Total Rewards Asia Summit 2024 Singapore
89% of employees oppose a return to ‘normal’ working life

89% of employees oppose a return to ‘normal’ working life



There’s no going back. New normal practices are here to say.

That’s according to findings in a just-published survey of 2300 workers across APAC, which found that nine out of ten are against a return to so-called normal working life after the pandemic subsides.

The report – conducted by talent solutions provider Skillsoft – examined employee expectations in a post-COVID workplace and revealed that 89% of respondents want at least one pandemic practice adopted permanently in their day-to-day lives. Just 11% want to return to how things were.   

The top practices that employees want to see introduced on a permanent basis are flexibility in their working hours (59%) and working from home (58%) – with almost half wanting more time dedicated to their wellbeing (47%) and increased family time (also 47%).

“It’s very interesting to see the emergence of a more inward mindset among workers across APAC – whether it is deciding when and how to work, prioritising family time over work and travel, concern for personal health, or taking charge of their own professional development. There is a resounding rejection of the old order,” said Rosie Cairnes, VP of Skillsoft APAC.

“The COVID period has created a trend that extends beyond flexible workplaces, toward genuine self-care. For companies to reach the other side of this pandemic in a good place, employee wellbeing must become a permanent focus, not just something that gets addressed during a crisis,” she added.  

Other key findings:  

  • More than four in ten respondents want a reduction in unnecessary work meetings (45%) and fewer outside commitments (43%).  
  • 38% are eager for more online professional L&D opportunities.  
  • The younger workforce is more likely than their older counterparts to want increased family time (57% among 18-24 years, 47% 50-64 years and just 37% for those aged 65 or above). 
  • And interestingly, almost one third of respondents want to see less business travel adopted permanently – something that has traditionally been perceived as a perk.

“Across APAC there is a strong push for policies and practices that promote greater gender, age, and racial balance – and this push is only going to grow louder as more young people enter the workforce,” said Cairnes.

“Organisations that rethink their hiring and policies and focus their future learning and development in these areas stand to benefit hugely in terms of available talent, employee engagement and retention,” she concluded.

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