Are you on pins and needles to get back to the office, or are you a bit more hesitant? Our new Meeting Trends 2021 research uncovered 5 new trends for the hybrid workplace. One of them is that employees worldwide can’t wait to get back to the office. Read on to learn more about when and how we will be returning to the office.
When are we returning to the office? One year into the pandemic and the enthusiasm about working from home has taken a turn. At the start of the pandemic, many were over the moon about the benefits of WFH: no commutes, flexible work hours, etc.
However, our 2020 Hybrid Meeting research already showed that slowly but surely the downsides started to outweigh the benefits. Employees miss social interaction, experience Zoom fatigue and struggle to balance office and domestic tasks. Our Meeting Trends Research 2021 shows that 56% of employees are eager to return to the office, and 72% expects to be back by the end of June 2021.
When are we returning?
Right now, actually. 50% of the workforce already comes into the office on occasion. We do see some regional differences here. Australia and France appear to be at the forefront of the back-to-the-office trend, with respectively 82% and 61% of employees, having already (partially) returned. In India and the US, the majority of workers hasn’t returned yet, with respectively only 40% and 42% signalling that they are already back at the office. Most employees (72%) expect to be back by the end of June. However, in Germany, many employees believe that they will only be able to return from July to September and onwards.
Who is pushing the return?
C-level management is encouraging employees to come back, 66% of employees believe their CEO would like to see all employees back at the office. 41% also think their manager is also pushing them to return to the office. Employees themselves are also eager to return, on average 56% of employees want to get back to the office. In India, it’s even 76% of workers that are waiting to sit at their office desk again.
Will work at the office be the same?
Employees want to return but this doesn’t mean that they are ready to give up the newfound flexibility in their work that WFH brought. Workers want to choose when and where they work and are tired of struggling with virtual.
This leads to the ideal workweek balance shifting in favour of the office. In September 2020, people were still more optimistic about working from home and employees indicated that the ideal workweek would be 2 days at home and 3 days at the office.
Today, the desire to work from home has dropped to 1,5 days a week, with employees preferring to spend more time, 3,5 days per week, at the office.
Undoubtedly, in-office and remote team members will have to be united in the new hybrid workplace.
Lieven Bertier is the Segment Marketing Director Workplace at Barco.
Lieven is an experienced B2B marketer and has worked across multiple marketing disciplines in the technology industry. Since 2014 he has been part of Barco’s ClickShare team, responsible for all strategic marketing activities. He strongly believes in user experience and is convinced that the way people work together is the number one competitive advantage for companies in today’s dynamic world.
Lieven loves a good story, and always starts from user research to reflect on the role of technology and collaboration in the workplace.
Digital transformation efforts by the Vietnam Social Security (VSS) have helped provide chip-based ID cards for health insurance at more than 4,000 medical facilities across the country. Over the years, VSS has improved its operational efficiency through IT applications to cater to 88 million people with health insurance. According to the Vice Director of VSS’s Information Technology Centre, VSS has been developing a national insurance database, while also sharing population data.
After the national population database was put into operation, VSS connected with the system and has been working with the Ministry of Public Security to link the demographic information. So far, the system has identified about 40 million people, the Vice Director stated. VSS has provided social and health insurance information for more than 21 million people to the national population database. VSS will continue to synchronise its data with the national population database to form a complete connection between insurance and population data.
The work is scheduled for completion by the end of 2022. In February, the Ministry of Health asked the health departments of localities and medical facilities across the country to pilot the use of chip-based ID cards for health check-ups and treatment services covered by health insurance. On 1 March, VSS started to implement the scheme in all of its branches nationwide.
The state aims to build an e-government, hoping to digitally transform its key operations, under the national digital transformation programme approved in 2020. Earlier this month, the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) issued electronic identification (eID) codes for its agencies and units. As reported by OpenGov Asia, the ministry gets the eID Level 1 code and the advisory units (the office, inspectorate, and authorities of the ministry) are issued Level 2 codes. Level 3 is for its departments and their subordinate centres, and Level 4 is for the Institute of Post and Telecommunications Technology and its subordinate units.
MIC has already launched a national data exchange platform (NDXP) to help connect, integrate, and share data among ministries, sectors, and localities nationwide. All 22 ministries, ministry-level agencies, and 63 provinces and cities are now connected with the NDXP. In the first quarter of 2022, more than 134.5 million transactions were made on the NDXP, surging 24-fold from a year earlier, according to MIC.
