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The deskless divide: Why employers need to pay them better attention

Given the labour market situation across many sectors, employers cannot afford not to pay attention the deskless majority.

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File media-photo courtesy © Microsoft
File media-photo courtesy © Microsoft

Some new findings and data about deskless work has been issued by the firm Skedulo, captured in the report ‘2021 State of Deskless Work’. Skedulo is a San Francisco-based startup offering scheduling solutions, and the new report was released on October 19, 2021.

Skedulo’s findings are pertinent as society enters an age of unprecedented employee empowerment and businesses face challenges retaining workers due to increasingly competitive talent markets, the ongoing impacts of the so-called ‘The Great Resignation’ and the allure of flexible employment options.

The report finds that deskless work is highly dynamic, with 92 percent of organizations reporting their deskless workers’ jobs are regularly cancelled, distributed across many locations, composed of many different work types, each requiring a specific set of worker skills, attributes, and formal certifications.

For the less flexible firms, organizations with a high volume of deskless workers are lagging behind in digital transformation. It was found that 6 percent of respondents rely entirely on digital processes for deskless work, while 44 percent of organizations rely on paper-based processes half of the time or more.

Technology is important for both the worker and productivity, yet firms are investing less than one percent of their enterprise software resource on deskless workers, according to an assessment by Forbes.

In terms of command of the job role, the survey found that deskless workers lack autonomy and control. In that only 6 percent of organizations feel their deskless workforce is “very autonomous”, while less than one-in-ten deskless workers were found to have “a high degree” of control over their schedule and nearly one-in-three have low or limited control.

This is something that requires addressing, given the labour market situation across many sectors. Those economic areas that are seeing increasingly competitive labour markets need to value employer welfare and autonomy in order to retain workers in the firm.

According to the poll, although the value of autonomy is recognized, the employee experience ranks low among strategic priorities. With regard to this, 97 percent of organizations agreed to the statement that increased employee autonomy would improve retention, client satisfaction, performance, and market share.

Skedulo CEO Matt Fairhurst, in looking at the current state of deskless work across industries, explains there is a large disconnect between employers and deskless employees. Fairhurst thinks that businesses should pay attention to deskless workers to ensure their future business success.

Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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