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International Hiring

Deskless Workers: The Backbone of the Global Workforce

Published date
Heath Nguyen

Co-founder & CGO

In a world where the narrative around work often revolves around office settings, technology, and digital connectivity, a significant portion of the global workforce operates beyond the confines of traditional office spaces. These are the deskless workers, a diverse and dynamic group that forms the backbone of economies worldwide. Remarkably, they constitute approximately 80% of the global workforce, playing a pivotal role in industries ranging from healthcare and manufacturing to retail and agriculture. This article aims to shed light on who deskless workers are, their importance, and why recognizing and supporting this vast community is crucial for sustainable global economic growth.

Defining Deskless Workers

Deskless workers are individuals who perform their jobs outside of a traditional office setting. They are not bound to desks or static computer stations; instead, their work environments are often dynamic, varying from hospitals and retail floors to construction sites and residential homes. This workforce includes healthcare professionals, retail employees, manufacturing workers, agricultural laborers, and many others who provide essential services and support the economy's day-to-day functioning.

The Importance of Deskless Workers

  1. Economic Contribution: Deskless workers are the engine of the global economy, contributing significantly to various sectors. Their labor drives the production, sales, healthcare, and services that form the economic foundation of societies worldwide.

  2. Essential Services: Many deskless workers are on the front lines, providing essential services that ensure public health, safety, and wellbeing. For example, healthcare workers, emergency responders, and utility workers play critical roles in maintaining societal functions.

  3. Adaptability and Resilience: The diverse nature of deskless work requires adaptability and resilience. These workers often operate in challenging environments, adapting to variable conditions and demonstrating remarkable resilience in the face of obstacles.

  4. Innovation and Customer Engagement: Deskless workers are at the forefront of innovation and customer engagement. From retail employees who directly influence buying decisions to service technicians who ensure customer satisfaction, their interactions are vital for business success and innovation.

The Challenges Faced by Deskless Workers

Despite their critical role, deskless workers often face challenges that stem from a lack of recognition and support. These challenges include limited access to training and professional development, inadequate technological tools and resources, and insufficient representation in organizational decision-making processes. Addressing these challenges is essential to unlocking the full potential of this workforce and ensuring their contributions are valued and supported.

Recognizing and Supporting Deskless Workers

Recognizing the importance of deskless workers entails not only acknowledging their contributions but also actively working to improve their work conditions and opportunities. This includes investing in technology and tools that enhance their productivity and efficiency, providing access to continuous learning and development programs, and ensuring their voices are heard in organizational decision-making.


Deskless workers are an indispensable part of the global workforce, playing a crucial role in driving economic activity and providing essential services across industries. As they make up 80% of workers worldwide, their impact is profound and far-reaching. It is imperative for businesses, policymakers, and society at large to recognize, support, and invest in the deskless workforce. By doing so, we can ensure a more inclusive, sustainable, and productive global economy that benefits everyone. The future of work is not just about those who work from desks; it's equally about those who do not. Recognizing and valuing the contributions of deskless workers is a step towards a more equitable and prosperous world.

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