U.S. researchers combined large sets of real-world solar data and advanced machine learning to study the impacts of severe weather on solar farms, and sort out what factors affect energy generation. Their results were published earlier this month in the scientific journal Applied Energy. This research was supported by the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office and was conducted in partnership with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
Hurricanes, blizzards, hailstorms and wildfires all pose risks to solar farms both directly in the form of costly damage and indirectly in the form of blocked sunlight and reduced electricity output. Two U.S. researchers scoured maintenance tickets from more than 800 solar farms in 24 states and combined that information with electricity generation data and weather records to assess the effects of severe weather on the facilities. By identifying the factors that contribute to low performance, they hope to increase the resiliency of solar farms to extreme weather.
Trying to understand how future climate conditions could impact our national energy infrastructure, is exactly what we need to be doing if we want our renewable energy sector to be resilient under a changing climate. Right now, we are focused on extreme weather events, but eventually we will extend into chronic exposure events like consistent extreme heat.
The research team first used natural-language processing, a type of machine learning used by smart assistants, to analyse six years of solar maintenance records for key weather-related words. The analysis methods they used for this study has since been published is freely available for other photovoltaic researchers and operators.
While hailstorms tend to be very costly, they did not appear in solar farm maintenance records, likely because operators tend to document hail damage in the form of insurance claims. Instead, she found that hurricanes were mentioned in almost 15% of weather-related maintenance records, followed by the other weather terms, such as snow, storm, lightning and wind.
The lead author on the paper stated that some hurricanes damage racking — the structure that holds up the panels — due to the high winds. The other major issue they have seen from the maintenance records and talking with our industry partners is flooding blocking access to the site, which delays the process of turning the plant back on.
The researchers combined more than two years of real-world electricity production data from more than 100 solar farms in 16 states with historical weather data to assess the effects of severe weather on solar farms. They used statistics to find that snowstorms had the highest effect on electricity production, followed by hurricanes and a general group of other storms. Then they used a machine learning algorithm to uncover the hidden factors that contributed to low performance from these severe weather events.
The lead author said that statistics gives part of the picture, but machine learning was really helpful in clarifying what are those most important variables. The researchers ended up with a suite of variables and machine learning was used to hone in on the most important ones. The team found that across the board older solar farms were affected the most by severe weather. One possibility for this is that older solar farms had more wear-and-tear from being exposed to the elements longer
The researchers are currently expanding this work to look at the effects of severe weather on the entire electrical grid, add in more production data, and answer even more questions to help the grid adapt to the changing climate and evolving technologies.
Public sector leaders across the citizen service gamut – be it healthcare, education, human resources or finance – have a mandate to effectively deliver services irrespective of the environment.
Good citizen experience is one of the most essential components of an effective government. This means people need to know what is available and easily avail what they need. Irrespective of where people access the government, they should be able to navigate to where they need to be and get what they need to get.
Unfortunately, it is still a far cry from the seamless, personalised engagements that citizens have and expect from the private sector. While many governments are prioritising improvement in the way they engage with their customers, bureaucratic processes and outdated policies can often stymie good intentions. Getting information or accessing services from government agencies online continues to be a tedious process and often remains a frustrating experience in most countries.
A simplified, unified, cohesive experience across all departments and agencies is what whole-of-government is. And for the most part, efficiencies are being brought in through digital transformation using cutting edge technologies. However, in a usually siloed environment, this is no simple ask. Despite the availability and preponderance of platforms and solutions, and indeed, perhaps because of it, digital executives struggle to determine the best way forward.
To help decide their ideal strategy, Adobe’s No-wrong-door offers a unique approach that leverages the power of the Adobe Experience Cloud to provide a smooth, efficient experience for citizens to navigate to where they need to be, irrespective of the ‘door’ they enter.
Want to learn more? Read Adobe’s No-wrong-door.
DevOps is what unifies people, processes and technology, allowing organisations to thrive and the bandwidth to rethink, reimagine and reinvent themselves. The capability to share resources and collaborate across networks on a platform that provides infrastructure, services, platforms and applications as needed, when needed and where needed opens up endless possibilities.
