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Deskless workers being overlooked

There is a stark disparity between employees who are desk-based and those who are not, as those without are reportedly being excluded from employee engagement strategies.

A large majority (84%) of deskless workers, such as delivery drivers and nurses, feel they do not get enough direct communication from management, according to research by employee experience platform SocialChorus carried out among HR and internal comms professionals.

The research found that while 59% of respondents claimed to equally prioritise employee engagement for both office-based and deskless workers, a fifth admitted to focusing on employees in the office, and just 12% said they had prioritised those who work away from it.

Steve Herbert, head of benefits strategy at Howden Employee Benefits and Wellbeing, said keeping engagement high will be vital given the nation’s current economic challenges.

Speaking to HR magazine, Herbert said: “Every organisation needs to now consider how they will maximise their output once COVID-19 restrictions are finally lifted.

“There has historically been a gulf between how workplace communications are delivered to different groupings, and there has always been a genuine issue with delivering messages to those sections of a workforce that are working remotely and/or on-site.”

Herbert said the use of personal technology, particularly employees' personal mobile phones via secure log-in, has helped bridge many of these gaps over the last 12 months.

“This has been so important given that human interaction has been very much reduced,” he said.

Remote working during the pandemic has also shown employees can continue to feel engaged and motivated, Herbert said. 

He added: “In the world of employee benefits we are seeing increasing use of platforms and apps to promote messages, engage workers and allow employees to access their benefits offering remotely.

“This trend is likely to accelerate post-pandemic, and the savvy employer will look to utilise benefits technology to bridge any communication divide between workers wherever they might be based.”

The research for SocialChorus was carried out online by Opinion Matters between 23 November 2020 and 6 December 2020 among a panel of 750 chief information officers and 752 HR/internal communications respondents.

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