With the disruption brought about by the pandemic, businesses have moved to adapt to the new work order.
Nearly 85% of Asia Pacific (APAC) organisations are promoting hybrid work arrangements, and seven in 10 organisations are now recruiting talent from all locations and allowing hybrid work arrangements, says a new report by telecommunications and technology company Telstra.
Organisations surveyed are expecting virtual work to increase by 83% in the next six to 12 months, despite offices reopening too. In addition, 74% of employees in APAC believe that they and their teams are more productive with flexible work arrangements.
The report, 'Telstra Asia Pacific Transformation Vision: Optimising for Hybrid', identifies how APAC business decision makers are rethinking their operations and work arrangements to benefit both employers and employees in the hybrid work era. It examines four key areas to help businesses bounce back from the pandemic: collaboration, leadership, productivity and economic impact, and optimised hybrid work and technology.
Gathering insights from over 450 business decision makers and 560 employees from across the Asia region including Australia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, the research also found that 21% of organisations have put expansion plans on hold owing to uncertainty around the pandemic. However, global and APAC expansions remain high on companies’ operations growth plans, with 38% looking to expand globally and 28% looking at APAC markets.
In terms of how technology is facilitating successful hybrid work environments, three out of four employees say that it has become easier to stay engaged and drive cultural exchange with technology. And while 70% of organisations already have a strategy in place to identify and deploy the right technology and tools to facilitate both office-based and remote work, 30% of the organisations are yet to implement the right technology to meet hybrid work.
As for strategic technology transformation priorities for their organisations, APAC business leaders have identified three areas for investments: emerging technologies (45%), cybersecurity (43%), and digital innovation projects (41%).
Large and small businesses differ in their focus priorities.
While large companies are focused on improving agile processes, including the way they work with partners such as service and solutions providers, smaller organisations prioritise cybersecurity improvements.
For employees, the research found that the pandemic lockdowns brought about a shift in demands for remote work. The study highlighted that employees’ top three tools to enable self-sufficient remote working include: wireless networks and other related services (57%); quality and uptime of remote working services (55%); and communication and collaboration (52%).
Interestingly, 37% of employees in small organisations show more affinity towards immersive digital experiences, like augmented reality and virtual meeting platforms, than those in larger organisations (29%).
To drive hybrid-working experiences, the research highlighted the clear need for policies and guidelines to keep pace with remote work scenarios.
As per the report, 60% of APAC leaders and employees are seeing progressive changes with a clear timeline to achieve full hybrid policies and guidelines.
Currently, organisations are measuring productivity by frequent goals communication (57%); usage of tools for teamwork and collaboration (56%), and output over the work completed (50%).
For future productivity strategies, organisations tend to look toward future-focused goals (66%), consistent policy on performance rating (58%), and updated performance indicators (53%).
“The changes from the past two years have triggered leaders to respond to new expectations from their employees and prompted businesses to accelerate their digital ambitions to stay relevant and continue to be available for customers. As we learn to navigate further uncertainties in the current economy, leaders must continue to be compassionate, and lean on digital tools to facilitate open communications with their teams,” said Geraldine Kor, managing director, South Asia, Telstra.
“There is no one-size-fits-all approach to building the work environment, but the right use of technology has the potential to facilitate employee engagement and foster corporate culture despite a decentralised workforce.”