Connecting with remote and deskless workers

21st May 2024


It’s time for the next issue of our Transformation & Change newsletter!

We are focusing this month’s newsletter on the topic of:

đź”— Connecting with remote and deskless workers đź”—

 What we cover: Communication trends for deskless workers; how to engage remote and deskless employees: a Q&A with Laura Sánchez, Head of Internal Communications at Tinkle; why remote workers are feeling disconnected from their company mission; dates to put in your diary; and a suggested communications approach for reaching the hard to reach.

Did you know?

According to Forbes, deskless workers make up 80% of the global workforce*.

Yet, this majority of workers face significant communication challenges. Research found that 40% of deskless workers feel out of touch with management, 44% deemed communications content from corporate as “irrelevant”, and 30% expressed that internal communications got in the way of performing their jobs**.

*Forbes, 2022

**Forbes, 2022

The bottom line

With deskless workers representing such a significant portion of the global workforce, it’s imperative to actively engage this demographic to boost employee engagement and in turn, enhance business performance.

These statistics underscore the pressing need for internal communications strategies specifically tailored to deskless workers to ensure that they feel connected, informed, and valued within the organisation. By prioritising communication channels and methods that resonate with deskless workers, companies can enhance engagement and ultimately drive better business outcomes.


We interviewed Laura Sánchez, Head of Internal Communications at Tinkle, on how to engage remote and deskless employees.

How do you suggest tailoring communication strategies to accommodate the diverse needs and preferences of remote and deskless employees?

Effective communication strategies for remote and deskless employees require a multifaceted approach. First, use a variety of communication tools to ensure accessibility, such as mobile-friendly platforms for instant messaging and video calls that support both high and low bandwidth environments. Secondly, establish regular check-ins and virtual meetings to foster inclusivity and engagement. Lastly, be mindful of time zones and work schedules to optimise the timing of communications and meetings. This approach helps to create an inclusive environment that respects and addresses the unique circumstances of all employees.

What are some common misconceptions organisations have about managing fully remote teams, and how do you address them?

A common misconception is the belief that remote workers are less productive and harder to manage. To address this, establish clear goals and performance metrics that are communicated transparently to all team members. Implementing robust project management tools and regular feedback sessions can also enhance visibility and accountability. Encouraging an organisational culture that values output over activity helps dispel doubts about productivity and fosters a more trusting and effective management approach.

How do you ensure that deskless workers have access to important company information and updates in a timely manner, especially those without regular access to digital services?

It’s crucial to use a blend of digital and non-digital communication methods. Digital channels can include mobile-optimised platforms that send concise, visually engaging updates like infographics and short videos. For those without personal digital devices, install shared digital signage in common areas where updates can be displayed visually. Additionally, incorporate non-digital methods such as printed materials—newsletters, flyers, and bulletins—distributed in communal areas and during shift briefings to ensure that every employee, regardless of their access to technology, is kept informed and engaged.



Remote workers are feeling disconnected from their company mission

As remote work gains traction, insights from Buffer* reveal a clear preference among hybrid and remote workers, with 64% working fully remotely and 71% stating they prefer a fully remote structure. However, a report by Gallup** uncovers that despite employee engagement rising for remote workers, their connection to the organisation’s purpose is declining. The survey found a significant decline in purpose alignment, particularly among fully remote employees, with only 28% feeling strongly connected—a record low since 2011.

This growing disconnect could detrimentally impact business performance, from customer perceptions to productivity, and from quality of work to employee retention rates.

How internal comms can bridge the gap

To address this challenge, it is crucial to use feedback mechanisms to understand the root causes of the disconnect. Internal communicators can then take several strategic steps. Firstly, they can invest more resources into effectively communicating and explaining the company’s purpose, to ensure that it resonates with the remote workforce. Secondly, they should work to gain the support of leaders and managers, as they act as influential role models who can actively demonstrate behaviours that align with the company’s purpose and reinforce the purpose among remote teams. Thirdly, internal comms teams should consider implementing mechanisms to reward behaviours that align with the company’s purpose, thus reinforcing its importance among remote workers.

In doing so, communications can help bridge the gap between fully remote workers and the organisation’s purpose, ensuring that remote employees feel connected and motivated to contribute meaningfully to the company’s success.

*Buffer, 2023

**Gallup, 2023

Key dates for the diary

IoIC Festival 2024

12 – 13 June 2024, Tewinbury, United Kingdom

Hosted by the Institute of Internal Communications (IoIC), this event focuses on trends shaping work, ranging from the impact of AI and technology, to the changing nature of employment and what work means and feels like. It brings together internal comms professionals to share experiences and collectively work to guide leaders and stakeholders to consider the impact of their business decisions on their people. Link to website

Real Impact, Real Results Conference

27 June 2024, London

This event brings together industry leaders and internal communications specialists to share practical insights to help elevate internal comms strategies in 2024. The conference covers topics such as connecting and engaging employees at all levels, maximising AI, tech and digital, and securing long-term senior stakeholder buy-in. Link to website

Internal Communication Summit

30 June – 2 July 2024, Berlin

The conference connects leaders and industry experts from across the world to discuss the latest trends, challenges and solutions in employee communications – from using AI to enhance your content strategy to creating engaging virtual events in a post-pandemic world. Link to website

Reaching the hard to reach

Unlike office-based employees, deskless workers often lack regular access to company emails or intranet platforms, making traditional communication methods ineffective. Internal communications practitioners therefore play a pivotal role in connecting with deskless workers, ensuring they remain informed, engaged, and aligned with organisational goals.

Our approach

Consider the channel: Evaluate the most effective communication channels for reaching deskless workers based on their work environments and daily routines. Acknowledge potential connectivity challenges by providing offline access to critical resources and announcements, e.g., printed materials, notice boards, and bulletin updates.

Equip managers as communication conduits: Empower team leaders and supervisors with the necessary resources to effectively communicate updates and initiatives to deskless workers, ensuring messages are cascaded accurately and efficiently within their respective teams.

Use two-way communication channels: Foster engagement by providing avenues for feedback and interaction. Whether through surveys, chat forums, or Q&A sessions, encourage deskless workers to voice their opinions and concerns.

Make leaders visible: Encourage leaders to engage directly with deskless workers through roadshows, town hall meetings, or virtual platforms, demonstrating a genuine interest in their contributions. Visible leadership fosters trust, motivation, and a sense of belonging among deskless employees.

Celebrate successes: Highlight achievements and milestones within the organisation to foster a sense of pride and community among deskless workers. Recognising their contributions boosts morale and strengthens their connection to the company.

Get in touch

Please contact Adaora Geiger, Head of Transformation & Change, for more information on our services.

+44 7833 200401

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