Cook in a restaurant The"deskless workforce" includes those working in industries such asretail, hotel and food services, health care, transportation andlogistics, and are critical to the day-to-day functions ofsociety.

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During this COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a lot ofdiscussion around the move to a remote workforce, the stressesaround working from home, and the impact on mental health andwell-being of working remotely.

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However, per a recent study released today, there are 2.7billion workers worldwide that don't have the ability to work fromhome. These workers, part of the "deskless workforce," are workingin industries such as retail, hotel and food services, health care,transportation and logistics, and are critical to the day-to-dayfunctions of society.

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Related: The next generation of AI-resistant blue-collarjobs

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The study "State of the Deskless Workforce," an annualreport by Quinyx, a cloud-based, mobile-first workforce managementsoftware, shows just how significantly COVID-19 has impacted thedeskless workforce in the areas around scheduling, sick time, wagesand communication.

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The survey, conducted in February, polled 1,200 Americansidentifying themselves as a deskless worker. The initial resultsshowed major struggles with work-life balance for deskless workers. Infact, according to the study, even before the impact of COVICD-19,74% of deskless workers went to work when they were sick. Then asthe world faced a global pandemic, the needs of the desklessworkforce shifted dramatically.

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To understand how much the pandemic has changed the desklessworkforce, the study polled the same target audience in late April.The statics that came out of the study showed the impact COVID-19has caused, including 24% of those polled losing their jobs.

Scheduling & sick leave

According to the study, there are millions of deskless workersin the U.S. that don't have access to affordable health insurancefor themselves or their families, and in fact, just 13% have paidsick leave.

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In addition, taking sick days have a stigma for the desklessworkforce. Because of this stigma, even during these pandemictimes, 14% reported they still went into work sick. These workersare also the most likely to have frequent contact with customers,creating new health risks for consumers.

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So why during the pandemic, would deskless workers continue togo work even though they experienced symptoms of illness? Per thestudy, almost 50% risked their health and the health of others dueto the simple fact they could not afford the loss in pay. And 23%worried that taking more than one consecutive sick day could getthem fired. In addition, 47% polled believed switching a shiftwould "be perceived negatively by their employer" and feared byswitching a shift with a coworker they could get fired, accordingto the study.

Communication

During the pandemic even though there was an increase incommunication from employers, with 85% of workers polled in thestory saying they were contacted off-hours, one in four workersdidn't believe their employer provided clear communication orprovide enough information during the pandemic.

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In addition, 35% said that their employer didn't provideadequate training or direction on how to perform their job duringthe pandemic. And because workers had discomfort communicating withtheir managers, it created potential health risks including what todo if they felt sick or thought they may have contracted COVID-19or what to do if a loved one had contracted COVID-19.

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Related: 

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Heather Nevitt

Heather D. Nevitt is the Editor-in-Chief of Corporate Counsel and Global Leaders in Law.