Most employees in Southeast Asia prefer remote work post-COVID-19, says survey

Published by rudy Date posted on July 15, 2021

by Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star), 15 Jul 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Over 80 percent of employees in Southeast Asia prefer remote work even after pandemic restrictions are lifted, according to a survey conducted by global professional services organization EY.

The 2021 EY Work Reimagined Employee Survey conducted in March covered 16,264 respondents, including 1,037 across Southeast Asian countries Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

The survey showed only 15 percent of respondent from Southeast Asia want to work in the office full time when restrictions are eased.

Meanwhile, 32 percent of respondents prefer to work anywhere, 29 percent want to work remotely full time and 23 percent would like a hybrid work arrangement or a combination of on-site and remote work.

The survey finds that nine in 10 Southeast Asian respondents want flexibility in terms of where and when they work.

Without this flexibility, 60 percent would consider leaving their job post pandemic.

When faced with a choice between two jobs, 49 percent said they prefer flexibility in when they work and 48 percent would opt for flexibility in terms of the place of work.

On average, employees want to work two to three days remotely post pandemic, with 35 percent saying they want a shorter work week.

Most or 69 percent of the Southeast Asian respondents said their productivity could be accurately measured regardless of where they work.

Even as majority prefer flexible work arrangements, 78 percent said they are satisfied with their jobs, and 91 percent intend to stay in their current position for the next 12 months.

The survey also found that even as there is a greater use of virtual meeting technology, 67 percent would want to travel for business moderately to extensively post -pandemic.

Lisa Escaler, people advisory services – workforce advisory leader for SGV, a Philippine member firm of EY Global Ltd, said it is important for organizations to understand the changes brought by the new normal in the way employees work.

“Prior to the pandemic, the idea of work-life balance had become a key workforce consideration for companies. But now, especially in the Philippines where employees have been forced to work from home for one of the longest periods of quarantine in the world, people’s perception of traditional workforce models and behaviors have changed drastically,“ she said.

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