Expect remote, hybrid working model to stay

As a result, some employers may opt to downsize their office space or search for more flexible spaces instead of spending on long-term rent


MALAYSIAN employees can expect a permanent work from home (WFH) or a hybrid working model that save both time and money.

According to Employment Hero co-founder and CEO Ben Thompson, there are far-reaching benefits on an employee’s productivity when companies invest in the remote and hybrid workplace post-pandemic.

Hence, remote working should not be seen as a fad but a work culture that produces results and a great way to reduce cost.

“Going into a remote or hybrid working model is an opportunity for companies to shift towards a sustainable way of working.

“Think of less office space, fewer office supplies, less commuting time, fewer business trips, better time management and greater employee concentration and productivity,” he said.

As a result, some employers may opt to downsize their office space or search for more flexible spaces instead of spending on long-term rent.

Thompson said some technology start-ups in other countries have permanently given up their office spaces and let their staff work remotely.

Alternatively, some have also moved to co-working spaces and explored new hybrid working models.

“In all likelihood, WFH arrangements will continue to be in place for the next year or so until the virus is brought under control, which is why more companies are considering the possibility of making WFH a permanent option for the immediate future,” said Thompson.

According to Employment Hero’s multi-region report, a majority of Malaysian employees (73%) had to change their workplaces due to Covid-19 and where 69% expected this to continue until the final quarter of 2021.

“We also found that employers in Malaysia (50%) were more likely to embrace flexible and remote working as the norm moving forward, in comparison to their neighbours in Singapore (39%).”

Despite the vaccination rollout and with many Malaysian employees wanting to be vaccinated, only 29% employees and 31% employers expect to return to the office by the fourth quarter of the year. This is due to the timeline of the vaccine rollout.

“When it is safe to return to the office, I expect more companies will implement a hybrid working model, with staff rotating between WFH and in the office.

To remain productive during this challenging period, employees would need consistent support from their employers.

It can be setting up home offices, training leadership to support and manage employees remotely, or implementing technology that effectively digitalises paper-based processes.

Thompson also advised employers to consider implementing incentives and programmes to benefit their workers’ wellbeing.

“For instance, there is the risk of WFH burnout. Employers should encourage their staff to take time off throughout the year by inserting an end-of-year expiry date on leave days to ensure their employees are taking adequate breaks throughout the year,” he suggested.

Wellbeing allowances could be used by employees to improve their physical, mental and financial health, including gym memberships, insurance plans or therapy and counselling.

Meanwhile, Linkedin Talent Solutions, Asia Pacific VP Feon Ang said 49% of Malaysians would like to WFH only once or twice a week after the pandemic.

“Moving forward, as we plan to accommodate a hybrid workforce, helping workers stay connected and collaborate must be a priority,” Ang explained.

Employers can do this through digital tools or encourage regular catch-ups between teams.

Ang also explained that another way to prevent employee burnouts as they WFH is to have mandated no-meeting days.