The Future Of Work

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By June Ramli

Sydney, June 22: Ever since the pandemic hit us two years ago, now everyone has strong opinions on how they want to spend their time at work.
As the idea of a four-day work week continues to gain traction across Southeast Asia, new Qualtrics research reveals that 60 per cent of full-time employees in the region would prefer the flexibility to work whenever they want over one less day at work.
For workers in Malaysia, the preference for flexibility was slightly greater, with 62 per cent opting for it over a shorter work week. 
Sixty-six per cent of those surveyed said flexibility played a bigger driver of retention rather than a four-day work week or 50 per cent in Southeast Asia.
With organisations across the region continuing to refine ways of working after two years of remote work, and leaders in Malaysia debating the feasibility of adopting a four-day work week, the Qualtrics findings highlight the importance of successfully aligning the new programs being adopted with the needs and expectations of employees. 
For a third of employees in Southeast Asia or 33 per cent surveyed, flexibility means having control of the hours they want to work.
Twenty-four per cent surveyed define flexibility as having the ability to work from any location, choosing the days they work (19 per cent), or being measured by performance instead of hours (18 per cent).
Respondents from Malaysia echoed the same preferences.
While the majority of employees have a preference for flexibility if, given the choice, 86 per cent of respondents in the region are open to supporting their employer in implementing a four-day work week – predominantly citing improvements to their health and wellbeing as the reasons for doing so.
The majority of respondents – including those from Malaysia – believe a four-day work week could improve their work-life balance, mental wellbeing, and productivity, and make them feel more loyal to their employer.
There is also a willingness to take a pay cut to work one less day a week for 60 per cent of respondents in Southeast Asia, with those in Malaysia less willing standing at 54 per cent surveyed.
The Qualtrics survey was carried out last month and includes 3,415 respondents 18 years of age or older employed full- or part-time across a range of industries in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, and Singapore.
Questions relating to the four-day work week were only answered by full-time employees, totalling 2,846 respondents of which 557 respondents were from Malaysia.
Next, let’s move on to work claims, a recent study in Sydney, revealed a staggering 46 per cent of Aussie employees are being left out of pocket when it comes to work-related expenses, according to exclusive research from DiviPay, Australia’s digital expense platform.
As Australia’s cost of living skyrockets, perhaps even more shocking is that one in five employees never get these expenses back.
This revelation was made following a 15 question online survey amongst a thousand Australians aged between 18 to 60-years-old, nationally representative in terms of location and age. 
All respondents are employees living in Australia and working for Australian companies with less than 10,000 staff.
Those surveyed aren’t owners or executive staff.
“Our research has shown that employees are experiencing high levels of anxiety when claiming back work expenses but this is something that is easily fixable,” DiviPay co-founder and CTO Russell Martin said. 
“Having a robust, easy-to-use platform for corporate claims may seem like a small initiative but it can make all the difference to an employee’s job satisfaction and will be crucial for employee retention.”
Finally, a recent CFO research undertaken by Globalization Partners revealed that more than nine out of ten Asia Pacific (APAC) chief financial officers (CFOs) or 92 per cent surveyed agree that allowing employees to work in locations of their choice rather than having to backfill a position is the preferred talent strategy for key stakeholders.
While close to 49 per cent of the APAC CFOs surveyed said that their companies’ talent strategy is based on having a hybrid workplace.

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