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The State of the Deskless Workforce 2020

The new international report takes a deep-dive into the deskless workforce's work conditions, and what they need from an employer to be productive, loyal and happy. 

Each year, thousands of surveys assess the health and happiness of office-based employees. 

But what about the deskless workforce? These people are part of the 2.7 billion workers worldwide who keep us healthy, restock our supermarkets’ shelves and transport us. As recent events have shown, they are also critical to keeping economies running and are the glue that sticks our global society together. 

Keeping them healthy and well are, therefore, integral ingredients for creating a stronger, happier world, and successful and sustainable businesses.

The new international report The State of the Deskless Workforce reviews precisely this and takes a deep-dive into the deskless workforce's work conditions, and what they need from an employer to be productive, loyal and happy. 

The report surveyed 12 000 workers in the US, UK, Netherlands, Germany and Nordics, working in industries such as retail, hotel and food services, healthcare, transportation and logistics before, and during, the Covid-19 pandemic.

Key findings

Speaking after seeing the results of the survey, our CEO and Founder, Erik Fjellborg, said: 

“Deskless workers are the backbone of the global economy, and are frequently be the ‘forgotten workforce,’ forced to manage with the little support they are provided by employers.

“It’s time to change the narrative and provide deskless workers with the same benefits and workplace flexibility that is seen in corporate environments. If the COVID-19 pandemic has shown anything, it's that offering deskless workers meaningful communication and the ability to balance their job and their personal life is essential for long-term health and happiness.” 

Here’s the key takeaways from report:

  • Two thirds lose sleep, give up hobbies, and fail to keep to normal eating schedules due to inflexible schedules.
  • A majority miss out on personal time and social events, due to lack of schedule flexibility.
  • 1 in 4 global workers prefer a flexible schedule above a raise.
  • Half the deskless workers have gone to work sick.
  • At least half of the workforce planned to stay in their job long-term.
  • 4 in 5 are contacted by their boss out-of-hours disrupting their personal lives.
  • 1 in 4 who lost their job during COVID-19 plan to find a job in an industry with better security.

Curious to see the changes occurring in your market? Download The State of the Deskless Workforce report for your region.

Recommended actions

The report has thrown into light a number of problems many businesses who rely on the deskless workforce are aware of but frequently ignore.

So how can you start doing more for your deskless workforce in order to improve their wellbeing, health and happiness while at the same time creating a stronger and more profitable business?

Here’s where to start:

  • Embrace flexible working;
  • Have a clear reward and recognition programme;
  • Create a strong culture and purpose;
  • Have brilliant communication;
  • Prioritize employee engagement, health and wellbeing;
  • Understand what your workforce wants and how they are feeling.

As a result, you’ll see a happier, more productive workforce (which your customers will benefit from) and a more profitable business. 


Download our report on the state of the deskless workforce in 2020 for more insight and analysis.

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