In the past few years, we have seen increased adoption of technology designed for better communication and collaboration. With social media apps such as Twitter, Facebook, and WhatsApp, we’ve become an always-on, constantly engaged species. It seems that every moment of our lives is pulsing with digital connectivity — to the point of it becoming somewhat cult-like.

But as we transition from our personal apps over to our work communication tools, the distracting addiction to technology should be put to bed. Communication apps designed for the workplace are supposed to do a better job of connecting people so they can share the knowledge, information, and ideas that enable businesses to succeed. However, if not managed correctly or with clear protocols, constant communication can run the risk of becoming another source of noise that detracts from productivity.

The Deskless Divide

Organizations in deskless industries, such as manufacturing, hospitality, and communications, must ensure their workers who are in front of customers every day have all the information they need, when they need it, to conduct work efficiently. The goal is to keep employees engaged and increase customer satisfaction, ultimately driving more revenue and growth

For deskless workers, being on the job can often mean you are working with your hands most of the day. This could be installing a satellite dish on someone’s roof or delivering an expensive piece of equipment such as a tractor. Throughout the workday, it’s pretty much impossible to refresh and respond to emails and it’s even worse when there’s an explosion of notifications on your phone to mine through.

According to results from a recent survey conducted by Zogby Research, 74 percent of deskless workers believe that messaging and communications applications are critical to getting their job done. But how can companies ensure that the technology deskless workers use helps, rather than hurts, productivity?

Managing the Communication Floodgates

According to Erica Keswin, a leading workplace strategist, successfully building relationships depends on how you position communication technology and layout protocols for how it should be used. This could take the form of an enterprise-grade platform that allows you to manage team communications through designated groups. These “official groups” place employees into a particular team, region, or department where the conversations are highly focused, providing a way for employees to know exactly where to go for help.

Let’s take a quick example — rather than your front desk staff getting distracted by notifications from housekeeping, management could set up distinct Front Desk and Housekeeping groups that employees are automatically added to when they join. This way employees are no longer inundated with messages that aren’t pertinent to them, and if they do get a notification — they know it is important and needs a response.

With established protocols and administrative controls, communication can be more targeted and powerful, essentially cutting down the noise level. By putting technology in its place, rather than let it run rampant, you give employees easy, real-time access to the people, resources, and information they need.

Make Technology Work for You

It’s our core belief that communication is central to a successful business, and we need work tools that are designed for work. This is what we have created with Zinc Real-Time Communication — a platform that enables better communication across the board, among peers in teams as well as with management at corporate.

With Zinc, you effectively connect your workforce, but employees aren’t glued to their phones 24/7. It’s less a cult and more a culture of how work gets done. Teams focus on completing daily tasks, serving customers, and staying connected with coworkers and managers at the right times.

In this age of digital connectivity, there are two options: feed the addiction to technology, or put technology in its place. With Zinc, you can choose the latter.

ABOUT Kristen Wells

Kristen is the senior manager of corporate communications at PTC and editor of Field Service Digital. She is passionate about elevating the stories of women in field service and improving communication between the field and the office. Prior to ServiceMax, Kristen held content marketing roles at startups such as Zinc and cielo24. Kristen holds a B.A. in Communication with an emphasis on Professional Writing from the University of California, Santa Barbara.