3 in 10 APAC firms not yet equipped for hybrid work

One in every five (21%) of organisations in eight markets across the Asia-Pacific region have put expansion plans on hold owing to uncertainty around the pandemic, according to a report from Telstra.

However, global and regional expansions remain high on companies’ operations growth plans, with 38% looking to expand globally and 28% looking at APAC markets. 

Telstra commissioned independent market research firm Kantar to look at the transformation landscape in a hybrid work environment among 461 business decision makers and 560 employees spread across Australia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Results show that with the disruption brought about by the pandemic, 85% of organisations are promoting hybrid work arrangements, and seven in 10 organisations are now recruiting talent from all locations and allowing hybrid work arrangements. 

Organisations surveyed are expecting virtual work to increase by 83% in the next six to 12 months, despite offices reopening. In addition, 74% of employees in APAC believe that they and their teams are more productive with flexible work arrangements.

Geraldine Kor, Telstra managing director for South Asia, said 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 Kor. 

“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,” she added.

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. 

Among firms, 70% already have a strategy in place to identify and deploy the right technology and tools to facilitate both office-based and remote work.

APAC business leaders have identified three priority 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 top three tools that would 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%). 

More than a third (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%).

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%).