The world is now entering into a new future of work, how would the hybrid working environment look like in the near future, in a post COVID-19 world? ASUS commissioned an independent survey conducted by leading technology research firm, IDC. At the IDC & ASUS Webcast 2021 Singapore – Digital Transformation for the Next Normal in Asia Pacific, ASUS revealed that 45% of Singapore SMBs are likely to convert to a 100% laptop setup post COVID-19, underscoring the importance of mobility in a hybrid workplace model. This finding, among other interesting strategic insights to SMB technology use and how COVID-19 has affected related decisions.
How would the future of work be like for you and for your industry? Whether we like or not, we are moving into a hybrid working environment in a post COVID-19 world, the new future of work is here and upon us. I have been following on the future of work developments as the impacts and changes when COVID-19 started sweeping changes and economic impacts to the world economy and how we operate our business. From chatting with my friends from different industries, the changes and transformations varies.
The findings from this ASUS commissioned independent survey are interesting, provides an insights into the current situation and the pace we are moving into a new future of work as the world is going through a digital transformation for the next normal in Asia Pacific. Here are some summarised findings from the survey.
The “IDC Asia/Pacific Laptops and Workspace Trends Survey 2020” was conducted in mid-2020 in 10 countries across Asia Pacific, including Singapore. The survey sought to discover the challenges of remote working and the impact on SMBs’ provisioning of laptops and other work devices and involved 2,018 respondents across Asia Pacific, split equally between employers (IT decision makers) and employees who use laptops for work.
Asia Pacific SMBs Not Ready for Long-Term Remote Working Arrangements
At the Asia Pacific level, the survey reveals that businesses are not attuned to the “work-anywhere” trend brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. On average, only 28% of business owners in Asia Pacific expect employees to continue working remotely post COVID-19, with almost 40% anticipating a return to office. This short-term focus highlights the challenges that remote working entails – particularly around security, operational, collaboration / /communication, and productivity issues. But this also means that businesses are not supporting their employees fully with the right devices for a prolonged work from home (WFH). IDC stated that this short-term orientation will have a significant impact on the devices that are being purchased now and in future, with a profound, negative effect on employee productivity
Key Singapore Findings
For Singapore in particular, the survey found that only about half of SMBs (48%) were ready for WFH arrangements brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, over a third (35%) of those SMBs said that they were not completely prepared with the office equipment and software to enable remote working and that 50% of employers expect their workforce to return to the office once the situation is resolved as opposed to the Asia Pacific average of 46%. This revealed a general lack of long-term planning for remote working by Singapore SMBs.
However, 45% of Singapore SMBs (the highest in Asia/Pacific) are likely to move to a 100% laptop setup post COVID-19 and 61% plan to increase their laptop investments by 2022; indicating that this attitude is changing rapidly to cope with the situation better.
Other key Singapore SMB findings from the survey include:
- 62% of employees stated that businesses that offer advanced equipment and flexible working arrangements have a competitive edge over other companies
- 54% of businesses only refresh laptops when the staff complain that they are slow, and another 46% only do so when they are broken, whenever budget allows
- Singapore has the longest replacement cycles for laptops in Asia Pacific, with companies refreshing their employees’ laptops every 4 years on average before COVID-19 pandemic, and 3.7 years on average after. ASUS speculates that this is because Singapore SMBs tend to buy more expensive and powerful systems than the rest of APAC which extends service life.
- 61% of employees in Singapore want to have a say in the allotment of their devices
- 63% of Singapore businesses are considering procuring laptops/desktops under a lease model
- 80% of Singapore organizations use a laptop for web conferencing with a built-in camera and microphone, as compared to 74% in Asia/Pacific
Considering the survey findings, IDC advised that equipping employees with the latest devices that can support both a remote and hybrid work environment will have a significant impact not only on employee productivity and experience, but also will provide a competitive edge to organizations to attract and retain talent. IDC also suggested that Singapore SMBs implement the following three points with regard to technology implementation:
- Include laptops in as-a-service agreements – Give employees their choice in devices and move away from inflexible standardization policies. An as-a-service model can also provide easy access to features previously found only in enterprise-grade, custom-developed devices.
- Ensure employees have the right tools to do their job – Doing away with a one-size fits-all strategy and adopting a more personalized approach to computing by offering employees the laptop of their choice, or based on computing needs, will help improve productivity and efficiency.
- Refresh laptops faster for better employee experience – Shorten refresh cycles of laptops to keep in step with workforce requirements, as well as boost employee productivity and efficiency.
Personal Thoughts and Views
As we enter into a hybrid working environment, working between both office and home, a laptop setup makes more sense, portable and ease of use when you have to shuffle between work locations. The changes and transformations to a laptop setup might have already started for your organisation and for yourself. If haven’t started, the digital transformation for the next normal would probably be taking place very soon.
* Information and picture courtesy of ASUS Singapore *