Hybrid work and remote work are being spoken about by HR professionals and leaders across the world. However, beneath this chatter is a quiet grumbling about deskless workers.
Deskless workers are, as the name suggests, employees without designated workspaces and they make up a significant amount of the workforce. For example, deskless workers include hospitality, manufacturing, and transport staff.
Talking about the report, CEO of The Josh Bersin Company, Josh Bersin, noted: “Although the global deskless workforce makes up 80% of the working population, much of the recent media focus and research has been around remote and hybrid working arrangements available to relatively few employees.
“Because so little attention has been given to the working and personal needs of deskless employees, companies are now seeing mass resignations, unionization efforts, and scores of unfilled jobs.”
Key report findings
This new report develops on previous Bersin employee experience (EX) research and notes the seven components for creating excellent workplace experiences for deskless workers.
Key components include enabling human connections as well as time for creativity is important, as is training managers to better coach deskless workers.
The report also notes the importance of easy commutes, a feeling of belonging, and supporting the entire lives of employees. There is a need to upskill and build the careers of deskless workers as well.
Finally, deskless workers need to be brought into workplace missions and be given fit-for-purpose tools. Amity told UNLEASH about the importance of introducing new technology to help employees. In Amity’s case, it was communication tools.
Many of these factors apply to all workers, but it is clear that deskless specific strategies need to be implemented. This is particularly as work disconnection and lack of growth opportunities are cited as reasons for employees leaving jobs amid the ‘Great Resignation’.
Bersin’s research also includes case studies from Royal Caribbean and Wincome Hospitality, and it looks into the needs of employees that are not being taken care of.
The two organizations have faced challenges during the pandemic. Wincome Hospitality has been providing on-site vaccinations and testing, revisiting compensation and benefit plans.
While Royal Caribbean, which is ramping up its operations after being shutdown for almost two years, is focusing on employee communications, training, and reskilling.
The case study also covers the cruise company’s employee assistance and support programs, which included distribution of $21 million in relief funds to approximately 33,000 employees.
Speaking about the importance of the study, Josh Bersin commented: “Many things have changed since March 2020, and deskless workers are at the receiving end of many of the most difficult work challenges.
“In some industries such as transportation or hospitality, large numbers of people were furloughed or laid off. Healthcare employees had to face extreme health risk in coming to work.
“Designing a new work reality for these deskless workers is a lesson in empathy, listening, learning, and communication.
“Let’s build a new deskless reality that’s not a second class version of deskbound work but, instead is first class and second to none. We owe it to the people who power our lives.”