July 14th, 2021
Digitalization of the Deskless Workforce: Untapped Potential Across Europe
– Survey results show that deskless workers rate the relevance of digital technologies and mega trends for their everyday working life, such as the Internet of Things, augmented reality, and artificial intelligence, lower than their office- or desk-based counterparts.
– The same applies for assessment of employers: Future technologies seem to be mainly relevant for office jobs in corporate departments.
– Results of country comparisons show that respondents in Italy, Poland and Spain are most open to new technologies.
Goppingen, July 14th, 2021 – In the digital age, the question — what relevance do future technologies such as the Internet of Things, augmented reality and artificial intelligence have for one’s own job? — is a fundamental one. However, a survey conducted by YouGov on behalf of the Handelsblatt Research Institute and TeamViewer reveals the relevance of digital technologies is not equally perceived across the workforce, largely due to their respective job situations being desk-based or deskless.
Are Deskless Workers Being Left Out of the Digitalization Process?
The survey, which took into account the opinions of around 3,160 desk workers, 2,000 deskless workers and 3,650 managers from ten European countries, revealed that desk workers rated the relevance of future technologies for their own profession significantly higher than the deskless workers. When desk-based and deskless employees were asked how important technologies and digital mega trends would become into their jobs, employees in office jobs (“desk workers”) revealed that technologies and mega trends such as cyber security (79%) and digital communication technologies / collaboration software (71%) would have the most relevance to them. Deskless workers — those working in field service, logistics or production for example — agreed on cyber security (52%) and digital communication technologies / collaboration software (45%), albeit with different weighting put on the importance.
By contrast, when it comes to even more visionary topics such as artificial intelligence or augmented reality, neither desk workers nor deskless workers seem to have a clear picture of how these technologies could shape their workplace of the future (Chart 1).
A similar picture emerges among the managers, who represented the employers, in Europe. They also expect a higher relevance of future technologies and mega trends such as Cyber Security (73%) and Cloud Computing (58%) for office jobs in the corporate departments (HR, accounting, etc.). For the activities of the deskless workers in logistics and production, however, these technologies and mega trends are considered less relevant (Cyber Security 63%, Cloud Computing 51%). On the other hand, they already seem to have a better understanding than employees of the importance that technologies such as artificial intelligence and augmented reality will have in the future (Chart 2).
Georg Beyschlag, Executive Vice President Strategy & Corporate Development at TeamViewer: “The survey shows that in many companies there is still no precise idea of how the working environments beyond the classic office jobs can be included into the digital transformation. Yet around 80 percent of all employees worldwide are part of this so-called ‘deskless workforce’. For most companies, this will become one of the great challenges of the digital age — how to integrate these deskless workspaces into digital processes so that these employees also benefit from the advantages of digitalization. With the right digital solutions businesses of all sizes can advance digitalization along their entire value chain.”
Technology enhances the work of the future
Only 13 percent of respondents from the employees’ side fear that new technologies will take over their work in the future. However, more than a quarter of employees (26%) expect that tedious routine tasks or dangerous activities could be taken away from them by new technologies in the future. Employers are even more optimistic. Around two thirds of employers (65 %) expect that their employees will be relieved of such tasks in the future (Chart 3).
EU comparison: Italy, Poland, and Spain most open to new technologies
In a country comparison, employees and employers in Italy, Poland and Spain tend to attach the highest importance to the influence of future technologies and digital mega trends on their profession. In contrast, employees and employers in the EU core countries Germany and France, in particular, only rate the importance of digital technologies and mega trends for their profession or their company, below average.
About the survey
Conducted independently, on behalf of TeamViewer and the Handelsblatt Research Institute, the market research institute YouGov surveyed a total of 5,278 employees and 3,654 corporate decision-makers online between 12 and 22 April 2021, on the topics of future technologies, cooperation between humans and technology, remote work/home office, and qualification and further education. The survey was fielded in ten European countries: Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
TeamViewer is a leading global technology company that provides a connectivity platform to remotely access, control, manage, monitor, and repair devices of any kind – from laptops and mobile phones to industrial machines and robots. Although TeamViewer is free of charge for private use, it has more than 600,000 subscribers and enables companies of all sizes and from all industries to digitalize their business-critical processes through seamless connectivity. Against the backdrop of global megatrends like device proliferation, automation and new work, TeamViewer proactively shapes digital transformation and continuously innovates in the fields of Augmented Reality, Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence. Since the company’s foundation in 2005, TeamViewer’s software has been installed on more than 2.5 billion devices around the world. The company is headquartered in Goppingen, Germany, and employs more than 1,400 people globally. In 2020, TeamViewer achieved billings of EUR 460 million. TeamViewer AG (TMV) is listed at Frankfurt Stock Exchange and belongs to the MDAX. Further information can be found at www.teamviewer.com.
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Chart 1: Percentage of employees surveyed who consider the respective technology / mega trend to be very/somewhat important.
Download: Chart 1
Chart 2: Percentage of employers surveyed who consider the respective technology to be very / somewhat important
Download: Chart 2
Chart 3: Percentage of surveyed employees and corporate decision-makers who (tend to) agree with the respective statement.
Download: Chart 3