With a strong portion of the global working population at an estimated 2.7 million people as deskless workers, accounting for 80 percent of the workforce, Human Resource (HR) experts have called for an inclusive workplace policy to accommodate deskless workers towards higher productivity.
Olusegun Mojeed, President and chairman of the governing council, CIPM, said making a business case for deskless workers requires wisdom. According to him, every employee should be treated equally in the workplace hence, business leaders should provide the needed tools for deskless workers to thrive.
Mojeed stated this during the panel discussion for the plenary 7 session (The Business Case for ‘Deskless’ Jobs) of the 53th annual national conference of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management (CIPM) with the theme, Reskilling: Growing People, Growing Economies. He posits that paying more attention to deskless workers is imperative for an economy that will survive. “The joy in this is that we are bringing this to the fore so that everyone as practitioners in the field of HR will begin to know that our workers are not just people at the desk”.
The CIPM president states that the critical issue with deskless workers is inclusiveness of the workforce built on trust. “The deskless workers are more exposed; in fact from a survey it was said that about 36 percent of them will willingly want to leave their job,” said Mojeed urging HR practitioners not to forget them as part of the workforce because out of sight may be out of mind.
Other panelists posit that there is a need for business leaders to adopt the design thinking model in dealing and accommodating the deskless workers within the workplace. Sharon Machado, the portfolio head of business reporting within ACCA’s Professional Insights team, described deskless jobs as any key function that is away from the desk. According to her, the pandemic presents some technological solutions for dealing with deskless jobs. She posits that technology and sustainability lessons from the pandemic portray the business case for deskless jobs more importantly.
Bob Morton, President, World Federation of People Management Associations, said the business case for deskless workers is because of the need to look after their welfare and actively engage them for higher productivity. According to him, deskless workers are not necessarily profitable, hence the need for a new definition of productivity that is inclusive.
Alex Mugan, managing director, Global Career Company, said business leaders need to think about the experience of deskless workers. He states further that there is a need to design the workplace to accommodate various aspects of the workforce, because the business case for deskless workers is the survivor of the business itself. However, Peter Cheese, CEO of the CIPD, the professional body for HR and People Development, said people come to the work place with different expectations. Hence, it is important to understand the changing employee environment and to focus ideas on ‘what is a good job’ or ‘what is a good work’.
Cheese states further that the purpose of an organisation now is to support all stakeholders, and the need to understand the workforce more in relation to productivity in attracting and retaining the needed workforce.