A DevOps perspective combined with suitable practices and tools, allows organisations to better work together internally and better respond to customer needs and expectations – achieving goals and mandates faster and more efficiently and delivering better client and citizen experiences.
Red Hat OpenShift is the leading enterprise Kubernetes platform*, built for an open hybrid cloud strategy. Red Hat OpenShift’s full-stack automated operations, consistent experience—across all environments—and self-service provisioning for developers lets teams work together to more efficiently move ideas from development to production.
Red Hat OpenShift is available as a fully managed cloud service on leading public clouds, or as a self-managed software offering for organisations requiring more customisation.
Want to learn more? Read the Red Hat Guide!
The Philippines’ Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) is expected to have strong and reliable connectivity by 2023 after an internet service provider committed to providing a fibre-optic broadband network and satellite connectivity to the most remote mountain towns.
Given the region’s terrain, which will make installing fibre optic cables difficult, satellite global technology will be used to connect hard-to-reach areas. The lines will be implemented in seven Benguet towns, six municipalities in Mountain Province, four towns in Kaling and four in Abra; this will all be completed during the Phase 1 installation which is expected to end by January 2022.
We would like to build a world-class digital highway through the Cordillera and support the growth and development of the provinces. We would like to see the Cordillera provinces beginning to use the technology to deliver the much-needed service to the people.
– Chief executive officer of Philippines ICT solutions company
The installation of fibre optic cables is the responsibility of a network and ICT company’s lead engineer who confirmed that several backbone cables have been installed in the towns of La Trinidad, Sablan, Tuba and Tublay (BLSTT), with the majority of the cables active and reaching homes.
The engineer elaborated that by March 2022 to 2023, the cable lines would have reached Asipulo, Alfonso Lista, Kiangan, and Lagawe in Ifugao; Pudtol, Kabugao and Flora in Apayao; Paracelis, Barlig, and Natonin in Mountain Province; and Kabayan, Kapangan and Kibungan in Benguet, including Banaue and Hingyon in Ifugao, for the last leg of the project which will be followed by the continuing expansion project to bring secondary lines in homes and offices.
In his speech following the signing of the MOA, Mountain Province Governor said that an improved communication network will not only allow local governments to provide better and faster services. It will also benefit students and the community as a whole. The signing was witnessed by the Presidential Legal Counsel, who facilitated the inclusion of the Cordillera in the company’s expansion project. The Governor of Benguet, on the other hand, hopes for improved performance of the existing connectivity service.
“We are happy that the company included the Cordillera as an expansion project. It is a defining moment for the people of the Cordillera,” said the province Mayor of Tabuk City, Kalinga. He acknowledged that their plan to reopen tourism will need internet service as they have an online registration portal to control the number of tourists. Their inclusion in the project will significantly aid in economic recovery.
The CEO of the ICT solution company stated in a recorded video message that his company’s goal is to go to unserved and underserved areas and that the company’s goal is to connect the majority of Filipino households and the signing of the MOA will bring them closer to that goal.
Regarding other initiatives implemented to boost the Philippines’s ICT infrastructure, OpenGov Asia in an article reported that the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) introduced the “Digital Infrastructure Monitoring System, a monitoring mechanism for tower construction designed to improve permit processing time and accelerate the deployment of connectivity infrastructure in the country.
“Through the Monitoring System, we endeavour to “future-proof” our Common Tower Initiative by ensuring that our streamlining efforts in the previous years will not go to waste and continue to contribute to building a more far-reaching and robust ICT infrastructure in the country, regardless of changes in national leadership. The case is when a new administration sits in, some projects of the previous admin are side-lined to give way to the projects of the current admin — we don’t want that to happen,” the DICT secretary said.
The rate and scale of advancement in digital technologies are the driving demand for semiconductor products, which Philippine manufacturers can capitalise on. During the Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Foundation, Inc. (SEIPI) general membership meeting, the co-founder and president of a Philippines investment firm stated that current global trends include artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, and 5G. It is predicted that total demand for semiconductor products will indeed rise by 25% by 2025, owing to growth in automotive, consumer electronics, aerospace and defence, video surveillance, and healthcare. He went on to say that massive growth in IoT is expected to outnumber the global population by three times in the next two years.
