break room

If you spend the majority of your day sitting at a desk and have your own computer at work, you likely live in what we call “the knowledge-worker bubble”.

Inside this bubble, you are a desk-based worker, and it’s likely that you have had a @company.com email address since 1999. Your employer may even provide you with a phone or reimburse you for use of your device. You have multiple (and sometimes too many) digital tools at your disposal to receive information about your job.

Your “knowledge worker bubble” represents 30-40% of the workforce.

By and large, you are well-connected. Most SaaS technology built in the last 10 years has focused on meeting your needs in your desk-based job. It is likely that you have considered taking a “digital detox” vacation and you routinely force yourself to disconnect for a few hours given that you are so digitally connected.

But what about the remaining 60-70% of the workforce?

They don’t sit at a desk all day, and weren’t assigned a computer on their start date. Many of them don’t have access to a @company.com email address, and they have little to no digital connection to the company.

If you can take yourself out of “the knowledge worker bubble,” you will quickly discover that these employees have radically different needs and expectations. While you may be trying to figure out how to reduce and better organize your email, this workforce is still waiting to have its basic communication needs met. In many ways, these employees have been left out of the digital revolution.

If you are a knowledge worker looking for technology to help improve employee communications, the conversation might go like this: “Let’s buy another tool to …

  • … help us collaborate better
  • … encourage cross-functional communication more
  • … further reduce email
  • … better organize our strategy

Your goals will include words like better, more, and further because you will be focused on incremental improvement.

In stark contrast, buying technology for the rest of the labor market sounds more like this: “Let’s find a tool that can help us …

  • … talk to our hourly workforce for the first time
  • … communicate in real-time with non-desk workers for the first time
  • … put key work-related information on a mobile platform for the first time

Can you see the difference?

When it comes to technology that streamlines communication, desk-based knowledge workers are simply looking for a better mousetrap — something that will improve what they already have. Hourly and non-desk employees are still waiting to have their basic needs met.

Without their basic communication needs met, employees are out-of-the-loop, stressed, and making uninformed decisions on a daily basis. This lack of communication leads to poor engagement, turnover, safety threats, and costly mistakes.

Do those sound like things that your organization can sustain? It’s certainly not the path to a healthy workforce and a more successful organization.

Fortunately, the proliferation of the smartphone (now owned by 74% of US adults) is bringing digital connection to your front-line, hourly, non-desk workforce. Tools like Red e App are empowering organizations to communicate digitally with this workforce for the first time, and the results are incredible.

We’re learning that communication is not a “nice to have” — it is directly tied to retention and productivity and has a significant impact on your bottom line. Technology investments for your hourly non-desk workforce are long overdue; they deserve the same digital connection at work that you take for granted every day.