Horizons Newsletter – week 24 // 2020

Horizons is a bi-monthly Dasym Research initiative to show you how the Dasym themes have been in the news. We publish the Horizons on our website and as an email newsletter. If you wish to receive the email, please contact Investor Relations.
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Hygiene by design
People spend most of their time inside human-built environments, whether offices, homes, restaurants, vehicles or gyms. For Americans, this figure is as high as 90% of their day. With Covid-19 creating a heightened focus on hygiene and multiple studies generating evidence for indoor airborne viral transmission, this might increase momentum for buildings and their systems to adapt to a new era in which hygiene is a primary design need. Obvious solutions such as the provision of fresh air, hand sanitizers, and floor signs might be a start, but attention is increasingly shifting to technology-embedded building solutions. Touch-free operation of doors and toilet flushing and voice-activated technologies to control lighting and visual equipment can help improve indoor hygiene. In addition, investments in appropriate circulation, filtration, humidity and temperature can play a role in reducing disease transmission. Many of these technologies might have been considered nice-to-haves in the past. In the post-Covid-19 world, these solutions could become must-haves to ensure people feel comfortable and stay healthy indoors.

Europe’s fiscal moment
Last week, the European Commission proposed a €750 billion rescue package in response to Covid-19, called “Next Generation EU”, by collectively raising money from international capital markets. The difficulty is that all member states have to agree on the measures and that the proposal is controversial to some countries (e.g. the Frugal Four). Noteworthy, the proposal came from France and Germany, historically the drivers of European integration. As such, it could come to resemble the “Compromise of 1790”, in which U.S. states ceded fiscal control in exchange for a federalization of debt, boosting American investment and enhancing the U.S. global economic stance. If Europe could pull off a similar political act, it could emerge stronger from Covid-19: it would solve Europe’s problem of being a political union without a fiscal union, thus further cementing the E.U.’s global power and influence. European leaders will begin the discussions on 18-19 June, but given that Germany will take the rotating E.U. Presidency as of July and Merkel enters her last halfyear in politics, fiscal fireworks can likely only be expected in the second half of this year.

The future of skills
Recently, several big tech companies announced their post-pandemic work-from-home policies. Twitter for instance, announced its employees will have the option to work from home ‘forever’. According to Gartner, 74% of CFOs plan to shift at least 5% of their workforce permanently to remote positions post-pandemic. For some time, the rise of digitalization and technology in the workplace has been requiring a new set of skills for future work. Skills such as interpreting and visualizing data, programming, and other technical capabilities have become more important. According to a pre-pandemic Randstad survey, 60% of employees say they would have more job opportunities if they possessed broader digital and tech-focused skill sets. The pandemic is speeding up the importance of these skills, as it’s not just the job itself that requires them, but also the post-pandemic work environment which makes employees more dependent on digital tools to perform their jobs. This acceleration provides opportunities for platforms offering the tools for employees to reskill as well as for workplaces to position themselves as frontrunners in this new era of work.