Microsoft study reveals the state of frontline workers in Asia

Image courtesy of Microsoft

Microsoft released the results of a Work Trend Index study titled “Technology Can Help Unlock a New Future for Frontline Workers.”

According to the study, today’s 2 billion frontline workers worldwide represent 80% of the global workforce, with 88% of organisations employing people in frontline roles. Increasingly, companies are investing in digital tools for frontline workers to modernise workflows, enhance job performance, and improve workplace culture and communication. Microsoft said it saw 400% growth in monthly active usage of its Teams collaboration platform among frontline workers since March 2020.

The Work Trend Index study reveals insights that are said to impact nearly every segment of the workforce:

  • A culture of caring is the new currency on the frontline: 76% of workers feel bonded to each other, yet over 60% say their company should better prioritise culture and communication from the top. In addition, 51% of those in non-management positions on the frontline don’t feel valued as employees – in Australia, India and Japan, this figure is 52%, 23% and 75% respectively.
  • Frontline workers are at an inflection point: Amid the Great Reshuffle, frontline workers cite better pay and benefits, work-life balance, and flexibility as reasons for considering a job change. Skills development is also an important factor for frontline workers in India.
  • Optimism for tech is high: 63% of frontline workers are excited about the job opportunities tech creates, and tech ranks third on the list of factors workers say could help reduce workplace stress. In Asia:
    • Frontline workers in Australia look to tech to help them with scheduling of team members (33%), onboarding new team members (32%), and disconnecting outside of work (30%).
    • In India, frontline workers are looking to tech to help them with team usage of virtual reality/augmented reality (52%), real-time updates (51%), scheduling of team members (51%), managing schedules (51%), and outside communication (51%).
    • In Japan, frontline workers look to tech to help them with automating repetitive tasks (23%), onboarding new team members (20%), scheduling of team members (19%), fewer applications (19%), and less device usage (19%).
  • There’s an opportunity to bridge the tech and training gap: 46% of frontline workers feel pressure to adapt to new tech or fear losing their jobs – but 55% say they’ve had to learn new tech on the fly, with no formal training or practice. In Asia, this number is 51% for Australia, 56% for India, and 66% for Japan.

“It’s no secret that the pandemic is reshaping work for all workers, and at a faster pace than we have ever seen,” said Emma Williams, corporate vice president, Microsoft. “Empowering frontline workers remains essential for digital transformation. If done well, we believe technology can modernise workflows and enhance job performance while also improving workplace culture and communication.”