Work from home (WFH) is here to stay, at least for the short to medium term. Research firm Gartner suggests that India will produce one of the largest number of remote workers with one-third employees working remotely by 2022.
“By the end of 2021, 51% of all knowledge workers worldwide are expected to be working remotely, up from 27% of knowledge workers in 2019,” Gartner said in a report. It estimates that remote workers will represent 32% of all employees worldwide by the end of 2021, up from 17% in 2019.
Knowledge workers are those involved in knowledge-intensive professions such as writers, accountants and engineers. While a remote worker is an employee working away from his/her company, government, or customer site at least one full day a week (hybrid workers) or who works fully from home (fully remote workers).
“India and China will produce some of the largest numbers of remote workers, but their overall penetration rates will remain relatively low with 30% of workers in India being remote (by 2022) and 28% of workers in China working remote,” Gartner projected. Remote working varies from country to country depending on IT adoption, culture, and mix of industries.
However, the US will lead in terms of remote workers in 2022, accounting for 53% of the US workforce. Across Europe and UK remote workers will represent 52% of its workforce in 2022, while remote workers in Germany and France will account for 37% and 33%, respectively, it added.
Gartner’s senior research director, Ranjit Atwal, said hybrid workforce is the future of work, with both remote and on-site part of the same solution to optimise employers’ workforce needs.
Through 2024, organisations 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 touch points, he added.
A hybrid workforce will continue to increase the demand for PCs and tablets. In 2021, PC and tablet shipments will exceed 500 million units for the first time in history, highlighting the demand across both business and consumer markets, the agency estimates.
Organisations also deployed cloud to quickly enable remote workers. Gartner forecasts worldwide end-user spending on public cloud services will grow 23.1% in 2021 as CIOs and IT leaders continue to prioritise cloud-delivered applications, such as software as a service (SaaS).
Social and collaboration tools will continue to be a ‘must have’, which will lead the worldwide social software and collaboration revenue market to increase 17.1% in 2021.
By 2024, at least 40% of all remote access usage will be served predominantly by zero trust network access (ZTNA), up from less than 5% at the end of 2020. While most of these organisations will not completely retire all their client-facing VPN services, ZTNA will become the primary replacement technology.
Zero trust is a security framework that requires all users — inside or outside an organisation’s network — to be authenticated, authorised and validated for providing access to applications and data.