6 Common Mistakes That Affect Employee Engagement Among Deskless Workers; And How to Solve Them

Engaging deskless workers is an essential part of any organization's success, but there are common mistakes that can hinder their engagement and, consequently, the company's growth. Here are the seven most common mistakes and practical solutions to address them. From communication challenges to overlooking safety concerns, in this article, we’ll explore how to optimize engagement among deskless employees.

Ruben Wieman

6 Common Mistakes That Affect Employee Engagement Among Deskless Workers; And How to Solve Them

Table of contents

Time to dive into the 6 most common mistakes made regarding deskless employee engagement, and their solutions:

1. Neglecting Communication Channels

Deskless workers often find themselves disconnected from the digital communication tools used at headquarters. This disconnect can lead to feelings of isolation and exclusion. Lacking access to timely updates and communication channels means deskless workers might miss critical information or policy updates, impacting their job satisfaction and performance.

Effective communication is the foundation of a well-functioning organization. It ensures that every employee, regardless of their work environment, stays informed, engaged, and connected. Neglecting communication channels reduces productivity and can have severe consequences in terms of safety in some industries.

One effective solution to address this issue is the implementation of a dedicated internal communication platform designed for deskless workers. This platform can provide real-time updates, share important information, and enable employees to communicate with each other and management seamlessly. With their own mobile devices, workers can access shift schedules, menu updates, safety guidelines, and customer feedback, ensuring they are well informed and engaged in their roles.

This improved communication not only enhances productivity and customer service but also promotes a sense of belonging and teamwork among deskless workers. It can lead to better job satisfaction, employee retention, and ultimately boost the overall success of your business.


2. Lack of Recognition

Deskless workers are often the face of your organization, interacting directly with customers and clients. However, their contributions can easily go unnoticed. This can lead to disengagement and reduced morale. Deskless employees who consistently provide good customer service may become disheartened if their efforts aren’t recognized. Implementing recognition programs that highlight their hard work can boost their morale and motivation.

Recognition isn’t just a pat on the back; it’s a powerful tool for employee engagement. When deskless workers feel appreciated and valued for their efforts, they’re more likely to go above and beyond in their roles.

For instance, in a bustling restaurant setting, waiters and bartenders are the frontline providers of excellent dining experiences. However, the high-paced and demanding nature of the industry can sometimes result in their efforts going unnoticed by management. This lack of recognition may lead to employees felt neglected, disengaged, and, consequently, this will lead to a decline in customer service and satisfaction.

On the contrary, the implementation of employee recognition programs like “Employee of the Month”, or other rewards to acknowledge and celebrate their hard work can have a significant impact. It not only boosts their morale but also reduces staff turnover rates, ultimately leading to enhanced guest experiences.

If you would like more inspiration on how to recognize your deskless employees make sure to check our blog post ‘’The Art of Recognition: How to Motivate and Reward Retail Employees.

3. Inadequate Training and Development

Providing minimal training  can result in frustration and disengagement. For instance, in the retail industry, when employees receive only basic instructions on operating the cash register or handling complaints, it can lead to errors in transactions and potential losses. Investing in comprehensive training for these employees not only improves their skills but also conveys the organization’s dedication to their professional growth and success within the company while ensuring the safety and efficiency of both the employees and the business.

Training and development should be seen as investments instead of extra expenses. Imagine a group of delivery drivers employed by an e-commerce giant. If these drivers receive inadequate training on handling delicate or perishable goods, it can lead to damaged products, customer complaints, and reduced job satisfaction.

However, if the company invests in comprehensive training programs that teach drivers how to handle various types of goods safely, it not only reduces incidents of damaged products but also empowers drivers to excel in their roles. This investment leads to higher engagement, lower turnover rates, and improved customer satisfaction.

To further explore the power of training and development as an investment in employee success in the digital age, check out our blog post What is eLearning, and how do you use it for employees in the workplace.

An example of the internal communication and digital learning environment of Optisport

4. Ignoring Work-Life Balance

Deskless workers often work demanding, irregular schedules and long shifts. Neglecting their work-life balance can lead to burnout and decreased engagement. For example, delivery drivers constantly pushed to meet tight deadlines without consideration for their personal time may become disengaged over time. Offering flexible scheduling options and encouraging time off is crucial for their well-being.