Furthermore, the National Committee on Digital Transformation has approved a plan to increase the rate of online public services to 80%, the rate of administrative procedures dossiers processed online to 50%, and the rate of digitisation of dossiers and results of administrative procedures to 100%. Also, it will increase the rate of reports made online by state administrative agencies to 50% as well as the rate of state agencies providing full open data by category to 50%. There are 18 tasks assigned to the committee’s members, which include universalising smartphones, electronic identities, and broadband fibre optic cables. The committee will enhance network information safety and security, develop electronic health records, support online teaching, and digitally transform small and medium-sized enterprises.
Seeing how much the digital technologies sector has contributed to New Zealand’s overall economy, Wellington is putting the focus on boosting its digital sector by setting aside funds and strengthening emerging strategic weaknesses.
Mindful of achieving a high-wage yet low-emissions economy, the Aotearoan government has allotted a substantial portion of its budget in 2022 to the tech sector, as confirmed by David Clark, Minister for the Digital Economy and Communications.
In 2020, the digital technologies sector contributed NZ$ 7.4 billion to the economy. Since 2015 it has, on average, grown about 77% faster than the general economy. Budget 2022 provides an additional NZ$ 20 million over four years for two key initiatives in the ITP.
– David Clark, Minister, Ministry of Digital Economy and Communications
Moreover, the government leader mentioned the government’s digital road map, the Digital Technologies Industry Transformation Plan (ITP). He disclosed that they have been working with the digital sector so it can realise its massive potential as a source of high-paying jobs and export income generation.
However, it must be noted that New Zealand has a focus on what part of its digital economy needs a lift. The answer which should be attended to first lies in how much a particular digital sector has contributed to the overall economy. By that measure, it becomes apparent that Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is top of that list.
Clark echoed such focus. He said that SaaS and its growth are paramount. Already, New Zealand’s SaaS companies are making their presence felt in the global market and the country has seen how they’ve thrived despite the virus. Thus, Wellington wants to multiply these SaaS successes. Moreover, they prioritised the global market and want to make good on ‘New Zealand’s Tech and Innovation Story’ to the world.
Such a marketing initiative should bring New Zealand tech to key markets, specifically Europe, Australia and the United States of America. It’s important the country capitalise on digital as a strong digital economy.
One that is becoming apparent day by day is the need for more digital manpower. New Zealand needs the “right people”. To address the current “skills mismatch”, the government leaders are targetting the delivery of short courses to widen the digital skills of workers. To do that, they will be encouraging local workers to participate.
Additionally, Wellington is willing to attract the best to come up with better-trained workers. To have world-class digital talent, the country must attract world-class digital talent to teach. To make that happen, they are calling for a rebalance of the immigration system where local tech industries will be given a break from immediate pressures on hiring offshore talent.
A key example here is the possibility of senior roles in ICT being allowed to fast track towards residency in the country. Some of these roles considered are ICT manager, software developers, cloud and data analysts and ICT security experts.
It’s such a foundational technology that finding an industry where China’s indigenously built Navigation Satellite System satellite is not used is difficult. The system was conceived by Cheng Fangyun in the ‘80s and, today, after the first satellite was launched in 2000, the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) is deeply entrenched with the country’s ever-expanding ambitions forming the backbone of its digital economy.
It has become a powerful force that has been driving socioeconomic transformation all over the country as its application expands both in width and depth, the China Satellite Navigation Office (CSNO) detailed. Its massive adoption can be seen in how the navigation system has become a household word, affecting the daily lives of people.
Today, the BDS is part of China’s biggest and most promising industries. Chief of which is disaster prevention, transport, forestry, agriculture, fishing, and even power transmission and communication. The number of terminals itself speaks volumes – at the end of 2021, over 1 billion devices and terminals have tapped into the BDS, relying on it for positioning, the National Development and Reform Commission or NDRC disclosed.
One area of Chinese everyday life that the service has become most useful is how it sustained the country’s biggest socio-economic industries. In 2021, the BDS has been incorporated in nearly 8 million road vehicles nationwide. Plus, it has guided the country’s extensive railway network with about 8,000 BDS terminals. BDS applications have been also been front and centre of the COVID-19 response, remote monitoring, medical health and a host of other digital services all over the country.
Estimates revealed that in the period 2016 to 2020, cumulatively referred to as the 13th Five-year Plan, the industrial value of the BDS is over 400 billion yuan (US$ 59.9 billion). That success has convinced China to open the BDS-3, a global navigation system in 2020.
