Through an exclusive candid conversation with Andrew Chung, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Compass Offices, we at HR in Asia derive insights on the entrepreneurship trends, new business models at work and the booming start-up culture in Singapore, which has facilitated creation of more job opportunities in a talent constrained economy.
We also seek to understand the challenges to talent retention in Asia Pacific, and how rise of the shared economy has contributed to the start-up boom to help businesses collaborate better, exchange ideas and network easily across markets.
According to survey by Morgan McKinley in 2014, compared to other APAC counterparts, Hong Kong employees appear to be least aware of flexible working options that are available for them, in their organizations. This is why around 70 percent of the employees feel the obligation to stay longer in their offices than stipulated hours mentioned in their contracts.
Compared to Hong Kong, the discussion over work-life balance in Singapore has been initiated long before and the impact is now being witnessed.
Many companies have now realised the importance of a healthy-work life balance for their employees; and the government has launched couple of initiatives such as the WorkPro programme, which provides funds and/ or incentive for any company that strives to help employees accomplish work responsibilities alongside personal needs.
Each country has championed different policies to encourage better productivity and provided different benefits. For instance:
Distance and mobility should no longer limit companies to hire talented staff. With shared offices and technology to avail, companies are enabled to hire individuals remotely.
Competitors from the same industry are no longer the main challenge to employee retention. With the rise of technology and the trend of a sharing economy, many people are turning to entrepreneurship and establishing start-ups.
Our sister company, Encore Professional Services, that supports businesses with company formation and outsourced payroll and accounting services, has seen a significant increase in the number of young ambitious professionals intending to start their own business.
Looking back in time, five to six years ago and now, young professionals today are highly mobile and willing to relocate to advance their career. Another challenge is the change in the workforce demographic. In emerging markets, it is easier to find younger and highly digitized talent pool, than in developed markets such as Singapore and Australia, wherein aging population is of critical concern.
See: Singapore Ranks Third Among Top 50 ‘Future-Ready Economies’ Worldwide
Despite close proximity across countries in Asia, each has different and unique styles. For instance:
The Singapore Government has implemented special tax schemes to support newly incorporated companies, in addition to providing a start-up cluster ‘Block 71’ and research resources. Recently, the government launched SG-Innovate where it serves as one stop shop to boost Singapore’s position as a financial technology hub.
To manage virtual teams working across geographies successfully, HR managers should:
Yes, I think “office-less” will soon become a business norm of the future. This is for a number of reasons:
The 2016 Greater China Employee Intentions report by Michael Page suggests that half of their respondents are keen to see flexibility in their working hours to become one of the key benefits they receive from their employers.
With more millennials and generation Z entering the workforce, businesses should think beyond salary or promotion to attract talent. By 2020, 60 percent of the millennial workforce lives in Asia. This generation is more entrepreneurial, mobile and is likely to choose growth and flexible working over salary, when selecting the company they would like to work for.
IT has transformed and automated routine job roles to challenge legacy work models. Technology has emerged to become an integral part of our lives not just in Asia, but across the globe. It comes as no surprise to understand from the recent research titled, ‘IT Budget Drivers, Trends and Concerns in 2016’, which states Asia Pacific to be the region that spends the largest IT budget globally.
The hot topics of boardroom discussion on Big Data and the Internet of Things (IoT) are early signs that in the years to come, there will be more technology platforms, which will allow businesses and employees to stay connected and engaged with their work at any point in time, wherever they are.
The rise of technology has also meant the rise of the sharing economy, which allows businesses to access an asset rather than owning them. For businesses, this is cost efficient and flexible to meet business’ demands.
Using a serviced office, businesses can focus on their core business, and benefit from a wide range of in-house services such as having someone to answer your calls to setting up a company.
From a commercial standpoint, working from shared offices means less real estate costs. According to a Global Workplace Analytics survey carried out between 2005 and 2014, businesses in the U.S. could save about $11,000 per person every year and $500 billion per year in costs related to electricity, real estate and turnover, through telecommuting arrangements.
For employees, working in a shared office space provides them with an opportunity to be part of a community, who are like minded, share ideas and network easily, access to mentorship and increased collaboration.
Also read: Hong Kong vs. Singapore: Who is More Optimistic about Business Growth in Asia Pacific?
Image credit: infopier.sg