Employees and Employers Clash on Ideal Hybrid WorkplacE

Leaders and employees agree hybrid working is more productive, but are not aligned on what is required to achieve it, according to a new survey.

New data reveals that 64 percent of Asia Pacific organisations plan to change their operating model by 2022, driven by the desire to improve their employee experience, according to a new survey from Unisys Corporation

However, leaders and employees have different views on the technologies and policies required to achieve greater productivity and an ideal employee experience. 

These findings are included in a new IDC white paper, sponsored by Unisys, entitled Digital Workplace Insights: Seeking Digital and Experience Parity to Support the Hybrid Workforce.

A statement from Unisys says the research surveyed more than 1,100 respondents, including business leaders and employees, across 15 countries (including New Zealand) to examine how organisations are transforming their operating models to respond to business disruptions. 

It found that to do this, business leaders are focused on the employee experience to shape their technology, procedures and policies. However, while aligned in this common objective to provide employee experience parity, there are some gaps between what employees want, and what their employers think they want to achieve it. 

The survey found that before the pandemic, 5.2 percent of the workforce across Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore worked remotely – the highest of the four regions surveyed. 

Covid forced a rapid move to remote working in 2020 with more than one third (36 percent) of this workforce working remotely by November 2020.

Based on this experience, the majority of employers (74 percent) and employees (70 percent) agree that working remotely is just as, or more, productive than working in an office. 

While some roles will return to the office by 2022, business leaders estimate 24 percent of their workforce will work remotely – more than seven times higher than before the pandemic.

The statement says that 40 percent of Asia Pacific employees prefer remote working, higher than North America (34 percent), Europe (35 percent) and Latin America (39 percent). Globally, the highest preference is among Millennials, born 1981-1996 (47 percent) compared to just 18 percent of Baby Boomers, born 1946-64.

 Leon Sayers of Unisys Asia Pacific says that this shift to a large proportion of employees working remotely, as well as across a hybrid of offices, other facilities and in the field, “demands digital parity – where all workers have secure access to the resources required to do their jobs, no matter their preferred device or location”. 

“However, the most successful organisations will be those who offer experience parity – this requires thinking beyond just technology and considering the organisational structure, policies, procedures and culture required to ensure an excellent employee experience where people can engage effectively with each other, collaborate and work productively in an agile work environment.” 

The top three reasons given by Asia Pacific business leaders to change their operating model by 2022 are better employee experience (71 percent), employee productivity (56 percent) and employee safety (56 percent). 

However, the survey revealed a disconnect between Asia Pacific leaders and employees about what technology and policies would improve the remote working experience: Amongst those listed by Unisys are:

• When asked what technology would make remote working more productive leaders want collaboration tools (35 percent), secure remote access (33 percent), moving applications to the cloud (33 percent) and virtual desktop infrastructure (32 percent). Whereas employees want upgraded laptops (31 percent), connectivity solutions (27 percent) and printers or scanners for home use (26 percent).

• Leaders say the greatest challenges to working from home are unreliable connectivity (51 percent) and difficulty accessing data or systems (48 percent). However, the majority of employees say there are no challenges (30 percent), although one in five cite non-work distractions and unreliable connectivity as issues.

• There are generational differences too: To be more productive Millennials want upgraded laptops while Baby Boomers want better connectivity. 

“To create a great employee experience, employers need to understand what technology, processes and policies their people require to do their jobs effectively. This requires two-way conversations with their teams and a preparedness to change existing procedures,” says Sayers. 

“The right devices and sufficient connectivity are fundamentals for remote workers to create digital parity.”

For more infor-mation see: https://digitalworkplaceinsights.unisys.com/home/ https://digitalworkplaceinsights.unisys.com/home/  

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