Skip to main content
Blue @ Work

3 things your deskless workforce needs now

And why they're important.

Without a physical office, company computer, or corporate email address, deskless workers — 2.7 billion of whom make up 80 percent of the global workforce External Site — can feel disconnected from important company communications and updates, particularly when it comes to information about their health benefits. Deskless workers are in the health care industry, on the factory floor, in retail stores, on construction sites, driving trucks, in restaurants and hotels, and in other on-the-go jobs.

See image description

Top industries for deskless Workers

  • Agriculture (858 million)
  • Education (226 million)
  • Health care (148 million)
  • Retail (497 million)
  • Restaurants and hospitality (122 million)
  • Manufacturing (427 million)
  • Transportation and logistics (189 million)
  • Construction (265 million)

Source: Emergence Capital

The problem? According to Staffbase, 85 percent of deskless employees External Site report the on-the-job communication they receive isn't enough. This is due to a number of reasons that include only rarely visiting the company office (if ever), not being able to easily access company news and updates, and trouble finding important documents or information on-the-go.

They may not be easy to reach, but communicating effectively can be crucial to increasing job satisfaction and preventing turnover. And, technology is key when it comes to empowering them with the information and tools they need to manage their health and well-being. If your business relies on any number of deskless workers, consider these areas when improving their overall employee experience.

1. Flexibility

According to a report from Quinyx External Site, a leading provider of workforce management solutions, 85 percent of today's workforce believes that a flexible work environment increases productivity. The biggest pain point among the deskless workforce surveyed in the report is scheduling and coordinating with other team members, with 41 percent of respondents spending up to five hours on schedules for themselves and other team members, and 51 percent waiting up to another five hours to hear back from a colleague — a significant waste of precious time every week.

Another thing that can take at least an hour or two during any given day for your employees? Doctor's appointments. With many medical offices only open during daytime business hours, it can be hard for your staff to make time for the care they need, especially if they don't have much flexibility in their schedules. While you can't add more hours to the day, you can look to technology to help your employees be productive during the day.

Virtual visits — like those through Doctor On Demand®, which is available to most Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield members — allow people to see a board-certified doctor anytime, using their smartphone, tablet, or computer if they have one. Virtual visits provide access to treatment for many common illnesses like the cold and flu, sore throats, fever, pink eye, and more. They save your employees the time it would normally take to drive to their provider's office, sit in the waiting room, have their appointment, and then get back to work.

And, virtual visits not only reduce your overall health care spending by keeping your employees out of the emergency room External Site, they also increase access to care and can improve chronic disease management.

2. Easy-to-use technology

If you have employees working out on the floor or on the road, the last thing you want is for them to be frustrated when trying to access important information about their benefits, often sent via mail or only accessible from a desktop computer. The good news: The right technology can improve your employees' experience and company culture, even for your deskless workforce.

Nearly 92 percent of millennials own smartphones, and more than half own tablets, according to Pew Research External Site. This generation is no stranger to technology, and they're looking for platforms and apps to see their health records, manage costs and easily shop around for different types of care. But, online tools need to be easy-to-use and convenient — especially when it comes to your employees' health benefits.

That's where myWellmark® comes in. It's a one-stop source for all of your employees' personalized health care information, available at no cost. Whether they are at home or on-the-go, they can use the app to quickly see how close they are to meeting their deductible or out-of-pocket maximums, review claims for any service, know how much a visit will cost before they go, search for nearby providers in their network, and more. Plus, all their benefits-related data is stored safely and securely for their peace of mind.

Every organization — including their employees — are unique. The key to a healthy workplace is delivering solutions based on your population data. Through the Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield's free well-being benefit, our wellness center delivers relevant, timely health content based on the unique needs of each employee’s interest and health profiles.

3. A focus on employees' health and well-being

Many industries that rely on deskless workers have some of the highest turnover rates, even up to 100 percent annually, according to venture-capital firm Emergence. One of the easiest ways to reduce turnover, disengagement and frustration is to increase job satisfaction. (Translation: If your employees feel valued at their job, they're much more likely to stay.) While there are several ways you can go about this, like introducing new benefits or adding opportunities for learning and development, here's one you may not have considered: focusing on your employees' health and well-being.

Addressing the overall well-being of your deskless employees may not be easy, but it's important for your bottom line. Not only are healthy employees happier, they're three times more likely to go the extra mile when they know their employer cares about them and their health. And, offering a well-being program to your deskless workforce can result in lower health-related costs, as well as more agility and resilience among your employees.

The Wellmark Wellness Center Powered by WebMD® ONE gives your employees the option to customize their wellness programs to fit their interests and reach their personal health and well-being goals, no matter where they are in their health and well-being journey. The Wellness Center is always accessible whether on myWellmark or the WebMD ONE mobile app.

However, it's important to note that well-being shouldn't focus solely on nutrition and fitness. Your employees' personal finance issues can impact their job performance External Site, lead to absenteeism and tardiness, and hamper their ability to focus. Wellmark partnered with SmartDollar® to provide your employees with an evidence-based, holistic plan to help them get to the root of their money troubles. For more information about adding SmartDollar to your suite of well-being programs? Visit the Wellmark Marketing Toolkit Secure Site to download the financial well-being overview flyer.

Let's get down to business

At Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, we know your business and have insights on your employees that you may not have in-house. Our team has the, tools and resources, tips and tricks, and health-specific information needed to keep your deskless workforce healthy, happy and engaged when they're on the job.

Questions? Contact your authorized Wellmark account representative or email us at blueatwork@wellmark.comSend Email.