The importance of instant messaging for businesses with non-desk employees

Look around you. Whether you visit a hotel or a coffee shop or a retail store or pass by a construction site or get some delivery at your doorstep, one thing is pretty unmissable. In all these places, the majority of the staff you interact with are frontline workers. In other words, they are blue-collared employees who don’t work out of an office setup with desks, desktop computers, etc. 

They are also the firstline representatives from the brand you choose to engage with. A report says 73% of consumers claim customer service drives their purchasing decision. Therefore, these non-desk workers perform the most crucial duty: their level of service makes or breaks a customer’s relationship with a brand or outlet or agency. 

Now, let’s trace some steps back. When is the level of service highly impressive? When the frontline staff know about their job, tasks at hand, trade, company policy and customers. And when will they have sufficient knowledge about these? When someone communicates these to the employees in a smooth, timely and efficient manner.

And here starts our story.

Ignoring non-desk workers is foolish and costly

It’s an age-old problem. Desk workers have always outshone their field counterparts. They not only enjoy the best status and recognition but also the top advantages. This may have been okay a decade back but nowadays, it is not only archaic but also self-destructive.

Here’s why. The 2.7-billion-strong deskless workers form 80% of the global workforce today. And the numbers are continually on a rise. Common sense says organizations must shift their focus to this inevitable set of workers to turn things around. However, this 80% of the workforce gets to enjoy – believe it or not – only 1% of the total enterprise software funding! Can it get more ironical than this?

And when it comes to the vital aspect of communication, most of these non-desk workers stay looped out. They feel they are not a part of the gang as most of the office communication gets carried out via traditional channels like bulletin boards, emails and intranets. Most non-desk workers simply don’t have access to such channels. Around 45% of non-desk workers don’t have intranet access and 83%, corporate email address. No wonder motivation and engagement levels are always low among them. Which leads to a high turnover rate. 

This combination of broken communication and staff turnover hits the sacred bottom line hard. Lost productivity costs due to disengaged workforce in the US lies between $483bn and $605bn. Now that’s a reality check! Non-inclusion doesn’t pay.

Taking a hint, some organizations have taken “corrective measures”. They have ditched the traditional forms of communication and introduced enterprise communication networks like Slack and Yammer. Unfortunately, even this step comes with a lot of baggage. Enterprise tools like Slack and Yammer are primarily built by office workers for office workers. So the benefits largely go only to the desk workers. Bottomline: The non-desk workers still remain disconnected.

Expanding the loop with instant messaging

Here’s what the time is right for: instant messaging for businesses with non-desk workers. So far, the non-desk workforce sure has the ‘means’ (smartphones and other digital devices) and the ‘motive’ (need to be informed) but not the ‘message’ (inclusive and instant communication). Instant messaging is the perfect communication type for the deskless tribe because:

  • Like others, they have strong access to smart devices. So platform-compatibility is not a problem.
  • BYOD is the new norm in businesses. So instant messaging gets an official pat on the back.
  • They are always on the go. So communication must be instant.
  • They are used to the social media experience. So there’s no training effort or cost involved for instant messaging.

Instant messaging is win-win. 

For non-desk workers

  • It is easy and fast.
  • It is dependable, relevant and familiar.
  • It helps them stay connected with the rest of the organization.
  • This boosts employee morale and engagement.

For business leaders

  • It results in high engagement scores and greater productivity
  • It reduces miscommunication costs
  • It reduces turnover rates
  • Proper communication also means happier customers.

Top factors before taking the plunge

However, to ensure the experience does not go the wrong way, enterprises must keep certain factors in mind:

  • WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are also instant messaging. But the use of consumer messaging apps in an enterprise setup is highly avoidable as they are highly unsecure and distractful. Compliance, administration, ownership and metrics – all enterprise channel must-haves – are also limited in such consumer-first apps. According to a Google report, 68% of frontline workers who use WhatsApp or Messenger for work comms say they will stop if given access to internal communication tools.
  • An instant messaging platform is nothing if it does not loop in the entire workforce properly. Enterprise instant messaging apps must cut across all levels in an organization, from the CEO to the concierge. Additionally, onboarding should be easy and uncomplicated.
  • Instant messaging platforms that don’t go the extra mile won’t make the cut for sure. The perfect platform is one that packs in employee engagement and productivity tools along with communication solutions.

Barriers to instant messaging - and how to overcome them

Despite its pluses, there are businesses averse to instant messaging for business communication even today:

  • They still prefer to communicate with non-desk employees through bulletin boards, sticky notes, and sporadic calls — or through just a holler across the room. 
  • They are worried about security: “What if he quits and takes company data with him?” They are unsure about what to communicate: “Is it essential to inform the delivery guy about a change in company policy?” They are doubtful of the reception: “Will the office janitor read all messages sent to him?”
  • Instant messaging platforms that don’t go the extra mile won’t make the cut for sure. The perfect platform is one that packs in employee engagement and productivity tools along with communication solutions.

These businesses are not altogether blind to the benefits of instant messaging for deskless workers. It’s more of a mindset problem, really. To change a communication channel in enterprises, the work culture has to change first. Traditional enterprises have to depend on their change-drivers – leaders like CIOs, CXOs, etc. – to change the mindset.  

Unless the CXOs actively participate and lead by example, these barriers will persist. They need to spread the word about the benefits of instant messaging for business communication and make it the new cool. The C-suite should also bring in stronger compliance and ensure only relevant communication reaches the non-desk workers. Likewise, the CIOs should see to it that the tool they use is robustly secure and seamlessly compatible with multiple devices. Doesn’t really take magic, you see.

Impacting work-life balance and work culture can be true to a certain extent for desk workers. But instant messaging, and the treasures it brings along with it, is more of a blessing than a bane for frontline employees.

Instant messaging for non-desk workers with Groupe.io

Everything said and done, choosing the right technology for your organization is vital. Meet Groupe.io. It is an enterprise instant messaging platform that ticks all the right boxes when it comes to connecting the non-desk workforce. 

It is designed specifically keeping in mind the needs of the non-desk tribe. Onboarding is super-easy and does not require corporate email addresses. The frontline workers, most of whom do not have any office email address, can simply register using their personal email address or even mobile number.


Its social media like interface makes it relatable for deskless workers. Feeds-style, peer-to-peer and group-based
instant conversations make Groupe.io a hit with the frontline staff.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Groupe.io is highly secure. It comes with bank-level security with 256-bit AES encryption and TLS 2048-bit SSL certificate. The enterprise tool also offers biometric security, remote revocation and wipes, and several other security and compliance features.

To offer more than messaging, Groupe.io has built-in engagement tools like surveys, polls, recognition and ideasourcing. It also comes with productivity enablers like integration with third-party and internal work apps, digital checklists, task manager, and more.

Leading the way

It’s only today that we are talking about employee communication in terms of desk and non-desk workers. The lines between desk and non-desk are fast blurring. The future will see seamless communication among all employees, desk or non-desk, and there won’t be any need to write articles like this. Enterprise instant messaging will soon evolve as a culture within organizations that have a large number of non-desk workers. 

Groupe.io is a solid enterprise instant messaging platform that has a number of employee and business benefits on offer. It’s easy, engaging and productive. And strongly secure at the same time. But the best part? Everyone, and we mean everyone, is looped in.

Want to get the Groupe.io edge?

Start your free trial now or schedule a personalized demo to find out how you can get the most out of your non-desk workforce with Groupe.io. Any questions? Drop us a mail at info@groupe.io, and we'll be on it right away!