SINGAPORE, May 23, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Singapore businesses appear to be reaping the rewards of the government's Smart Nation initiative, as the country leads a number of indicators for office technology, according to a new report The Modern Workplace 2019: People, places & technology, by software company Condeco.
Smart Nation is a Government-backed programme, in place since 2017, which aims to merge technology into every aspect of Singapore citizens' lives. A programme of digitalisation is occurring across public services and private industry, in sectors including transport, offices, property and health. In particular, SMEs are being urged to go digital to become more productive.
The Condeco report into changing workspace found that business leaders in Singapore were much more likely to have installed smart building initiatives, such as networked appliances and energy efficiency measures, compared with other countries. Almost three-quarters (72 per cent) of Singapore respondents said their offices had these measures, compared with around half (55 per cent) of respondents as a whole.
"It's been only two years since Singapore launched it's Smart Nation initiative," said Peter Otto, Chief Product Officer, at Condeco. "It really looks like it's paying dividends. Our survey respondents were well ahead of other countries in significant areas like smart building initiatives and this is having a knock-on effect on their use of other technologies in the workspace, for example using apps to book meeting rooms, cloud computing and the internet of things."
Compared with last year's survey, Singapore businesses have seen a significant increase - 17 per cent - in the use of mobile apps to book meeting rooms. Respondents in Singapore were also more likely than average to say they expect certain key technologies to be importnt over the next 12 months. Cloud computing is likely to be important for 55 per cent of businesses in Singapore, compared with 46 per cent for the survey as a whole, with similar responses for the internet of things (50 per cent versus 35 per cent) and big data (46 per cent, versus 33 per cent).
The report, which draws on a survey of 750 business leaders in six countries, followed by qualitative interviews, found that digital transformation (37 per cent) was the biggest challenge that business leaders across the globe are facing in the next 12 months, followed by the adoption of new technology (35 per cent).
Across all countries surveyed, access to talent supply (26 per cent) and regulation and compliance (24 per cent) are considered greater organisational challenges than business uncertainty (22 per cent).
Welcome to the flexible working revolution
Almost half of businesses surveyed (41 per cent) say they already offer some degree of remote working, while three-fifths (60 per cent) provide flexitime opportunities, allowing employees to choose when to start and end their workday.
Among the countries in the survey, Singapore tops the flexitime rankings with 66 per cent of business leaders saying that their companies offered it. Remote working was prevalent in Australia (45 per cent) and least widespread in Germany (35 per cent). US businesses were least likely to offer flexitime (49 per cent).
Asked why they choose to offer remote working, the most common reason was to improve talent retention (52 per cent). This was a particular feature in the UK (64 per cent) and Australia (75 per cent). Reducing office costs (47 per cent) and meeting employee demand (45 per cent) were the next most significant factors.
"The research clearly shows that businesses are in the process of transforming their workplaces digitally, which enables them to transform the way that they are used physically," said Paul Statham, CEO of Condeco.
"Today's technology allows for space to be used more flexibly and for employees to work remotely. This benefits businesses by maximising office space, reducing costs and by keeping employees engaged and productive."
The end of meeting-room culture?
Businesses are only just beginning to realise the extent to which the need for co-workers to meet in person is a thing of the past, as new conferencing systems enable teams to maintain real-time collaboration and conversation across vast distances and multiple time zones.
When employees do go into the office, it is increasingly for meetings with their colleagues and customers. Yet the researchers discovered that finding, booking and using meeting rooms is a consistent point of organisational tension, even as more people are working remotely. In Singapore access to meeting rooms is particularly difficult, with just 9% of business leaders saying that their employees have access to meeting rooms whenever they need them. In comparison, across the whole survey 23% of companies say their employees have access to meeting rooms when needed.
Only a third of respondents (34 per cent) currently use specialist meeting-room scheduling software to help make efficient use of their available space. Some of those surveyed believed that there was an opportunity to use artificial intelligence to book and use meeting rooms more effectively.
NOTES TO EDITORS
This report draws from a quantitative survey of 750 business leaders in six countries: the UK, the USA, France, Germany, Australia and Singapore. Some 65 of these interviews were with CTOs, while 223 were with C-suite executives and 209 were with what we have termed 'workspace managers' (a combination of facilities, real estate, office and front of house management). The remaining 253 interviews were with senior executives.
This was followed by a qualitative stage, in which in-depth interviews were conducted with senior executives in five countries: the UK, the US, Germany, Singapore and Australia. These interviews covered a range of job titles – Chief Information Officer, Operations Director, Chief Technology Officer, Head of IT, Head of Facilities Management and Office and Facilities Manager – and a range of company sizes, from under 100 employees to a company with a staff of more than 10,000.
Condeco Software is the fastest growing company in workspace utilisation technology, with headquarters in London, England as well as additional locations in America, Europe, Asia and Australasia. The company has had a revenue growth hitting 35 per cent year-on-year, including a 35 per cent growth in new clients. Its world-class portfolio of workspace solutions is becoming essential tools in the strategies employed by senior business leaders heading up major multinational brands, optimising real estate and transforming business operations.
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