62% of Today’s Multigenerational Workforce Choose Working from Anywhere: Survey Reveals

April 7, 20177:54 am1189 views

New global survey into the future of work reveals 62 percent of today’s multigenerational workforce, now works from anywhere. Polycom Inc, a global leader in unified communication and collaboration, recently announced findings from a new worldwide consumer survey that explores the future of work and the impact technology is having on both employee behaviour and workplace culture.

It challenges the notion of going to work as we know it, with two-thirds (62 percent) of the global population quite literally working from anywhere. Capturing insights from more than 25,000 of today’s working population, including over 2,000 from Singapore, millennials to baby boomers and more, the findings show that despite generational differences, in some cases, age really is just a number.

The survey found three major flexible working trends that were commonly shared across the 12 countries:

  • Being able to work from anywhere is believed to boost performance with 98% of all respondents, believing that anywhere working has a positive impact on productivity.
  • Almost two thirds (62%) of the global working population are currently taking advantage of flexible working practices.
  • Findings also showed that 91% of respondents believe video collaboration helps improve workplace relationships and teamwork.

These results suggest that flexible workplace success is about providing the right environment that allows individuals and teams to work together productively to deliver great results.

Mei Lin Low, Director, APAC Solutions Marketing, Polycom explains, “With the build of high speed broadband networks across Asia Pacific, collaboration technology can now give people the freedom to work the way they want, regardless of where they are. Flexible working is becoming business-normal; employees expect it and employers need to establish flexible working policies to attract and retain their best talent.” 

“Regardless of whether you are working in Australia or China, a millennial or baby boomer, the findings show that people have the same expectations when it comes to work – they want location, liberation and the ability to work and collaborate in a very human way that gets the job done.”

Millennials  are concerned about being recognised as hard-working, while remote based workers use video technology to stay socially connected.

Surprisingly, it is technology-savvy millennials who were most concerned about the correlation between being physically present at work and being recognised as getting the job done. Approximately 62 percent of millennials (18-30 year olds) were concerned that they would not be perceived as hard-working if they were not in the office. 

Findings also showed that having face time with colleagues over video helped maintain important social interaction that can sometimes be lacking for remote-based workers.  An overwhelming 91 percent of respondents said video collaboration helped them, get to know their co-workers better. 

See: Anxious Millennials Seek Stability and Prefer Flexible Working Arrangements with Employers

Understanding Flexible Working Habits in Asia Pacific

In Asia Pacific (APAC), more than 10,000 respondents participated from five countries: Singapore, Australia, China, India, and Japan. Findings showed that almost 60 percent of workers in Singapore, Australia, and India are working flexibly on a frequent basis.

In China, 85 percent of the respondents surveyed said their company offered flexible working arrangements with 87 percent stating they work with a colleague located in a different office. Japan was the only country that deviates from the global anywhere working trend.

A Closer Look at Singapore

When it comes to Singapore, only 50% respondents are working flexibly, however 75% of those working from anywhere have seen a significant improvement in their work life balance. The results clearly indicated that consistency matters to workers in Singapore, as 67% said they’d feel more confident working flexibly if they knew that the same policy was applicable to everyone across the company.

Ensuring a fair, equal policy for all employees could be the way of getting more Singaporeans to join the global trend. From a lifestyle point of view, taking care of children (37%) and having more time to exercise (31%) are top reasons people like to have the option to work anywhere in Singapore.  

Toh Hwee Tin, Director of NTUC’s Women and Family Unit said that while flexi-work arrangements were offered by many companies, these were mostly informal and not supported by policies or embedded in company’s culture.

“The demographics of workforce in Singapore comprising of working parents, millennials and baby boomers, is ever changing and similarly, their working requirements. To encourage a family-friendly work culture, the responsibility shouldn’t just lie with the human resource department, but it should be championed by the company’s leadership and embraced company-wide. With proper flexible working policies in place, employees can strike a balance in their lives and business continuity measures can also be assured, particularly in times of crisis such as the Zika scare we faced recently in Singapore.”

Findings also revealed the significant impact that technology is having on anywhere working:

  • A majority (97 percent) of APAC respondents believe collaboration technologies are important in bringing colleagues closer together, to build relationships and overcome flexible working challenges. Perhaps, understandable given the diverse cultural and language differences within Asia Pacific.
  • For 97 percent respondents in Singapore, technology is an important part of their everyday routines, using collaboration solutions to communicate with colleagues and stakeholders, regardless of whether they’re working remotely or not.
  • C-level executives in Singapore, on the other hand, are more concerned with deploying the right technology to enable anywhere working; 70 percent CXOs believe that with the right tools, flexible working challenges will be overcome. 

Commenting on the growth in flexible working within Asia Pacific, Frost & Sullivan research analyst, Zi Ning Chong said, “Across the region, governments and businesses are creating disruptive change to remain competitive in the digital era. The adoption of modern and flexible work styles is important in current working environment. Transformational technologies like video collaboration are changing the way we work and live, impacting everything from workspace design, to workflow and office culture.”

“The growth in flexible working and geographically distributed workforces would mean that businesses will need to find ways to empower employees with vastly different experiences and relationships with technology, ensuring they can collaborate effectively to drive productivity.”

Also read: 53% Companies in Singapore Report Increased Profits Post Implementation of Flexible Working Policies

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