Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, APAC, hybrid working, remote working, productivity, recruitment, flexibility, employee, retention, burnout


When it comes to hybrid working, 56% of respondents agreed that they would start losing staff and would be unable to attract new talent if they did not sort out their hybrid plans, while in APAC specifically, 60% agreed.

Hybrid working arrangements are unequivocally here to stay and those looking to drive organisational growth should not ignore its potential. Wanting to gain more insight on this shift, a Poly report based on a study of 2,528 global business decision-makers from December 2021 to February 2022, examined how prepared organisations are for the future of work — looking at everything from recruitment and retention to hybrid strategies, workforce, and wellness. 

Prefacing the results, the report stated: "Giving employees the freedom and the tools to mix being in the office with working remotely was already on the agenda: but it took overnight decisions taken by governments across the world to put it instantly to the test, and on a global scale."

Interestingly, the initial goal for many was purely short‐term business continuity. Yet, two years have passed and working norms have changed. 

Overall, the study observed:

  • 72% of organisations saw an increase in productivity as a result of remote/hybrid working,
  • 77% of organisations plan to rethink or redesign the office for new ways of working, and
  • Employees are being asked to visit the office for an average of three days.

Despite so, 37% of organisations were admittedly only prepared for hybrid work in the short term. Amongst other challenges noted, 55% of organisations also expressed concerns that The Great Resignation, combined with the skills shortage, could put them out of business. 

At the same time, while 67% of organisations recognise they have a 'moral duty' to protect employees from working too much and risking burnout, only half have actually taken steps to address this.

In particular, 38% are encouraging employees not to look at work emails outside of working hours and to take regular breaks, while 13% have processes in place to make sure employees aren’t working long hours (e.g. time tracking, set hours).

Recruitment and retention

Looking into recruitment and retention, over half of organisations reported an increase in resignations, while also fearing recruitment difficulties could put them out of business. Globally, 56% of respondents agreed that they would start losing staff and would be unable to attract new talent if they did not sort out their hybrid plans, while in APAC specifically, 60% agreed.

About 58% of organisations globally experienced the effect of 'The Great Resignation' – whereby employees are leaving their jobs post‐pandemic, with 54% in APAC indicating the same.  Lastly, 59% of organisations globally also agreed that the brain drain and lack of available talent is impacting their ability to grow their businesses - 61% of organisations in APAC agreed.

A Microsoft survey of over 30,000 workers across 31 countries showed that 41% were considering leaving their current jobs, citing shifting priorities and concerns over burnout as key reasons. A further survey by LinkedIn found 74% of employees said time spent at home during the pandemic caused them to re‐evaluate their current work situation.

[ALSO READ: The Great Resignation: How the global phenomenon is hitting Singapore’s SMEs hard]

Strategy and equality

According to Poly, organisations are caught in polarising opinions, with some accepting that hybrid work is needed to attract talent and others thinking it is just a passing trend. 

In APAC, 56% agreed that hybrid working is "a blip", and are looking forward to getting everyone back into the office — the highest among all regions. 

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Unsurprisingly, there was a variety of responses when it came to how often employers are asking staff to visit the office. While 19% of organisations wanted employees to return full‐time, the remaining 81% enabled some degree of flexibility – with three days being the average. Only 9% were giving staff complete flexibility over when and how often they came in.

 According to Poly, the top five hybrid work initiatives organisations are considering include:

  1. Offering flexibility to allow people to commute outside of rush hour
  2. Reimbursing hybrid workers for bills, such as their utilities
  3. Creating a reward scheme for coming into the office
  4. Providing a technology allowance for hybrid workers
  5. Offering incentives to come into the office (e.g. free lunches).

At the same time, while some organisations are offering these benefits, 17% are considering reducing pay for hybrid workers. "The assumption is they are saving on transport costs and should therefore accept a lower wage," the report noted.

Culture and workforce wellness

Seven in ten organisations have noted an increase in productivity after embracing remote and hybrid work arrangements.

On average, organisations globally estimated a 27% average increase in productivity since the shift to remote and hybrid working. In APAC specifically, there was an average noted increase of 28%.

Conversely, this comes with its own set of "unintended consequences", Poly cautioned - 58% of employees felt that the rise in remote working meant they are "always‐on and always available".

Interestingly, 67% of organisations globally agree that the shift from the traditional 9‐5 towards "anytime working" means they have a moral duty to protect employees from working too much. 

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Overall, 74% of organisations globally agree that the pandemic, and increased home working, has made fostering and retaining work culture harder than ever - with 73% of organisations in APAC agreeing so. 

[ALSO READ: The role of people managers in ending the ‘always-on’ culture]

Equality, experience, and evolution

More than six in 10 (64%) organisations across the globe say the office is no longer the face of the company, while close to eight in 10 (77%) of organisations say the pandemic forced them to get smarter about how they use space, people, and technology.

As a result, 77% are planning to rethink and redesign the office for new ways of working. 

Images / Poly report

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