In an article, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has urged the electronics and semiconductor industries to continue exploring the high-value market for the Internet of Things (IoT) in the face of rising demand. In a recent event, Trade Secretary Liam Fox stated that nearly all devices will be connected to the internet in the future and that semiconductor chips and electronic hardware will enable this.
Entering these new markets will allow us to leverage on our comparative advantage in the electronics industry value chain and upgrade into more complex and high-growth products.
– Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Chief
“IoT will be one of the 4IR [Fourth Industrial Revolution] dominant technologies that will introduce hyperconnected devices using sensors embedded with other advanced technologies such as AI, edge computing, virtual reality and augmented reality for greater product quality and user experience,” he said.
It is estimated there are over 10 billion active IoT devices in the world, the DTI chief said, noting that this number is expected to surpass 25.4 billion by 2030. Demand will be supported, according to the trade chief, by industrial and consumer segments such as autonomous and connected vehicles, smart home products, smart health “wearables,” clean and resilient technology, and gaming products, among others. “By entering these new markets, we will be able to leverage our comparative advantage in the electronics industry value chain and upgrade into more complex and high-growth products,” he said.
He went on to say that as digital technologies, particularly cloud computing, advance, more data storage will be required. “Not only will this have increased demand for memory, but also for servers, CPU, and data centre-to-data-centre connectivity. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, 100 zettabytes of data stored in the cloud is expected by 2025. Demand for semiconductor products will be driven by the growth of 5G, which is expected to contribute USD13 trillion to the global economy by 2035. According to reports, the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic has accelerated digital technologies, which will impact demand for electronics and semiconductor goods.
Technology not only improves people’s lives, but it also simplifies many jobs. A company’s digital transformation allows it to keep up with changing customer demands and, as a result, thrive in the future. It enables businesses to compete more effectively in a constantly changing economic environment as a result of technological advancements. Proper digital turnaround management enables businesses to gain operational and productive advantages.
OpenGov Asia reported that the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has stressed the importance of data science, analytics, and digital transformation that would help make better policies and deliver better services in government. It acknowledged participation at the 2021 Analytics Summit PH the importance of digitalisation during the pandemic when social protection programmes must be delivered efficiently using information and communications technology (ICT).
“I have always believed and advocated for digital transformation within the government to strengthen policy-making and service delivery. The government and businesses alike need to use data science to make better policies. This has become even more urgent in the new normal,” the NEDA general said.
Through its B2B arm enterprise, a leading telco company in the Philippines is closely collaborating with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Philippine Board of Investments (BOI) to support the priming of the country’s digital readiness in a multi-agency government initiative to attract global hyperscalers expanding in Asia. On the foundation of its “Make It Happen in the Philippine (MIH) campaign, DTI and BOI announced lately the addition of hypercalators as the sixth key sector to push the Philippines as the next hyperscale hub in the Asia Pacific.
We have a thriving digital economy and a good economic profile. The digital readiness of our enterprises is helping propel our economic growth even further.
– Philippine Board of Investments Chairman
Hyperscalers are global technology companies that provide cloud and internet-based services. They require massive amounts of space, power, and connectivity in the regions where they widen in place to bolster their vast customer base and user demand surges. The DTI Secretary and BOI Chairman emphasised the strong government and private sector collaboration behind the campaign to lay the groundwork for the Philippine digital economy.
“After being widely recognised as the outsourcing capital of the world, this is the natural next step for the Philippines, as our country now has all the necessary elements in place to make this happen”. he spoke.
BOI launched its international investment campaign, “Make It Happen in the Philippines,” in November of last year, with the aim of inviting and enticing foreign investors to invest and conduct business in the country. It initially focused on five priority industries: automotive, aerospace, electronics, copper, information technology, and business process management.
Enterprise Business Groups’ President & CEO and SVP & Head for the Philippines’ leading telco company, Enterprise Business Groups, reaffirmed the company’s commitment to expanding the country’s digital infrastructure for global tech companies seeking to expand amid the fast-growing demand for digital and data services.
