Cisco: Malaysian organizations not fully ready for hybrid work
- Only 1 in 5 employees (20%) in Malaysia feel their organization is very prepared for hybrid work — lower than the global average of 23%.
- Four in five (82%) Malaysia respondents also say that their financial wellbeing improved, with their average savings reaching to over RM32,891 (US$7,488) a year.
- Only 61% say their organization currently has the right capabilities and protocols in place.
The pandemic over the last two years has triggered seismic shifts in how we work, with many companies transitioning from an office-centric culture to more flexible ways of working. Some have gone fully remote, while others opted for different visions of hybrid work environments. Then there are also those whose post-pandemic working models are similar to their pre-pandemic’s — working in office entirely.
Whatever the case may be, Cisco’s latest study titled “Employees are ready for hybrid work, are you?” shows how throughout the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the reality may differ in each country. Basically, the vast majority in ASEAN feels hybrid work arrangements have benefitted them, but only around one in four employees say their company is ‘very prepared’ for a hybrid work future.
The study however shows that employees, in all countries surveyed, don’t want either end of the extremes – to be back in the office or to be working fully remotely. In fact, they want a middle ground that offers flexibility to achieve their own personal version of work life integration that works for them and their employer.
For context, the report summarizes the findings of a double-blind survey of over 28,025 full time employees between January and March 2022. Respondents were drawn from 27 markets touching every continent, other than Antarctica. In general, respondents came from a wide range of industries from financial services to government and public service and even healthcare and IT.
More needs to be done in Malaysia to embrace a future of hybrid work
For starters, Cisco’s study found that three in five (60%) employees in Malaysia believe that quality of work has improved with a hybrid work approach. Of all surveyed in Malaysia, three-quarters of employees (75%) feel their role can now be performed just as successfully remotely as in the office. However, out of the over 1,011 respondents from Malaysia, only one in five (20%) employees think that their company is ‘very prepared’ for a hybrid work future — a figure lower than the global average of 23%.
Cisco Malaysia’s MD Hana Raja reckons that “The last two years have shown us that work is no longer where we go, but what we do. In a hybrid normal, employees and employers in Malaysia are experiencing tangible benefits from improved employee wellbeing to better productivity and work performance.”
Indeed, the impact of hybrid working has been apparent whereby time away from the office has improved work-life balance for 79% of employees in Malaysia –compared to the regional average of 81%. Contributing to the improvement is a more flexible work schedule (71%) and significantly reduced or completely removed commuting times (49%). To be precise, around two-thirds of people in Malaysia (68%) saved at least four hours per week when they worked from home, and over a quarter (29%) of respondents saved eight or more hours a week.
One of the most interesting takeaways from Cisco’s report is also the fact that hybrid work has led to a better financial wellbeing across all markets surveyed. In particular, four in five (82%) Malaysia respondents also say that their financial wellbeing improved, with their average savings reaching to over RM32,891 (US$7,488) a year.
The top three areas of savings includes a sizable 86% ranked savings on fuel and/or commuting, followed by decreased spending on food and entertainment at 80%. That said, over eight in 10 (83%) believe they can maintain these savings over the long term, and 60% would take these savings into account when considering changing jobs.
Technology readiness among Malaysian organizations can be improved
While technology will remain critical to enabling a future with increasingly diverse and distributed workforces, nearly two-thirds of (64%) respondents in Malaysia believe having connectivity issues regularly is career-limiting for remote workers. The study also found that 36% of employees say their company still needs the right networking infrastructure.
To top it off, only 61% say their organization currently has the right capabilities and protocols in place. Only 62% think that all employees across their company understand the cyber risks involved with hybrid work, and 67% think business leaders are familiar with the risks. Juan Huat Ko0, Cisco’s Cybersecurity director for ASEAN, strongly believes that technology is a key enabler of growth in the hybrid workplace, and it needs to be underpinned by end-to-end integrated security.
“Organizations should prioritize a robust security posture that underpins every digitization effort and ensure that cybersecurity is at the core of their technology architecture. Amid the expanded attack surface area today as more users and devices connect to corporate applications, organizations will need to bolster security and build greater vigilance, through enabling secure access and protecting users and endpoints in the network and the cloud,” commented Koo.
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