Currently, the BDS has become more diverse, allowing the execution of a slew of powerful functions. In its global services, it serves up PNT, short for positioning, navigation and timing. Along with that is the global messaging services, not to mention search and rescue services worldwide. It’s becoming a key service player in the Asia-Pacific region giving out precise point positioning and short messaging communication. In short, it has expanded well beyond China.
The BeiDou is now fast becoming another GPS that’s capable of serving the planet. It has about 35 satellites in orbit, more than the 31 GPS satellites. This means that China has a robust ability for innovation and technology moving forward.
BDS is one of the pillars of China’s economy. Digital transformation has become the key factor in the rise of its economy. As per the plan, the country is bound to increase its digital economy by as much as 10% by 2025. China’s industries have made digital adoption a cornerstone. Recently, many have adopted the industrial internet, also dubbed the Artificial Internet of Things (AIoT).
Singapore’s Maritime and Port Authority has announced that the public could access its GeoSpace-Sea web portal starting August 2022. GeoSpace-Sea, a 12-agency effort launched in 2019, is the country’s national marine spatial data infrastructure, which gathers and combines marine and coastal geospatial data from various sources. It offers unified and comprehensive geospatial data for a variety of applications, including port, marine, and coastal planning and environmental management.
With about 70 per cent of our earth covered in water and over 80 per cent of international trade in goods carried by the sea today, water is an important global resource for humankind. Our waters provide spaces for transport, recreation, and natural resources such as food, energy, and minerals. It is critical that we understand this resource and take collective responsibility to protect it.
– Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Transport
The minister added that marine geospatial data can be beneficial for using water sustainably. The portal can assist the public in better understanding its marine environment and enable them to make data-driven and evidence-based policy decisions regarding the advancement of maritime technologies.
Users will be able to securely upload and download data using the web portal, which will facilitate collaboration between government, industry and academia in areas such as marine scientific research and development (R&D), marine conservation, and climate change adaptation. Following that, a broader set of features such as data visualisation, analytical tools, and reports will be made available.
GeoSpace-Sea has aided national sustainability projects such as climate change monitoring and understanding. The National Sea Level Programme, coordinated by the National Environment Agency’s Centre for Climate Research Singapore, aims to gain a better understanding of how rising sea levels may affect Singapore; and the Coastal-Inland Flood Model that is currently being developed, aims to enable holistic flood risk assessment and aid in the planning of coastal protection measures by simulating the combined effects of extreme sea levels and inland flooding caused by intense rainfall.
Senior Minister Tat acknowledged that having high-quality land-sea navigational and seabed data allows them to more effectively plan and make policy decisions, resulting in better outcomes such as more efficient transportation routes, lower fuel consumption, and safer navigation. It also allows for greater collaborations and new opportunities.
GeoSpace-Sea will also be used in digitalPORT@SGTM, a one-stop platform for port clearance and just-in-time services, to provide up-to-date information on vessel activity, optimise anchorage space use, and achieve faster turn-around times at ports, reducing the carbon footprint generated by vessels due to shorter port stays.
Having accurate maritime geospatial data is also a critical tool for achieving global environmental sustainability. Data on where people reside, what activities they engage in, and the influence on the marine environment, for example, will aid people in implementing more environmentally friendly methods.
High-quality and trustworthy land-sea navigational and seabed data enables more effective transportation routes, improved fuel efficiency and port design, all of which can assist reduce transportation’s carbon impact.
Many of the Sustainable Development Goals, including ‘Life below water,’ ‘Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all,’ ‘Climate action,’ and ‘Sustainable cities and communities,’ to mention a few, rely on such data.
Integrated maritime geospatial data can help the public respond more effectively to challenges like climate change and maritime disasters, allowing people to better preserve the oceans and share them with future generations.
Departments and experts from the City of Los Angeles highlighted several strategic hurdles to overcome as they work to expand the capabilities of Smart City Digital Services by 2028. The city is committed to continually improving its digital user experiences and customer journey services. Among their identified difficulties are: Improving User Experience (UX) Across L.A. Digital Services; Accessibility and Awareness of L.A. Digital Services; and Privacy & Ethical Concerns.
In the City of Los Angeles, technology is fundamental to how we function in managing traffic, planning our communities, engaging our constituencies, and protecting our residents through the coordination of both existing and emerging Smart City Technologies, we are positioned to transform the way we live.