“In the midst of a digital revolution, we at the company ensure our unbreakable support and commitment to help bring the Philippines’s digital infrastructure to the next level. With the private and public sectors’ cooperation in driving our digital ecosystems to greater heights, we are confident that we are ready to open up our country as the next destination for hyperscalers,” said the President & CEO and SVP & Head for the Philippines leading telco company.
The Department of Energy (DOE), the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), and the Manila Electric Company will join the DTI – BOI and leading telco company in accelerating programmes proving the country’s digital economy and infrastructure capabilities.
“The DICT expresses its utmost commitment to improving telecommunications and internet service in the country to create a more conducive and thriving business environment. This will allow our investors and telcos to take bold steps in providing internet connectivity and improving the quality of ICT services in the Philippines,” he said.
The Senior Assistant Secretary to the DOE and Chief Sustainability Officer of the Electrical Group Manila also spoke of equality in this project and discussed both the public and private sector sustainable and renewable energy investments to meet the hyperscale market.
“With the identification of the hyperscalers industry as one of our country’s newest and most strategic growth sectors, we fully support the move to make the Philippines a regional leader in the space. We, as Manila’s electric company, recognise the role we play to spur and support the growth of hyperscalers by delivering not only reliable, and high-quality energy, but also as we say earth-friendly power,” he noted.
In contrast, this public-private partnership seeks to continue to enhance the appeal of the country and to highlight the possibilities of the Philippines as a rising market for more global hyperscalers.
Government agencies around the world are implementing digital transformation projects and initiatives across the board to better citizen experience, satisfaction and experience while increasing efficiencies and reducing costs. While the digital economy has grown exponentially from 2020 onward as the pandemic forced businesses to go online and increase digital offerings, governments also had to provide online services.
The public sector had to accelerate digital transformation initiatives to ensure that citizens continue to avail essential and critical services seamlessly. These changes occur at all levels: national, regional, local and supranational. They impact issues such as public transportation and healthcare and other services that may be cross-cutting across various government agency areas – in regulated, semi-regulated or state-sponsored areas.
The global economy continues to endure severe challenges of the crisis and Malaysia is no exception. Malaysians from all social strata as well as workers in both the public and private sectors have not been spared. Entire industries faced upheaval and day-to-day life jas been upended.
The emergence of new technologies, data analytics and an increasingly VUCA environment alter expectations and modalities of the government mandate to deliver public services. The foundation for the country’s transformation towards an advanced digital economy has been laid out in the roadmap that has been created to make certain no Malaysian is left behind.
The Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint – MyDIGITAL – is formulated to set the direction, outline strategies, initiatives and targets to build a solid foundation to drive the growth of the digital economy, including bridging the digital divide. It aims to ensure that the country is ready to embrace a digital future and seize opportunities that arise in the new normal. Goals include constructing infrastructure, facilitating innovation and establishing an ecosystem in which all contribute to raising living standards while driving digital transformation in the public sector – all to be done by increasing the adoption of digital technologies and utilising digital tools to improve efficiency and productivity.
This was the focal point of the OpenGovLive! Virtual Breakfast Insight on 5 August 2021 – a closed-door, invitation-only, interactive session with Malaysia’s top government agencies. The session, which had 100% of attendance, focused on how government agencies and organisations can optimise infrastructure and use data analytics to reduce costs, risks and complexities. It also explored the importance of data recovery in the event of a ransomware attack.
Finding Partners to Leverage Data and Technology
To kickstart the session, Mohit Sagar, Group Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief at OpenGov Asia delivered the opening address.
With the remote working models in play early into the pandemic, people have grown accustomed to access at any time on any platform with any device – courtesy of online businesses. E-commerce companies have embraced personalisation and have transformed themselves in a variety of ways including accessibility, options, ease-of-business, and security.
Referring to the framework of different government agencies, Mohit asks the question: What are the government’s initiatives or efforts for the implementation of the framework?
Companies use big data in their systems to improve operations, provide better customer service, create personalised marketing campaigns, and take other actions that, ultimately, can increase revenue and profits. Businesses that use it effectively hold a potential competitive advantage over those that do not as they can make faster and more informed business decisions.
Mohit acknowledged the importance of data availability, storage and processing for organisations as most services have been shifted online. Against this backdrop, cyber attacks and ransomware are the biggest problems that companies have to deal with.
