About 51 percent of all knowledge workers worldwide, defined as those who are involved in knowledge-intensive occupations, such as writers, accountants, or engineers, are likely to work remotely, a Gartner report said on Tuesday.
The company said this is up from 27 percent of knowledge workers in 2019.
Gartner defines a remote worker as an employee working away from their company, government, or customer site at least once a week (hybrid workers) or working fully from home (fully remote workers).
The report also estimates that remote workers will represent 32 per cent of all employees worldwide by the end of 2021, up from 17 per cent of employees in 2019.
While India (30 per cent) and China (28 per cent) will produce some of the largest numbers of remote workers, their overall penetration rates will remain relatively low.
On the other hand, the workforce in the US (53 percent) will lead in terms of remote workers in 2022. Across Europe, UK remote workers will represent 52 percent of its workforce in 2022, while remote workers in Germany and France will account for 37 percent and 33 percent, respectively.
“A hybrid workforce is the future of work, with both remote and on-site part of the same solution to optimize employers’ workforce needs,” said Ranjit Atwal, senior research director at Gartner.
The lasting impact of remote work is resulting in a reassessment of the IT infrastructure that shifts buyer requirements to demand work-anywhere capabilities. This includes digital transformation efforts — investment in strategic remote-first technology continuity implementations along with new technologies such as hyper-automation, AI, and collaboration technologies — to open up more flexibility of location choice in job roles.
“Through 2024, organizations will be forced to bring forward digital business transformation plans by at least five years. Those plans will have to adapt to a post-Covid-19 world that involves permanently higher adoption of remote work and digital touchpoints,” Atwal said.
Further, the report showed that a hybrid workforce will continue to increase the demand for PCs and tablets. PC and tablet shipments, in 2021, are slated to exceed 500 million units for the first time in history, highlighting the demand across both business and consumer markets.
Gartner also forecasts that worldwide end-user spending on public cloud services will grow 23.1 per cent in 2021 as CIOs and IT leaders continue to prioritise cloud-delivered applications, such as software as a service (SaaS). SaaS applications are designed for remote access and aren’t constrained by the location of the workers using the application.