U.K. deskless workers feel considerably less valued at work compared with their desk-based colleagues. Just 43 per cent of U.K. deskless workers admit to feeling seen, valued and appreciated compared to 61 per cent of desk-based corporate employees. These are the findings from O.C. Tanner’s 2024 Global Culture Report which have been released to coincide with Employee Appreciation Day (1 March 2024).

The appreciation divide between U.K. deskless employees – such as construction workers, delivery drivers and frontline employees – and those corporate employees who spend most of their time behind a desk, highlights that many deskless workers are being failed by their organisations. Not only do they feel less valued, they also have lower levels of job satisfaction.

“Reaching and engaging deskless workers who tend to lack regular access to technology and tools is often seen as too difficult”, says Robert Ordever, European MD of workplace culture and recognition specialist, O.C Tanner. “These deskless workers will be the last to hear company news, struggle to complete basic administration, and lack influence and opportunities. But this status quo isn’t a given, it’s been allowed to take hold due to poor leadership and a mismanaged culture.”

The Report reveals that U.K. deskless workers will often feel ignored, heightened by a lack of ongoing recognition and appreciation for their efforts and results. And when recognition is given, in many cases it’s seen as insincere and not meaningful.

Ordever says, “It’s time to close the appreciation gap so that those employees who work away from a desk feel just as valued and recognised as the corporate, desk-based workforce. There simply can’t be a two-tier recognition system as it’s the deskless workforce who saves lives, and keeps organisations functioning and production lines moving. Retaining and engaging these workers is critically important.”

The Report recommends putting recognition at the heart of a company, ensuring that everyone is regularly appreciated. Leaders must be trained on giving recognition effectively; mobile-enabled technologies and tools must be made available to deskless workers; and managers must understand the best ways to reach their people, including using more traditional offline methods such as team meetings, thank you notes and notice boards.

Ordever adds, “Deskless workers can’t be made to feel inferior, but must be recognised and appreciated in meaningful ways. This will give them a strong sense of belonging, community and fulfilment, increasing the likelihood of them staying with the company for longer and performing great work.”