Effective communication strategies for deskless teams

From promoting genuine and practical collaboration to enforcing clear communication, managing an organisation with deskless employees can present its own set of challenges. These challenges are even more prevalent for organisations that work within fast-paced, rapidly evolving industries. Deskless teams refer to frontline or field teams working outside a traditional office environment. They are often mobile, working on varied shift cycles on or off-site, and rely heavily on technology to stay connected and complete tasks. Effective team communication is crucial for any organisation to run smoothly, so how do you tackle this in dispersed teams? This blog will explore six strategies for effective deskless communication to help deskless teams stay connected and productive.

1. Choose the right communication tool

Choosing the right team communication tool is crucial for deskless teams. It’s essential to find a tool that is easy to use, works well on mobile devices and meets the team's specific needs. For instance, if you are required to touch base with employees individually, ensuring your workforce management software permits 1:1 messaging via mobile devices may be ideal. As they will already be using their workforce management app to check rosters and payslips, it makes sense to have communication channels built into the platform.

For more on the tools and techniques to capture the ‘voice’ of employees and promote a culture of open, transparent communication, read our blog.

2. Set clear expectations

Before you even begin the transition to deskless communication tools, establishing expectations and employee responsibility is key. Deskless teams should establish guidelines for when and how team members should check in with each other to promote a culture of communication. For example, team members should know how quickly they are expected to respond to messages and what communication channels are appropriate for different messages.

3. Avoid communication overload

Of course, communication overload can be overwhelming and counterproductive. Aim to establish guidelines for when and how often team members should communicate. Prioritising essential information such as health and safety updates and minimising information that is better conveyed face-to-face may go some way to limiting overload.

4.Use visual tools to convey detailed plans and forecasts

When it comes to deskless teams, it’s not uncommon for things to get lost in translation or forgotten in the pipeline. Visuals are a great way to communicate complex ideas and information. Managers of deskless teams can use software such as Humanforce Workforce Analytics, which provides helpful visuals like charts, graphs and diagrams to convey information quickly and efficiently. Visuals are especially useful for geographically dispersed teams that may not have access to the same information.

5. Create a solid training and support program

If an organisation has the expectation for their employees to adjust to a new set of digital tools, they must first ensure their team members can effectively use them. Ideally, the user interface will be intuitive and won’t require lengthy training sessions.

However, always ensure staff can access technical support if they encounter any issues. This can help ensure that everyone uses the same tools and minimises disruptions to daily tasks.

6. Schedule regular check-ins

Without traditional working arrangements, deskless work can bring on feelings of loneliness and impact motivation levels within your team.

Managers of deskless workers should schedule regular catch-ups or calls to discuss progress, address concerns and ensure everyone is on the same page. Whether they are face-to-face or virtual, these check-ins can be weekly, bi-weekly or monthly, depending on the team's needs. They can also present opportunities to organise social events to solidify a positive work culture.

How Humanforce can help

Humanforce has an easy-to-use mobile app that gives teams instant access to key information like rosters and shift changes.

It incorporates two key features purpose-built to enhance communication:

  • The “chat” function – this feature allows managers to chat one on one with an employee. This is important for filling rosters and making shift offers to suitable staff - not to mention for improving manager/employee relations. Employees can also message other team members directly.

  • The “notifications” function – this feature enables managers or administrative team members to broadcast information such as team events or staff updates to a larger group of people. Critical health and safety information can also be conveyed in this manner.

Senior staff can oversee all communications, which enhances visibility over what’s going on in their company while helping employees feel seen and heard.

About Humanforce

Humanforce is a leading provider of composable, best-of-breed workforce management, payroll and wellbeing solutions that simplify onboarding, scheduling, time & attendance, pay, employee engagement, and communication for frontline workforces. Founded in 2002, Humanforce has a 1700-strong customer base and over half a million users across a wide range of industries, including aged care, child care, hospitality, retail, local government and more. Today, we have offices across Australia, New Zealand, and the UK.

Our vision is to make work easier and life better by focusing on the needs and fulfilment of frontline workers and the efficiency and optimisation of businesses.