ragan84% of deskless workers say they face a lack of direct communication with their supervisors, while only 10% say they are well connected to their company. This can cause a lack of coordination and affect employee productivity and satisfaction.

The inefficiency of task planning

Most of the time, due to the lack of communication and technology, managers do not properly manage the tasks that deskless workers are expected to perform. This can result in confusing instructions, unclear tasks, missed deadlines, etc. All this creates confusion among deskless workers and decreases their productivity. In addition, it can also lead to errors and delays that have a negative impact on the quality of work and customer relations. To remedy this, it is important to use effective communication and planning tools, such as online project management applications, to maintain clear communication and effective coordination between managers and deskless workers.

How to make your deskless workers satisfied and engaged

Invest in a digital solution specifically designed for deskless workers

Investing in a digital solution specifically designed for deskless employees has many advantages for companies. Indeed, the Digital Workplace is increasingly recognized as an essential element to improve communication and working conditions for employees, regardless of the industry, size or nature of the workforce.

The Rise of the Deskless Workforce report revealed that 82% of companies plan to increase their spending on IT solutions for deskless workers. This trend is driven by the growing awareness among companies of the importance of connecting all employees, including deskless, to meet real-world collaboration challenges.

Communication is a key element for deskless workers. With a digital solution, they can stay informed of important news and company updates in real time. Managers can also publish training modules that are easily accessible via smartphone to improve employees' skills.

Task management is also a useful feature for employees without an office. It allows managers to assign tasks to individuals, groups or departments in real time, making it easier to coordinate and execute tasks in the field.

The feedback function is in turn essential for deskless employees. It gives them the opportunity to voice their concerns and comments, allowing managers to understand their perspective and make decisions accordingly. This helps improve the employee experience in the field.

Instant messaging is also a convenient tool for employees without an office, as it allows them to easily communicate with managers and colleagues, even when they are on the move.

Broadly speaking, a digital solution helps to effectively measure employee engagement and satisfaction without a desk, allowing leaders to track and improve their team's performance.

Provide training and professional development opportunities

Providing training and professional development opportunities for non-office-based employees is important to help them feel valued and advance in their careers. Employers can offer online courses, webinars and mentoring programs to help employees learn new skills and grow professionally.

It is also essential to give out-of-office employees the opportunity to take initiative and to reward them for their good work. Employers can similarly create recognition programs for employees who have demonstrated leadership and initiative, to encourage them to continue to grow and contribute to the company.


Your workforce is not your machine, they are human beings with unique needs and aspirations. As Peter Drucker famously said, "People are not a cost, they are an asset. It's time to treat deskless workers as valuable assets and treat them accordingly to ensure their satisfaction and commitment.