Do you have an agile working policy at your organisation? If not, it might be time to implement one.
According to Randstad’s Workmonitor, eight in 10 employees around the world said they prefer agile working as it allows them to maintain a good work-life balance.
Zooming in on the APAC countries, the same sentiment was shared by 89% of employees in the region – 90% of employees in Malaysia and China, 91% of staff in Hong Kong, and 85% of those in Singapore.
That said, 55% of employees in APAC believed the freedom of flexible work arrangements will interfere with their personal lives. As more companies provide employees with digital devices such as smartphones and laptops, workers may feel compelled to be “always-on‟ and are not always sure how and when to disconnect.
That sentiment is especially strong in Malaysia, where 63% of employees felt agile working will interfere with their personal lives – the highest across all four Asian markets.
Interestingly, it is the Millennials (68%) who feel more pressured to be “always-on” as compared to mature workers aged between 55 and 67 (39%). Mature workers are also more likely to prefer agile working as they believe that it can improve their overall job satisfaction, with all employees aged between 55 and 67 agreeing with this statement. This group of workers also said that flexible work arrangement plays a significant part in improving their work-life balance.
Across the causeway in Singapore, workers have the most freedom to decide for themselves, where, when and how they want to do their work.
Three in four employees in Singapore have the flexibility to work from home and outside of stipulated business hours. The flexibility to work at an offsite location is popular among Singaporeans, as 87% said that having the autonomy at work increases their productivity, creativity and job satisfaction.
However, 56% of the employees felt that they are unable to disconnect from work. Women workers in Singapore are less likely to feel that agile working has interfered with their personal life as compared to men.
Jaya Dass, managing director at Randstad Singapore, said: “Employees in Singapore are known to be hard workers and often clock long hours at work. There is also a risk of presenteeism, which is mistakenly accepted as having a commendable work attitude. Unfortunately, this behaviour impacts workplace productivity and business profitability.
“Digital devices should not cause any unnecessary stress and employers who entrust their staff with the flexibility to work outside of the office at a time that works best for them are encouraged to respect employees’ working hours. Employees who are given the freedom should also have a clear sense of their responsibilities, provide timely updates to their coworkers and keep to their deadlines.”
In contrast with Singapore, Hongkongers are the most likely to work at the office without having the option of agile working, with 85% doing so.
However, nine in 10 employees want to have the option to work outside of the office environment and during a time that better accommodates their lifestyle. Agile working is believed to promote autonomy as Hongkongers want to be given the responsibility to manage their work with greater flexibility.
Similar to the previous two countries, 89% of Hongkongers believe the higher level of autonomy will lead to greater job satisfaction, productivity and creativity.
In Hong Kong, only one in two respondents said that they feel pressured to be “always on‟, the lowest in all four Asian markets. Mature employees are the least likely to feel pressured, with 59% of them choosing not to work outside of business hours so that they can focus more on their personal lives. This indicates a strong appetite from the workforce to benefit from agile working options.
Over in China, employees welcome the option of flexible work arrangement, with 90% of them believing that it can help them lead a healthier lifestyle. Furthermore, 92% want to have more autonomy at work to attain job satisfaction.
However, unlike other Asian markets, mature workers in mainland China are more likely to feel that agile working has interfered into their personal lives, with 67% of the people believing so.
In addition, 100% of the same demographic said that everyone works at the office during opening hours. Millennials in mainland China are more likely to ask for flexible work arrangements as they believe that it will help them maintain a good work-life balance.