Work-life balance isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a vital component of employee well-being and engagement. Failure to address this aspect can lead to a range of negative consequences, both for the individual and the organization.

Neglecting the importance of work-life balance can have detrimental effects on both employees and the business. When employees face long, irregular hours and insufficient time for personal life, it can result in physical and mental exhaustion, leading to reduced productivity, increased absenteeism, and higher turnover rates. Furthermore, businesses may encounter significant operational challenges, as fatigued employees are more prone to errors and accidents, affecting customer service quality or logistics efficiency.

To mitigate these issues, forward-thinking companies prioritize work-life balance as a key part of their strategy. They achieve this by implementing reasonable working hours, offering flexible scheduling, and providing employees with adequate rest periods. By doing so, these companies not only enhance employee well-being but also boost engagement, productivity, and safety, ultimately ensuring the success and longevity of their business operations.

5. Disregarding Feedback

Deskless workers have valuable insights into the day-to-day operations of organizations. Failing to listen to their feedback can result in missed opportunities for improvement. Think about restaurant staff who interact with customers regularly. Ignoring their suggestions for menu improvements or service enhancements can hinder the restaurant’s success. Creating channels for them to voice their concerns and actively act upon their input is essential.

Feedback is a two-way street that leads to continuous improvement. Organizations that disregard feedback, risk stagnation, and missed opportunities.

On the other hand, organizations that actively listen to feedback and take corrective action not only resolve operational issues but also show employees that their opinions matter. This fosters a culture of engagement and continuous improvement, where employees feel valued and empowered to contribute to the organization’s success.

Employee surveys offer a valuable way to receive feedback from your employees. But where to start? Well, we’ve written The Ultimate Employee Survey Guide to Getting the Most from Your Workforce. It provides useful insights and strategies for optimizing employee feedback and driving your organization’s success.

6. Overlooking Safety Concerns

Prioritizing the safety and well-being of deskless workers not only shows care but also fosters trust and engagement. Neglecting safety protocols or failing to provide adequate safety equipment can have severe consequences for their physical well-being.

In the logistics industry, a common safety concern is the improper handling of heavy packages, which can lead to physical injuries. Deskless workers tasked with lifting and moving such packages risk strains, sprains, and other injuries when they do not follow proper lifting techniques.

To mitigate these safety risks, organizations must take proactive steps. E.g. by implementing eLearning modules focused on safety, such as proper lifting techniques, can empower employees with the knowledge and skills they need to handle heavy packages safely. Additionally, providing the necessary equipment, such as lifting aids and personal protective gear, and conducting regular safety audits can go a long way in creating a safer work environment. By investing in these safety measures, companies not only protect their employees but also demonstrate their commitment to a secure workplace, fostering trust and engagement among deskless workers who feel valued and protected.

In Conclusion

Engaging your deskless workforce goes beyond improving productivity; it’s a way to show appreciation for their hard work and dedication. By avoiding these common mistakes, you can foster a more engaged and satisfied deskless team. Remember, deskless workers are vital to the success of your organization. Addressing their unique challenges and nurturing a culture of engagement can create a more inclusive and dynamic workplace where everyone thrives.

In today’s rapidly evolving work landscape, organizations must adapt to the needs of their deskless workers. Investing in communication, recognition, training, work-life balance, feedback mechanisms, safety protocols, and information accessibility is a strategic imperative for sustainable success.

If you’d like to prevent these mistakes from happening, it’s good to start by looking at your own employee experience and spot improvements. But where to start? We’re here to help! We’ve created an Employee Experience Canvas to help you get a clear overview of your current employee experience and spot room for improvement. Request you free copy here:


Ruben Wieman

Ruben Wieman

Ruben Wieman is the founder of Oneteam. He mainly writes about the future of deskless employee experience and key frontline HR trends. Fun fact about Ruben: He started his professional career as a deskless employee at supermarkets and a pizza delivery guy. The frustrations he encountered lead him to build an employee experience app focused on making the deskless workforce successful and engaged.

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