If you’ve left the house today to get groceries, drop your kid off at school, visit the doctor, or make a purchase, odds are you interacted with a frontline worker. Even if you stayed home, maybe you said hello to your mail carrier or accepted a delivery.

Roughly 70 percent of the American workforce is in frontline positions, filling essential, customer-facing roles. They’re on the front lines, quite literally, of the industries making the world go round, including:

  • Healthcare
  • Education
  • Manufacturing and construction
  • Retail and customer service
  • Hospitality and food preparation
  • Public safety
  • Fulfillment and delivery

In the past few years, the frontline field has expanded as gig work like ridesharing and food delivery services becomes more prevalent. Frontline employees are more likely to have hourly, shift, or part-time positions, sometimes working multiple jobs to make ends meet.

Communication is central to the success of all frontline workers, primarily since many serve as the public’s first point of contact with their organization. Others, like construction or public safety workers, may require reliable communication methods for safety issues.

Equipping these essential employees with modern, intuitive, and durable communications tools enables them to deliver exceptional service, make informed decisions, and stay connected to their coworkers. As the frontline landscape continues to expand and evolve, investments in collaboration and communications solutions are central to supporting these critical roles.

Engaging the Frontline

COVID-19 brought the importance of frontline workers into focus, recognizing their unique challenges as part of their daily routines. It also highlighted the circumstantial differences between essential employees and those with more traditional desk jobs.

Another term for frontline workers is “deskless employees,” meaning their tasks are often carried away from a centralized office space. Think of a retail associate on a store floor or a grocery cashier. Others, like rideshare drivers or construction workers, might not have a permanent location.

They’ve also missed out on the benefits of flexible scheduling. While many employees with desk jobs now have the option of hybrid or remote schedules, most frontline workers must be on-site, wherever possible.

This lack of flexibility can lead to lower engagement. On-site, non-remote-capable employees have the lowest levels of engagement, dropping to 25 percent in 2024 from 30 percent in 2019.

However, the same study found that some communication can go a long way in boosting engagement. Eighty percent of employees who reported receiving meaningful feedback said they felt fully engaged at work—no matter their location or how many days they were on site.

6 Essential Communications Features for Frontline Workers

Effective communication is vital for frontline employees to excel in their dynamic work environments. However, their needs differ significantly from those of traditional, office-based employees.

Communication requirements vary widely from job to job. A clerk in a hotel lobby may use very different tools than a laborer on a manufacturing floor. No matter where they are, frontline workers require solutions that integrate seamlessly into their unique workflows.

The ideal unified communications and collaboration (UCC) solution isn’t just about making calls or sending messages (although it must do that, too) – it should have features that enhance frontline workers’ efficiency, keep them connected, and empower them to do their best work.

These capabilities include:

1. AI-augmented Capabilities

AI can provide critical support for employees in customer service roles. AI-powered chatbots can handle basic client interactions or assist human agents with conversation histories, sentiment analysis, or even suggesting courses of action.

2. Seamless Connectivity

In professions where time is of the essence, like nursing or public safety, the ability to pick up a phone and reach the right person can make a big difference. Simplified call trees and emergency response solutions make critical calls faster for healthcare and safety workers.

3. Hardware for Demanding Environments

The frontline workplace demands hardware that is as durable and easy to use. Whether on a warehouse floor, hospital, or construction site, DECT handsets and other devices must be high-performing and long-lasting.

4. Location-agnostic Systems

Frontline workers may not have fixed office locations, but that doesn’t mean they can’t have consistent communication experiences. Providing on-the-go tools for on-site, remote, or mobile employees means they can efficiently work wherever they are.

5. Multimodal Communications

Sometimes, a video call is faster than a text chat. Collaboration and communications software seamlessly switches between video, voice, and text, allowing colleagues to work together efficiently.

6. Industry-specific Integrations

Frontline professionals have particular needs, so it’s essential to have a communications partner who understands the unique requirements of each industry and can tailor their solutions to their customers.

Mitel: At the Forefront of Frontline Communications

Choosing the right communications partner for your frontline workers is crucial. It’s about more than just picking a provider; it’s about finding one that understands your organization’s unique challenges and needs. An experienced provider like Mitel not only brings feature-rich tools to the table but also brings years of experience with frontline workflows, pain points, and opportunities for optimization.

Frontline work is constantly evolving. Mitel offers flexible, industry-specific unified communications, collaboration, and contact center solutions that grow and develop alongside your business to ensure your workforce always has the latest technology to do their jobs.

When frontline operations require multiple systems, seamless integration is vital to efficient workflows. Mitel supports open and extensible API integrations with critical business apps to create a comprehensive communications ecosystem that gives employees the information they need when they need it.

Mitel’s market-leading DECT handsets are the prime solution for essential employees on the go. As elegant as they are rugged, the 700d DECT series features extended battery capacity, ambient noise filters, and secure communications. No matter where they are or what they’re doing, frontline workers will have an efficient workspace at their fingertips.

Mitel helps businesses tackle the challenges of frontline work. From secure, high-quality communications and user-friendly collaboration software to durable hardware with easy installation and reliable customer support, Mitel has what it takes for frontline success.