AT LEAST one in every three respondents across Asia Pacific saw their employment situation change over the course of the last year, resulting in a shift in the benefits, perks and compensation that employees view as most important.
One of the reasons for the increasing emphasis on work-life balance is the shift from office to remote work.
According to data from Randstad Employer Branch Research, 70 per cent of respondents worked remotely at least some of the time in 2020, while one in four worked exclusively from home.
This is as 41 per cent of respondents from Malaysia were either furloughed, became unemployed, or worked different hours than usual due to the pandemic. Figures from Hong Kong and Singapore too stacked closely, at 40 per cent and 37 per cent respectively.
In terms of employee value proposition, attractive salary and benefits continued to rank as the most important factor (62 per cent) but work-life balance came in a close second (60 per cent).
"Valuing work-life balance has been a notable trend across all three markets over the years, but there has been a significant spike since the pandemic began," noted Randstad in its white paper.
Even as employees have expressed a wish to retain remote and flexible work arrangements as a standard offering, employers are also changing their tune.
According to the 16 HR professionals interviewed, remote work has significantly improved productivity and reduced cost for their companies. These benefits, and the general desire for remote work amongst employees, have emboldened many companies to continue offering hybrid work options for the long term, it noted.
Four challenges HR leaders may face were also highlighted. They comprise implementing new HR policies to accomodate flexible work, adjusting leadership style for the new normal, communicating effectively across a hybrid workspace, and creating an environment where it is genuinely safe and acceptable to work remotely.
It is key for the entire company to buy into the new way of work said the report.
"Even if companies offer remote or flexible work, company culture may not actually encourage it - one such indicator is if employees who come into the office are favoured for promotions over the ones who work remotely."
The entire workforce needs to change the way they measure productivity and understand that work is what you do and not where you do it, it said.