IDC says millions will join the “work-from-anywhere” movement over the next three years
The COVID-19 pandemic caused businesses to rush their knowledge workers into work-from-home arrangements to avoid infection and stop the spread of the virus. Over the next three years, the number of U.S. mobile workers will swell by 20%, forcing businesses to rethink their IT infrastructure and investments.
The Lowdown: According to IDC, the number of U.S. mobile IT workers in 2020 is 78.5 million. The analyst firm projects that number will increase to 93.5 million by 2024. Fueling the trend is an expectation that workers will not return to their traditional offices and workspaces even as pandemic restrictions ease. Another IDC study found that 87% of enterprises expect their employees to work from home at least three days a week even after the pandemic is over. Nine out of 10 enterprises believe their employees will mostly work from home in the future.
The Details: Remote work and road warriors (people who spend most of their time traveling for work) were common prior to the pandemic. Social distancing revealed just how many people can work remotely. IDC defines mobile workers as those that have the ability to work from multiple locations without losing their productivity or contribution value. Conversely, frontline workers are those that are tied to a physical location and have limited ability to work remotely. While frontline jobs make up the majority of the U.S. workforce (57%), only 49% have equipment that could allow mobility. Frontline workers are the backbone of the industries hardest hit by the pandemic, including construction, hospitality, retail, and food services.
The Impact: IDC believes the continued shift to the work-from-home paradigm will cause businesses to rethink their IT infrastructure and investment strategies. IDC predicts businesses will invest more in mobile devices (laptops, tablets), cloud-based applications and resources, backup services, and security.
The Buzz: “COVID-19’s disruption of the U.S. labor force has had a dramatic impact on how large businesses operate and will continue to shape how and where people work in the months to come,” said Bryan Bassett, senior research analyst, IDC’s Enterprise Mobility: Deployment Strategies program. “The ability to quickly mobilize different segments of a company’s workforce with capable and secure mobile solutions has never been more important, and U.S. organizations are signaling that investment in mobile-based management and security solutions will take precedence in 2020 and beyond.”