Apart from technology and processes, Mohit emphasises the importance of teamwork in data security and recovery. Finding the right partners is essential when it comes to recovering critical data from organisations. Having competent partners who focus on data protection, data recovery and compliance requirements against a wide range of cyber threats allows businesses to focus on their primary tasks and key deliverables.
Digital Transformation Outpaces Risk Management
Andy Ng Vice President, Asia South & Pacific Region, Veritas shared a welcome address and spoke on how digital transformation outpaces risk management.
“Hearing from every sector of organisations as we embarked on this digital transformation, creates a transformation gap,” Andy Ng said. “This transformation gap can be addressed by the 4 Cs – Costs, Cyber, Cloud, and Compliance”.
Cybersecurity, which includes ransomware, is required for businesses to plan strategies to mitigate or prevent ransomware attacks. Figures indicate that 38% of organisations hit by a ransomware attack were offline for a week or longer.
Currently, 94 % of enterprise organisations have a multi-cloud strategy in place. According to a survey, 80% of enterprise organisations by 2024 are likely to overspend by 20% to 50% because they are unaware of mistakes made in cloud adoption.
As organisations collect more data across silos, managing data across these sources becomes increasingly important. Organisations need to standardise data management across clouds.
Andy firmly agrees that compliance and adhering to new data regulations are critical components of closing the transformation gap. According to the survey, by 2023, 65% of the world’s population will have their personal information protected by modern privacy regulations, up from 10% today.
Taking the session forward, CM Woon, Regional Director, Asia South, Veritas elaborated on the Malaysian blueprint framework; a key aspect of this roadmap is the digital transformation in the public sector.
While the current framework reflects changes and innovations in the global digital landscape, he conceded that the nation began digital transformation well before the pandemic.
An example of this is the development of Cyberjaya – a tech-dedicated city – which has a science-dedicated park as the core and forms a key part of the Multimedia Super Corridor in Malaysia.
With the acceleration, almost everything has pivoted online, and most services can be availed from the comfort of people’s homes. He agrees that across the globe, and in Malaysia, both the private and public sectors have come a long way. Keeping data as the foundation and security at the fore, he is optimistic that they will continue to grow.
In this entire scenario, CM Woon is convinced that the most fundamental element is data and says, “Without data, there will be no transformation”. He also assured the delegates that Veritas ensures the safety of its customers’ data and that they prioritise cybersecurity.
Tackling the Transformation Gap
The participants next heard from Geoffrey Coley, Director Strategy & Architecture, Asia South Pacific, Veritas who elaborated further on tackling the transformation gap.
Geoffrey agreed that a company’s digital transformation appears to outpace its ability to manage risks effectively and efficiently. This is corroborated by what senior digital executives share about data, the cloud and ransomware.
He emphasised that data availability is important because only 82 % of data has been changed in the last two years, implying that data security is crucial for organisations.
“Recovering more than one data-set or IT service in the event of a failure would be extremely challenging”.
Data protection and accountability measures cover a range of issues including adopting and implementing data protection policies, maintaining documentation of processing activities, recording and reporting personal data breaches and ensuring organisations have a data protection officer appointed.
With increased security being placed on how companies handle consumer data, not to mention a flurry of data privacy legislation, now may be the ideal time for the framework. According to a Veritas survey, most organisations have not kept up with the complexity that cloud computing provides, with organisations across the Asia Pacific adding more rather than less to it.
The ever-increasing demands of the business and users become more difficult to meet. While core systems have a longer lifespan, customer interaction platforms change more frequently. Data management, in particular, has emerged as a critical task in today’s IT environment.
Other important aspects of cloud computing are visibility, controllability, and measurability. According to Geoffrey, if an organisation cannot visualise how an IT service is composed and if they cannot control and measure it, the organisation may be at risk. Ransomware, multi-pronged attacks that capture an organisation’s data and systems, play a significant role in this.
Geoffrey stressed the word anomalous – deviating from the norm. It is critical in an organisation to protect against, detect and recover from any type of ransomware. Organisations can prepare for this by taking precautions to ensure that their data is not corrupted or lost and that normal operations can resume as soon as possible.
