Incredible Stats About the Deskless Workforce

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There have been many studies conducted about office-based workers, but very few about those that keep our modern lives functioning properly, such as supermarket workers, nurses, or labourers.

We think it’s time to shine a light on employees that don’t sit behind a desk, and look at the particular challenges faced by this significant section of society.

Absence & sick leave

There are millions of blue collar workers in the UK with little-to-no paid sick leave, which means they are forced to go to work when they are sick in order to make ends meet.

In fact, a staggering 70% of deskless workers have said they have gone to work when they are sick.

This has an enormous impact on the morale of employees which, in turn, will negatively influence the productivity and finances of businesses.

Also, HR departments won’t get an accurate view of the health of their colleagues, which makes it difficult to make positive changes.


Deskless workers have reported a distinct lack of flexibility in their roles. Here are some eye-opening stats to consider:

30% have left a job as they didn’t receive schedules in advance 46% have said that system restrictions have stopped them from switching shifts with colleagues 53% think that switching a shift would be perceived negatively by their superiors 32% would rather have more flexibility than earning more money

This lack of flexibility being offered to blue collar workers creates a multitude of issues for them.

63% said they missed a social event or holiday, and 36% said they missed a major life event due to their job’s rigid schedule. 59% of said workers also reported that they missed out on sleep, meals, and time for themselves.

The lack of flexibility offered to this section of the workforce has massive ramifications for physical and mental health, which could be a contributing factor towards the high levels of burnout amongst employees, as well as the low productivity levels in the UK economy.

A great way of dealing with flexible working requests is to invest in a capable HR system that allows self-service users to submit requests themselves, triggering an automated workflow process that is compliant and results in a fair outcome for both the employee and the business.

Investing in this technology can help to make flexible working equitable for everyone in your organisation; which can increase morale and boost retention.


The stats suggest that there is a huge communication problem between blue collar workers and their employers.

Deskless employees are often expected to be on-call in case they are needed at short notice, yet businesses are not providing them with suitable software or equipment so that they can separate their personal and work lives.

A mere 7% of deskless workers have said that they are contacted through a company-wide HR system, but 88% are contacted by employers when they’re not supposed to be working, and a massive 64% are contacted via text message, instant message, or phone calls to personal devices.

This is, frankly, unacceptable in today’s modern world, where there is so much technology available to businesses to facilitate professional and effective communication with their workforce.

Read this article if you’d like to find out how to improve communication in your organisation, including the benefits of investing in an HR system with powerful and configurable communication features.

And, if reading this article has made you question whether your company has the right technology available for all of your colleagues, then feel free to get in touch with our team to discuss your requirements and how intelligent HR tech can help your business achieve its objectives.

The source of the statistical information in this article is from Quinyx and their report called ‘The State of the Deskless Workforce 2020‘.