Remote working. It has rapidly found its way to the business routine of many. Especially since the Covid-pandemic and the 2020-2021 lockdowns, remote working has become a given in many sectors. So, what about control rooms? Are professionals there allowed to log in from home, or are they expected on-site during working hours? That was one of the things we investigated in our Global Control Room Report, a large survey in which we asked over 1000 control room professionals worldwide about their needs, aspirations and working conditions.
Let's kick it off with a remarkable number: 1 out of 4 control room professionals regularly works from home. That is a significantly lower percentage than in other sectors (where 68% of people work remotely part-time). And still, there is a big difference between the job functions: it’s mostly the IT-managers and C-level staff that can do this. Operators and control room managers are still a lot more ‘locked’ to working on site in their control room.
When asked if they would like to work remotely, no less than one out of two confirms – and even says that their work can be done remotely without a problem. Noteworthy here is that especially control room managers have doubts about the feasibility of remote working in their job roles. With only 40% of positive answers to this question. Operators (49%) on the other hand feel more confident about remote working.
Though clearly gaining ground and being overall very high on the wishing list, remote working is not yet really obvious it seems. An average of 34% want to work remotely – but can’t. Reconfirming above, control room managers are the ones that experience most difficulties when trying to work from home.
Also noteworthy, is that 5% of people is not interested in remote working at all, while 12% doesn’t care. We leave it up to you to decide if that is a lot or not. But moving forward, facilitating remote access to the control room will cover the need of 83% of the control room professionals.
Interesting here, is to take a look at regional differences. In EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa), only 42% of control room professionals indicate that they would like to work remotely, and their jobs allow them to. In APAC (Asia Pacific) this is 55%, and Americas is in the middle (51%).
What are the most important focus areas of a control room? According to our report, these are Risk management (34%) and Crisis handling of incidents (33%).
This is the case today, but will definitively also continue into the future. When asked about the top areas for within 5 years, the top 3 answers remain the same. And clearly, the importance of this top 3 is to increase.
When asked to indicate which features would best improve the overall performance, control room professionals have Artificial Intelligence (AI) pretty high on the radar. Technology helping the human operators out more and more in an early phase is the way forward.
Surprise, surprise. Looking at the lowest ranked, there is a lot less confidence in the potential of the metaverse and AR (Augmented Reality). These concepts scored less, and did not find their momentum yet or are now in the trough of disillusionment in the Gartner hype cycle curve . However, this might change if they end up on the slope of enlightenment. We’ll keep a close eye on this.
Do you agree with the results above? Or do you have completely different view? Please let us know on our LinkedIn channel.
This concludes the Blog series on our Global Control Room Report. We’ll shortly bundle all 3 Blogs in a report. And get you some bonus content in there.