Asian employees go for flexible work scheme, shun going onsite

A majority of employees in Asia have expressed a desire for flexibility in where their work gets done and only 7% want to commit to a completely onsite work arrangement, according to JobStreet.

This is from the study Decoding Global Ways of Working, which covered 209,000 respondents from 190 countries, including 66,624 from Asia. It was conducted in partnership with JobStreet’s parent firm SEEK Asia, Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and The Network.

Most of the Asian respondents prefer to work two to three days remotely every week, with two exceptions. In the Philippines, 49% of respondents prefer to work all five days completely remote. But in Hong Kong, only 9% of the respondents Kong are keen on a completely remote arrangement — likely due to their housing situation, where their houses are not ideal for a home office. 

Apart from work location and work practices, the survey also identified some shifts in what people value at work. Good relationships with their colleagues, followed by financial compensation in the form of salaries and bonuses, are what Asian employees consider when it comes to staying in their current jobs. 

Also, 79% of respondents indicated that the issue of employers’ environmental responsibility has become more important to them. This sentiment is especially strong amongst workers in Indonesia (85%), the Philippines (83%) and Malaysia (80%). 

Roughly seven in 10 respondents now value diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Social issues resonate strongly with workers in Thailand (91%), the Philippines (85%) and Malaysia (83%). 

One positive change is people’s increased reliance and facility with using digital tools for their job roles. This improved use of digital tools during the pandemic was widely noted in Thailand, the Philippines and Malaysia. 

The well-being of workers, however, is on severe decline. Employees from Hong Kong and Indonesia experienced a negative change in their well-being, especially those in physical or social jobs, where they had to continue working in person. 

“In today’s digital world, they (employers) must be technology champions, ensuring convenient access to collaboration tools and the deployment of robust infrastructure in both the office and at home.,” says Peter Bithos, CEO of SEEK Asia. 

“Secondly, they must make employee well-being, work-life balance, mentorship and career development a key part of their companies’ core,” added Bithos. “Finally, they need to be a role model to their employees, with their corporate social responsibility efforts focusing on tackling important social and/or environmental issues.”