– Ted Ross, Chief Information Officer, City of Los Angeles/General Manager, Information Technology Agency
Ted added that technology enables the city of LA to improve the quality of life efficiently and ethically for the residents, businesses and other stakeholders. The city governance ensures that all communities and businesses have access to the internet. It includes the distribution of over 5,000 computers by the City of LA to families in need. However, it has identified some difficulties such as limited use of emerging technologies like Blockchain and Robotic Process Automation, which limits the public’s access to new technology.
City departments have varying levels of skill in providing digital services and experiences to their clients, resulting in inequitable digital experiences for the general population, particularly during natural disasters like the COVID-19 pandemic.
Procurement and contracting difficulties, resulting in sluggish IT adoption and limited access to emerging technologies. The public must juggle various digital identities due to the lack of a centralised, single user ID and password to access multiple City of Los Angeles digital services.
The lack of uniformity and misunderstanding among the public is due to varying functioning across several City of Los Angeles digital services in addition to the lack of timely and detailed customer input on the wide range of digital services offered by the City.
The LA City also experienced a lack of public understanding of the multiple, innovative digital services that are accessible to them for free; it has also limited access to public places including bus stops, walkways, and tourist sites.
In addition, limited access to digital services provided by the City of Los Angeles in Angelenos’ preferred language is also identified as a barrier the same with the lack of a regional procurement gateway that allows small and large enterprises to compete for contracts with the City of Los Angeles; and limited controls are in place to verify that all digital services conform with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
As people become more digital, they are also becoming more sceptical of digital technology due to privacy concerns, data breaches, and other issues. As a government that relies heavily on technology, the City of Los Angeles recognises the importance of digital services that are both innovative and ethical.
As the solution to these difficulties, the City of Los Angeles sought to create a digital public services toolkit for city departments to improve their expertise and constituents’ digital experiences; write and publish an ‘L.A. The Digital Code of Ethics includes technology guidelines that address public concerns about online privacy, unethical use of developing technologies such as facial recognition, and equal access to City of Los Angeles digital services.
Part of this endeavour is to design and deploy Robotic Process Automation (RPA) as an emerging technology for intelligent document processing starting with data entry for vendor bills and expanding to other City activities. The City aims to create and use blockchain as an emerging technology for smart contracts and small business registration in the years 2022-2023 to establish an innovative, secure record-keeping system.
The government is also working with the Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) to streamline and improve flexibility in the City’s IT procurement; designing and deploying an “Angeleno Account” that allows all residents easy access to City of Los Angeles digital services utilising a single digital identity and login.
Among other plans of the local government are to start a citywide advertising campaign using LA Cityview to promote increased public knowledge and use of popular, innovative City of Los Angeles digital services; create a regional procurement portal; add automated survey tools to gather timely user input and enable ongoing improvement.
Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot recently announced the formation of the Chicago Digital Equity Council, a multi-sector, community-driven endeavour to better understand and address the nuances of digital equity and permanently close Chicago’s digital gap. “That’s why we have mobilised City funding to close the digital divide and improve internet access in our most vulnerable communities.”
She added that closing gaps in technology and learning tools will benefit their entire community and will help to assist the next generation of digitally empowered Chicagoans, adding that one of her top priorities is to provide residents with the tools they need to reach their full potential.
The Digital Equity Council will build on Chicago Connected’s ground-breaking work in K-12 education to identify and address the citywide barriers to digital equity. Chicago Connected, a first-of-its-kind broadband programme that has connected over 64,000 Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students to at-home high-speed internet and made free digital learning resources available to families, gave birth to the Digital Equity Council.
The City of Chicago is dedicating unprecedented resources to closing the digital divide and addressing the long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Chicago’s most vulnerable communities, using the Mayor’s Chicago Recovery Plan and President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s historic investment in broadband.
A group of community leaders, community-based organisations (CBOs), government agencies and digital equality subject matter experts lead the Digital Equity Council. This cross-sector leadership group, known as the Guiding Team, is striving to reinvent the interactions between people, programmes, and organisations to create systemic change. This team ensures that Chicagoans who are most affected by the digital divide are represented at the table and are at the core of decision-making.
The Digital Equity Council will host a series of Community Conversations over the next six months. The topics of discussion will include 1) Barriers to Digital Equity, 2) Community Assets and Digital Equity Resources, and 3) Co-creating Digital Equity Solutions.
The Digital Equity Council’s work will be concentrated in areas of the city with the lowest rates of at-home internet connectivity, but there will be opportunities to share experiences, perspectives, and ideas across the city through both digital and in-person or paper-based channels to ensure that everyone can participate. The events will be available in both English and Spanish.
