nurse helps elderly patient at hospital

How Digital Signage Can Engage Deskless Employees

Although deskless employees make up 80% of the global workforce, many managers overlook them with communication, engagement, and training. A deskless employee has no designated workspace or office and often lacks regular access to computers or email. Above all, the deskless workforce has limited contact with leadership, making it easy for management to forget about them.

However, when managers fail to provide deskless employees with information and training, the result is high turnover, employee disengagement, customer service issues, and reduced productivity. Fortunately, there are numerous technologies that companies can use to engage deskless workers. This includes digital workplace solutions, mobile technology, and social media. Digital signage has also emerged as an excellent tool to enhance internal communications with a deskless workforce.

doctors tending to patients

Communication Challenges Faced by Deskless Workers

Most deskless workers work on the frontline, but they often lack the right technology and training to do their jobs effectively. Some communication challenges faced by the deskless workforce include:

1. They are Often Hard to Reach

Deskless teams often work in hard-to-reach areas. For example, agricultural workers who work in the field all day are disconnected from employee communication channels. Other dispersed workers like home health aides and repair technicians are always on the move servicing customers in different locations. In other cases, deskless employees work in the company’s building but move from room to room or between sites. Examples of this are nurses and factory workers.

2. They Don’t Have a Company Email

Companies find it easier to communicate with desk employees as they look at computer screens with access to email all day. However, 83% of deskless workers lack a corporate email address and miss out on information that their desk colleagues can access. In addition to being inaccessible, email is inconvenient for deskless workers as they require instant alerts and feedback while in the field.

3. Outdated Communication Channels

Most smart workplace solutions, such as videoconferencing software and collaborative platforms, suit desk employees. In contrast, many companies still use telephone calls, paper checklists on cluttered bulletin boards, and face-to-face meetings to engage deskless employees.

Historically, organizations pinned posters on corkboards in break rooms and other areas where employees frequent. These bulletin boards are easy to ignore as they typically contain outdated and dull information.

Other companies offer frontline workers non-dedicated software designed for other purposes. In fact, a survey by emergence found that 60% of the 1532 respondents are dissatisfied with the provided technology, which is often outdated, slow, inefficient, and hard to use. For example, many companies give desktops and laptops to deskless team members, which are impractical for a workforce that needs compact devices like smartwatches, drones, and tablets with better technology.

4. They Feel Disconnected

upset and anxious employee

Frontline workers have been at the bottom communication pile for a long time. While their office-based peers use Slack, Microsoft Teams, intranets, email, mobile apps, and other communication channels, deskless teams lack tech-forward tools to collaborate with colleagues and communicate with managers. As a result, deskless staff feel disconnected from the company culture and are more likely to quit for a more engaging work environment.

How Digital Signage Improves Communication With Deskless Employees

A digital signage system features digital displays that show different types of visual content, such as video, animations, live TV, and menus. You can place these screens in front of deskless employees in the breakroom, manufacturing floor, hallways, sales floor, or warehouse to display critical updates.

In this way, team members don’t have to fumble with mobile devices to read emails or log onto the company’s intranet. Instead, they simply glance at the digital screens and engage with company news, safety instructions, and entertainment.

The ease of updating digital signs is among the most impressive benefits of this technology. Digital screens are powered by robust media players and cloud-based digital signage software with auto-refresh and scheduling capabilities. Furthermore, you can integrate the digital signage system with data systems like POS, ERP, Power BI, and Salesforce to show real-time metrics and KPIs.

Digital signs engage deskless employees from numerous industries, including:

1. Manufacturing

Many plant workers don’t have access to computers or email during shifts. Indeed, most managers discourage the use of a mobile phone while a factory worker is on the floor. In any case, employees are unlikely to hear the ring of a phone on the noisy assembly line.

Fortunately, digital signage links the office to the factory floor, via dynamic content on vibrant digital screens. You can project key metrics and track real-time KPIs to let employees monitor workflows.

Commonly, factory managers hire seasonal and temporary workers who feel disconnected from the team. With digital signage, you can recognize the contributions and milestones of deskless employees and enhance employee satisfaction in the workplace. In addition, display safety instructions to improve safety on the factory floor.

2. Healthcare

Hospitals disseminate a lot of information to staff, from emergency duty calls, shift changes, guidelines, and safety tips. While doctors, nurses, and support staff work inside the healthcare center, they are constantly on the move. This makes it challenging to communicate with traditional channels.

Digital signage is the perfect communication platform as it reaches healthcare staff in breakrooms, hallways, conference halls, and lobbies. Essentially, digital signs provide staff with the information to do their jobs effectively.

dentist and assistant tending to employees

The technology was incredibly empowering during the pandemic as it kept employees up to date with fast-evolving health protocols. Since visual communication has a higher retention rate than print media, your employees only need to glance at the screens to follow company news.

3. Retail

Digital signage is the key to effective communications in retail stores. To start, digital screens in break rooms, storerooms, and other staff areas display crucial company information. Gone are the days of outdated memos on a forgotten back wall.

Next, digital signage is an excellent system to entertain retail workers with social media feeds from platforms like Instagram and Linkedin, live videos, movies, and sports. Other content ideas to enhance the employee experience include images from product showcases and company workshops, Slack chats, building directories, and customer reviews.

4. Transportation

Transportation companies, like train stations, airports, cruise lines, bus terminals, and trucking firms, can leverage digital signage to improve corporate communications. Since most transportation teams are always on the move, you need eye-catching and impactful communication mediums to engage deskless employees in between shifts.

Thankfully, vivid presentations about safety, company policies, and customer service on bright screens enhance employee engagement and reinforce training. Further, interactive digital signage kiosks in employee lounge areas encourage two-way communication, where employees give feedback and sign up for company initiatives.

5. Hospitality

Digital signs create exceptional guest experiences in hotels and restaurants. However, signs will also revolutionize internal communication in your establishment. They can display quick notices, productivity metrics, procedural changes, and company news. Consequently, your facility’s operations will be more efficient, and staff will stay motivated.

Digital signs are also great mediums to recognize employee contributions and events like birthdays and anniversaries. For instance, you can display a slideshow of team photos and include fun personal facts about remote workers. This makes them feel connected to their peers.

In Conclusion

man in construction giving direction to his employees

Deskless employees may not sit in front of a computer all day, but they also need to know what goes on in the company. Since digital signage can reach employees wherever they are, it is the ideal medium to include in your communication strategy. You can furnish the break room, hospital emergency room, factory floor, conference halls, lounge areas, and sales floor with eye-catching digital screens to engage and inform deskless employees. Ultimately, digital signage results in a more connected workplace.

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