Data governance is best viewed as a function that complements an organisation’s overall data management strategy. Such a framework offers organisations a comprehensive approach to data collection, management, security, and storage and takes into consideration where, who and what is gathering the organisation’s data.
International Case Study – Digital Evolution Now
Martyn Wallace, Chief Digital Officer Digital Office for Scottish Local Government expanded on digital evolution and how COVID-19 has impacted it.
He felt that data is the lever that Scotland must pull to improve outcomes for citizens while simultaneously lowering costs. Service design for digital transformation elements is critical because organisations must make the right decision and start in the right direction, to begin with.
He then listed the three data buckets:
1) Understanding the data which includes historical data and data storage
2) Reacting to the presence of data – mobile devices, real-time data and connected devices (IoT) and
3) When the first two are being used, then an organisation can anticipate the future which brings them to the use of Artificial Intelligence and Predictive Analytics.
Communications channels, customer relationship management, knowledge management, robotic process automation (RPA), business intelligence and the Internet of Things are invaluable to an organisation.
COVID-19 has pushed organisations to derive richer insights by forcing them to “react to the present” as well as to combine data across partners. In keeping with this, the Scottish Government established a cross-sector data task force for citizens and other public sectors such as healthcare and education.
When it comes to ransomware attacks in Scotland, businesses and the government have taken a stand to not pay any type of ransom. They firmly believe that paying a ransom does not guarantee a successful outcome, nor does it protect networks from future attacks or prevent future data leaks. Contrarily, paying a ransom is likely to encourage criminality to continue to use this approach.
After the informative presentations, delegates participated in interactive discussions facilitated by polling questions. This activity is designed to provide live-audience interaction, promote engagement, hear real-life experiences, and impart professional learning and development for participants.
The first question asked why digital transformation matters for the public sector. Well over half the delegates (58%) agreed that it improves government services. Over a quarter (27%) said it is to improve workflow efficiency and productivity. Over a tenth (12%) of the delegates indicated that it is to increase scope and quality for online services for better user experience and just 3% went with cost reduction.
The next query inquired about the key enablers of digital transformation. Half of the delegates said that the key enablers are speed of change for applications, data, and building/removing core business systems. A significant portion (41%) said they were driven by changing ‘rakyat’ (citizens) demands. Under a tenth (9%) said that it is operational cost savings.
Delegates were asked what the biggest challenges are faced by the public sector today when looking at digital transformation. Just under half (45%) indicated that their challenges are dependency or the need to integrate with legacy systems and/or technology. About a fifth (18%) felt it was cyber threats. Equally split at 14% was skills shortage to implement and operate technology and compliance to government regulations. About 9% voted that data management and protection was their biggest obstacle.
The fourth poll asked what factors delegates prioritise when evaluating new technologies. A strong majority (61%) indicated operational simplicity and product reliability. About a fifth (22%) said support for new and modern technology was a key consideration while 17% lower costs would be key.
The last question enquired about delegates key areas of interest and what they value more. About a third (38%) want ease-of-doing-business through a simplified technology consumption model. A quarter (24%) are looking for visibility into cross-system data and infrastructure to identify unexpected changes and potential risks. Under a fifth (19%) prize business resiliency through highly available applications and workloads. Similarly, another 19% value tools that deliver automation in areas like compliance and data availability.
Andy Ng and CM Woon both expressed gratitude to the delegates for attending the event and appreciated the robust discussion and keen insights.
The event revealed that government agencies are experiencing a digital explosion; increasing amounts of information are being produced and transmitted electronically, but the digital infrastructure supporting these operations is straining under the strain.
The pressure has exposed flaws in business processes, leadership strategy, training and recruitment efforts, reinforcing the notion that digital transformation is not fully understood, supported or directed as it should be. With limited budgets, agencies are forced to choose between equally important priorities such as data protection, mission expansion and workforce needs for the future.
A true transformation of procurement processes should be understood from a digital-by-design perspective, in which digital technologies are embedded from the start in the design, development, delivery and monitoring of procurement frameworks and processes.
Both Andy and CM Woon invited the delegates to reach out to them to explore ways that Veritas could help them in their digital journeys.
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.