The City understands the value of cross-sector collaboration to ensure that investments, programmes, and policies are coordinated and build on the community work already underway. The Digital Equity Council’s activities will result in a digital equity roadmap that will guide initiatives across the digital equity ecosystem.
The newly created council will also provide guidance on how to establish a long-term digital equality coalition to ensure that reducing the digital divide remains a major priority for the government, the corporate sector, and direct service providers alike.
The triple challenges of the COVID-19 epidemic, expanding economic inequality, and racial injustice facing impoverished communities and communities of colour without access to broadband internet at home have prompted the formation of digital inclusion coalitions around the country.
The City of Chicago is building on its successful efforts to date by prioritising equitable access to affordable internet for low-income, unserved, and underserved communities. When access, affordability, and digital skills training are combined, users will be able to make the most of their broadband connections, ensuring that individuals and communities in Chicago have the tools they need.
The digital divide in Chicago is a racial equity concern. Over a quarter of Chicago households lack internet access, and over a quarter lack computers. The communities with the lowest connectivity rates are predominantly Black, with median household incomes of less than $27,000 on average.
The Digital Equity Council will make recommendations to close this gap through a comprehensive community engagement strategy, resulting in a state of digital equity in which all Chicagoans have the essential digital skills and other resources to fully participate in society, democracy, and the economy.
To be able to manufacture excellent and competitive products, the government is encouraging Indonesian fashion industry players to improve digitalisation and sustainability; and the digitalisation of fashion shows encouraged designers to be more inventive in their public presentations of new collections.
Angela Tanoesoedibjo, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy stated that the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed consumer behaviour and consumers are growing more tech-savvy. Several surveys also reveal that, despite a decreased tendency in consumption of fashion products and accessories throughout the pandemic, fashion and accessories continue to dominate e-commerce sales. She added that strengthening the digital aspect and issues of sustainability are two things that must be anticipated by Indonesian fashion industry players.
“This is an opportunity that we need to take for fashion activists in the country because the online shopping phenomenon will not stop here. Technology will continue to develop in the fashion industry and moreover, Indonesia is dominated by young people who are very close to technology,” the Deputy Minister Angela elaborated, referring to the recent online bazaars and live streaming of the Indonesia Fashion Week (IFW) that showcased Indonesian culture.
The Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy acknowledged IFW 2022, which embraces digitisation as well as the designers that continue to present inventions and innovations to continue to thrill the national fashion sector, which grew by 52 per cent in 2021. The Ministry has urged SMEs in the creative industry, such as fashion, to become digital and seek new revenue opportunities and must take advantage of any sustainability issues.
Though the epidemic has increased public concern about environmental goals – environmental, cultural, and economic sustainability are all important considerations. Deputy Minister Angela was impressed with the numerous new local firms that use ecologically friendly materials and employ sustainable procedures. They also give training to mothers in the regions, helping them upskill themselves.
Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy is now continuing to collaborate to encourage the domestic fashion world and strengthen the Indonesian fashion ecosystem with two things, namely technological innovation, and a sustainability agenda. Local fashion industries see these opportunities to bounce back from adversity for 2 years as much as they need support as possible from stakeholders and from the government sectors.
Meanwhile, Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno, Minister, Tourism and Creative Economy cited that the Indonesian tourism and the creative market must be revitalised in the new normal period to ensure that they can develop and adapt to the digital era.
This plan will wrap up the ministry’s other initiative, #BeliKreatifLokal or #BuyLocalCreative, which was launched during Wishnutama’s tenure. The initiative intends to help entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized businesses in the creative industries, including fashion, gastronomy, and craft, recover from the effects of the epidemic.
This is a national effort to encourage micro, small, and medium-sized businesses (MSMEs) to adopt digital and generate more locally unique products by emphasizing local knowledge as a key feature.
Sandiaga added with their enormous potential, the tourism and creative industries are thought to be able to contribute more to the national GDP. Indonesia is rich in cultural diversity and local culture, including traditional culinary, music, and art performances, in addition to gorgeous natural tourism destinations. Indonesia has a lot to offer, with over 199 traditional dances, 724 traditional languages, and 1,340 ethnicities.
Product diversification and the development of tourism locations outside of Bali will undoubtedly become a successful technique for attracting more tourists to Indonesia. At the same time, the creative economy sector that surrounds the tourism industry is predicted to grow with the help of technology and innovation.
“This is a national campaign to support micro, small, and medium enterprises [MSMEs] to go digital and produce more local innovative products by maximising local knowledge as their main characteristics,” Sandiaga said.