Total Rewards Asia Summit 2024 Singapore
What's the status of hybrid work in APAC?

What's the status of hybrid work in APAC?

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More than one in five leaders in the Philippines, India, Sri Lanka, and Malaysia expect employees to be working in the office 100% of the time.

The adoption and expectations of a hybrid work model in APAC have nearly doubled, with a 40.8% response pre-COVID, and a jump to 80.4% in the post-COVID era, according to Center for Creative Leadership (CCL). However, leaders' expectations vary greatly from market to market.

Singapore, according to the Work 3.0: Reimagining Leadership In A Hybrid World report, is one of the top adopters of workplace flexibility, where leaders are the least likely to expect employees to be fully onsite (1%). In contrast, more than one in five leaders in the Philippines, India, Sri Lanka, and Malaysia expect employees to be working in the office 100% of the time. 

The survey scoured views of over 2,000 leaders across 13 markets in APAC to examine trends in hybrid workplaces. Overall, the tensions that leaders must navigate to ensure organisational success in the future of work showed there is some way to go when it comes to designing flexible work strategies.

From a pre-pandemic level when just over one in two organisations {58%) expected employees to spend 100% of their work time in a physical office, post-pandemic, this number has changed to one in eight (12.8%). However on the subject of a four-day-week, only 2% of leaders in the region felt that this will be the preferred mode of working for their organisation in the next three to five years. 

The study also shows that employees love the work-from-home option, with four in-five (80%) survey respondents preferring to work at home.

Data suggests that the hybrid model may considerably lift the productivity and engagement of only top performers. Two-in-three leaders (52%) are supportive of their teams working in a hybrid mode. Similarly, one-in-two leaders also claim that they are "thriving" in the hybrid world.

leadership hybrid ccl

Hybrid work may have a two-fold impact on employee wellbeing, productivity, and engagement. While employee happiness was named as the top benefit, 46% felt that an isolated workstyle adversely impacted their social wellbeing.

There may be serious negative impact, however, on the below-average performers. As organisations and leaders embrace the hybrid model, they must have a mitigation plan for engagement and productivity erosion in their below-average performer pools.
 
The biggest drivers of success in the hybrid model are people and culture. Just over a third of survey respondents rank people and teams (36%) and organisation culture (34%) as the factors most responsible for driving success. These were followed by technology (15%), processes (11%), and workplace redesign respectively (4%), respectively.

Communication(49%) ranked the most important attribute of good hybrid leader followed by building trust (42%), expectation setting (32%), learning agility (20%), and digital dexterity (19%).

Evidently, individual capabilities and mindsets, team dynamics, and enabling culture of psychological safety, collaboration, and inclusion, will determine the future success of hybrid model implementation for organisations in the region.

Survey respondents comments on the 8 factors that may influence hybrid success

National culture

"Indonesian people may need more control, so we can't let them work on their own."

Organisation culture

"Implementing hybrid was not too hard in our organisation since the culture mainly centers on trust and empowerment."

Industry

"Our line of business is banking which is closely related to operations and service, therefore some units are unable to do hybrid work."

Function

"While we have transitioned our customer service teams to hybrid, other functions are expected to come in to work."

Role/nature of work

"For gaining knowledge/information, we can do hybrid work style; however, for harnessing wisdom, face-to-face mode is still more effective."

Leader level

"For negotiations at top-management level that require not only logical communication, but also emotional communication, face-to-face is essential."

Generation

"The seniors needed more time to adapt to the new situation since they were used to doing everything face-to-face. Meanwhile, the Millennials didn't have much problem embracing the hybrid policy.”

Leader personality

"As we left the hybrid discretion to our managers, we realised that some leaders transitioned quite easily while others struggled." 


Images / CCL

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