Pandemic disconnects frontline workers from head office

A disconnect between workers on the frontline and those in company headquarters has taken place over the course of the pandemic according to research by software company Workplace.

The Deskless not Voiceless report, suggests that miscommunication is affecting safety and productivity.

Forty-three per cent of frontline leaders reported missing important information from head office at a time when information sharing is vital.

A majority of frontline leaders (59%) and HQ leaders (65%) also agreed that more regular communication between teams is needed.

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Frontline managers remain an untapped resource for key customer insight, as more than a fifth (23%) agreed they are rarely consulted on strategic business decisions.

This lack of input in decision-making and influence is impacting their perceived value, as only 48% of frontline leaders reported feeling valued by their business compared to 64% of their counterparts in HQ.

Julien Codorniou, vice president at Workplace, said: “If there is one thing the pandemic has taught us, it’s the vital role of frontline leaders and workers. They’re at the heart of every organisation, relaying vital information from HQ and delivering insights from the customer into the business.”

However Codorniou believed the research had shown that frontline leaders are struggling to be heard.

He added: “With consumer behaviours changing so rapidly in-line with government restrictions, empowering frontline managers with the right information and communication channels will not only make sure the health and safety of employees and the public is prioritised and maintained, but will also ensure businesses can operate productively.”

Due to the changes in communication brought about by the pandemic, the report suggested that the links between frontline workers and those in head office have begun to shift. Frontline said that the disconnect with HQ leaders has decreased from 56% to 22% during the pandemic.

A majority (58%) also feel that HQ leaders better understand their work challenges since working remotely.

HQ leaders did not report not feeling the same, with just 24% believing they better understand their frontline counterparts after working remotely.

The research for the report comprises the views of 4,500 frontline managers and 4,500 head office leaders across eight countries (UK, US, France, Norway, Brazil, Mexico, Australia and Japan). Surveys were conducted in February and August 2020.