Using Technology To Remove The Digital Divide In Your Non-Desk Based Workforce

The tools available to communicate with a desk-based workforce are extensive. And if you happen to be located in the same office as them, you also have the luxury of talking to them face-to-face too. And it’s not just about communication. The ability to monitor performance, set tasks and measure employee engagement is easy to achieve when your workforce is plugged into a computer all day. With the right software, you can provide your staff with a portal in which information is shared, gathered and analysed.

But it’s not the same for those not attached to a desk day in and day out. Individuals such as drivers, factory line workers, construction teams, hospital workers and those in the retail industry, to name just a few examples, make up a significant proportion of the UK’s workforce and they don’t sit at a desk at all. Nor do they have access to any form of technology other than a phone. At intermittent points throughout the day.

So an intranet doesn’t work.

A big long email or newsletter doesn’t work either.

And if your workforce is hundreds or thousands of people, a phone call or face-to-face meeting is out of the question too.

This creates a significant digital divide that can lead to:

  • Miscommunication
  • Disengagement
  • Low productivity
  • High staff turnover
  • And worse….

So is there a solution to ensure that your non-desk based workforce benefit from the same communication, performance management and work tools that your desk-based workers can access so easily?


There’s a common misconception that technology and software can only be delivered in a limited capacity on a mobile. This is despite the fact that some of today’s mobile phones are the most advanced computers available. There is literally an app for every task, tool and activity imaginable so why is it so hard to believe that there isn’t one for workforce communications and management too?

The vital part of this of course is to ensure that ALL your employees are provided with the SAME tools, messages and features. This means you can’t use one service for non-desk-based workers and another for those working from PCs and laptops in your offices.

The software you choose needs to work effectively and consistently across all channels – phone, tablet, computer.

Furthermore, it’s no good using one form of software for communication, another for performance management and another for timesheets. Sure, a lot of companies do that but then they’re missing out on the benefits of advanced analytics, real-time reporting and a full picture of their company’s ‘health’ i.e. employee engagement, productivity and awareness at all times.

To help illustrate why this is so important, we’ve created a scenario in which a company is using different tools for its activities and workforce.


Scrappy Metals is a manufacturer of car parts and comprises two large factories and an office. It has 900 staff in total and due to the three sites being spread across the country, it’s hard for the management team to meet with everyone regularly.

For communications, they choose an intranet provider who comes highly recommended and within weeks, their office workers are happily keeping themselves up to date with company news, processes and team announcements.

The teams based at each factory don’t have the luxury of being able to access the new intranet platform, so one of the team prints off the news weekly and it is shared around to a few of the people once or twice before they all lose interest.

Urgent announcements concerning the company are therefore often missed by those in the factories and last-minute changes to jobs or tasks – particularly changes to location and time – are received too late, thereby causing problems.

Fortunately, although company communication isn’t something the factory workers can access, they do have on-site training fairly frequently and engagement is high as a result of this personal development.

Conversely, the office staff don’t get such training but have heard what their colleagues are getting, via word of mouth, and it’s creating unease and an ‘us and them’ environment.

Added to the frustration of limited to no training support, the office workers have a hard time gathering timesheet information and task updates from the factories due to there being no computers there. Some of the staff use one timesheet app, others use another, and neither is compatible with the online system that the office has. As a result, productivity isn’t measured, hours are being recorded incorrectly and the appraisal process becomes impossible to complete accurately. Not only that but jobs fall behind and clients grow unhappy.

Before long, the three sites are working as if they’re separate companies despite the investment made in the different tools to try and make things better.

Hopefully, this example has shown you why one phone-compatible tool for all your performance management, internal communications, instant alerts, time and work management is key.

StaffCircle provides this. Accessible from any web browser or phone, StaffCircle is a staff engagement platform that digitises sentiment, awards, communication, training, ideas, tasks, holidays and contact details and delivers it to staff via the smartphone in their pocket. This reduces staff attrition and creates greater employee engagement, empowerment and productivity.

Why deploy multiple tools when one will do? Book a free demo today.

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