The deskless workforce: understanding the impact on business and employees

Help your deskless workers succeed with Apple mobile devices by using modern tools that simplify workflows, keep data secure and support employee productivity.

June 20 2023 by

Laurie Mona

Man in orange vest standing at construction site looks at iPad managed by Jamf.

Organizations with “deskless” employees who use modern mobile devices may find that it’s a balancing act to effectively support users while maintaining device management and security standards.

And for teams that support mobile-first employees using Apple technology – such as iPads and iPhones – it’s crucial to know how to optimize these devices for each use and turn them into efficient, secure on-the-job tools.

The solution: Mobile Device Management (MDM) and identity and security technologies that simplify workflows, create efficiencies and help meet regulatory compliance and security standards.

Learn how to support mobile Apple devices of your deskless workforce with Jamf.

What is the deskless workforce?

The majority of the world’s workers – 80%, or 2.7 billion people - don’t sit at a desk. Note that we’re not talking about remote employees who are simply working outside the office, but those whose job functions are mobile by necessity.

In industries such as healthcare, transportation, retail, education, manufacturing and field service, deskless workers spend their time on-the-go: working room-to-room, from a vehicle, in a large open space inside a building or outdoors.

We see these employees in positions as varied as the frontline, operational workers, nurses, pilots, flight mechanics and cashiers.

When this mobile workforce interacts with technology, it’s usually in a task-oriented and time-sensitive fashion. However, these workers can feel unsupported in the tech they use. In fact, more than 60% of deskless workers report a lack of satisfaction or feel the need for improvement in the tech they use.

So how can organizations better support employees and their devices?

Solving challenges with technology

While organizations may provide mobile devices to help deskless workers be more efficient and simplify workflows, they also have to figure out how best to implement, manage and secure these tools to make them productive in practice.

Typical device management needs that arise in deskless environments include automating management and security tasks, over-the-air device provisioning, ensuring productivity apps work with each new OS update, and connecting authorized users to productivity apps.

The ‘Deskless’ environment also faces unique challenges, such as “hiding” the technology so workers can rapidly connect to the task-oriented tools that make them productive. For example point-of-sale applications, clinical communications tools and pre-flight checklists.

Needs specific to deskless use cases include:

  • Shared device use: clinical communication devices in a hospital, shift workers on a manufacturing floor
  • Customized device provisioning to role-specific configurations: ability to understand the device’s state and distinguish it from others in the fleet
  • Workflows to verify device compliance for regulated industries: retail store devices support the correct version of iOS or iPadOS and POS app
  • Meeting industry-specific security requirements: PCI DSS in retail, HIPAA in healthcare
  • Content filtering and data capping: control types of data accessed, manage cellular data consumption
  • Ability to operate in environments with connectivity issues: minimize disruption to application connections
  • Integration with other platforms, tools and workflows: help connect employees to all their work resources

The organization’s desired result: The ability to provide an employee-friendly experience that promotes productivity and streamlines IT administration. 

If you’re using Apple technology (as is many employees’ preference) to support your deskless workers your organization can benefit from using the Apple-first vendor that supports both your desk-bound and deskless workers: purpose-built management, identity and security solutions from Jamf.

Streamlined workflows for mobile workers

Employers can offer workers using iPhone and iPad in mobile-first, task-based roles simple, secure and customized experiences with Jamf.

Jamf technologies enable ‘deskless’ roles to succeed by bringing a set of product capabilities to these modern work tools that are designed to operate together, right “out of the box”. 

The benefits of using Jamf include:

  • Deliver an Apple-first, Apple-best experience by building on native Apple frameworks. 

  • Perform over-the-air management and security tasks without interrupting end-user tasks. 

  • Streamline administration by simplifying IT workflows and redundant processes. 

  • Support end-user needs for efficient, reliable tech that helps them do their job better.

  • Remain compatible and reliable with every new OS release. 

  • Find the solution that best fits your needs with help from industry experts.

Manage, secure and simplify purpose-built work tools with Jamf.

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