The concept of working remotely is here to stay. Research and advisory firm Gartner predicts that about 51 per cent of all knowledge workers across the world are expected to be working remotely by the end of 2021.

Compare this with 27 per cent of knowledge workers working from home in 2019.

It said remote working would vary considerably around the world depending on IT adoption, culture, and mix of industries. The development could trigger demand for PCs, tablets and cloud services, it predicts.

The research firm forecasts that remote workers will comprise 32 per cent of all the employees globally by the end of 2021. “This is up from 17 per cent of employees working remotely two years ago in 2019,” Gartner has said.

The United States will lead in terms of remote workers in 2022, accounting for 53 per cent of the US workforce. In Europe and the UK, remote workers will represent 52 per cent of its workforce in 2022.

“A hybrid workforce is the future of the work, with both remote and on-site part of the same solution to optimize employers’ workforce needs,” Ranjit Atwal, senior research director at Gartner, said.

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The firm factored in occupations such as writers, accountants and engineers as it prepared the estimates. Remote workers are those who work away from their company, government, or customer site at least one full day a week (hybrid workers) or who work 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 per cent of workers in India being remote and 28 per cent of workers in China working remote,” he said.

Shift in IT infra requirements

The growing shift towards remote work would impact the requirements of IT infrastructure. “By 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 touchpoints,” Atwal said.

Demand for PCs

The firm estimates that a hybrid workforce will continue to increase the demand for PCs and tablets. PC and tablet shipments will cross the 500-million unit mark for the first time in history in 2021.

This would also mean an increase demand for cloud services, triggering a growth in end-user spending on public cloud services by 23.1 per cent in 2021.