Technology for deskless employees. How to respond to their needs to really make their work easier?

09/04/2021

We all agree that technology makes work easier and more organised. Ideally, it brings nothing but benefits. However, often it turns out that it also involves numerous difficulties. Technology is a great way to empower deskless employees because most of the solutions are designed to support only office workers. Deskless employees’ needs are completely different and if they are not properly met, technology can do as much harm as good. 

Support deskless workers where they need it

Many industries are facing digitalisation and the increasing use of technology. It enhances work efficiency and makes the work easier for employees. The most important thing is to understand that technology must respond to real needs and increase employees’ work potential by supporting them where it is necessary. A deskless workforce needs special tools. Although the potential benefits speak for themselves introducing new technology is a complex process.

How do employees react to new technology?

Technology is not always properly adapted to the needs and existing processes or employees are not prepared to use it. Despite best intentions, tools often are "handed out" without prior testing or training. They are also expected to bring immediate results.

One of the most common issues is the expectation to use multiple applications for each activity. This happens when solutions are implemented without an overall strategy and only solve single issues at a time. Prioritisation is missing, tasks overlap and it is easy to confuse them. Employees struggle with many sources of communication and limited feedback. Instead, they receive a lot of different interfaces to learn.

Unification is the most optimal solution. At TakeTask we provide one interface to technologies and systems introduced in the workplace. Employees are not overwhelmed and their tasks are organised thanks to guidelines and notifications. Eventually reducing the number of tools and merging them significantly affects employees’ comfort and motivation.

Remember about digital exclusion

Usually, managers expect to immediately adapt to technology changes in the workplace. For many of them, it is without problems but some are reluctant or even defensive. It’s an issue especially for those who are not used to technology - e.g elder users, those who are partially digitally excluded. For them it’s not clear what has to be done first - they easily get confused or can overlook something. Especially when they have to handle several applications at once.

People do not like change and so innovations should be introduced gradually whilst considering needs and capabilities. Keeping all solutions in one interface is certainly a huge simplification.

Changes should result from identifying areas for improvement and employees should be involved in the process. It is worth asking for advice from consultants, and revising processes, rather than just transferring existing forms to the digital version. Otherwise, it can cause stress, reduce productivity and impact job satisfaction. Like every tool this one can also be used incorrectly.

Proper communication is also missing

The right digitisation can help on many levels. Efficient internal communication is crucial as deskless employees work remotely and are therefore often hard to reach. 85% of them admit the communication they receive on the job is not enough. They usually have no contact with their colleagues in other locations. 

Frontline workers have daily contact with customers and are confronted with new situations. They can be the first to notice new issues and react to them. If they can immediately share their observations and knowledge, it is to the benefit of their colleagues and the entire company.

One of the advantages of technology is that it enables communication in a structured way and gives the possibility to share knowledge (e.g. by creating a knowledge base). The comments and feedback can complete the tasks in the same tool. Additionally, the employer can provide an extra opportunity to learn in the form of micro-trainings.

Improving employee experience is essential

Thanks to technology, work should be easier and better organised, not more complicated. If the solutions implemented are tailored to the needs of employees, it really makes them feel recognised. Talk with your employees and let them express their expectations. Engage them in the decision-making process as much as possible. Go over processes together in order to make sure they are really efficient.

Integrate tech tools to save your employees from learning how to use multiple interfaces. In the case of the TakeTask system tasks are guiding the user step-by-step. All the communication is structured together with the guidelines. Therefore, the task can be quickly confirmed or the user can ask for feedback and receive it. This solution provides prioritisation of work and increases workplace comfort.

Things deskless staff would love

Every process and every task is very important for the operation of the organisation. However, with repetitive activities, it is easy to forget about this. They become routine and boring and do not give employees a sense of satisfaction and purpose. Employees have to understand exactly what and why they are doing and not just blindly click on the application. 

This is important for safety reasons - sometimes technology fails and a human’s reaction is necessary. It is important to keep it in mind and point out the purpose of tasks, their meaning, and appreciate employees. They require training that meets their needs.

For the same reason employees shouldn’t be excluded from the company’s information loop - they are part of a team. This shows appreciation and can be useful for a broad understanding of work processes.

Last but not least motivation can improve thanks to the basic elements of gamification. Users get points for task execution, participate in challenges or share ideas and best practices to the knowledge base etc. Additionally, managers can reward them bonuses resulting from the score.

Research has shown that it is an effective way to accelerate learning and improve knowledge retention. Organisations that use gamification have shown as much as a 48% increase in employee engagement and a 36% decrease in employee turnover. It’s also an easy way to show recognition (a huge motivator!) and is fun.

Technology can improve more than you think

Task management mobile apps are not just about increasing a company’s financial profits. They also effectively improve conditions and workplace culture. To achieve this goal it is important to remember that there are many aspects to be considered when redesigning the workplace into a digital and modern one. 

The speed of change in workplaces is constantly increasing. Technologies, standards and regulations are changing. A variety of tools and solutions are needed in order to deal with them but implementing them without a strategy can cause chaos. So that the implemented systems work effectively and provide user-friendliness, it is useful to think about their implementation in advance.

If we manage to introduce one main system with an easy interface first, and then integrate the rest of the necessary tools with it, digitisation will become much easier for everyone involved. A system like TakeTask not only addresses current needs, it also becomes a gateway for future solutions and ensures faster and better adoption of new technologies.

Find out more about the technology provided by TakeTask.