Flexible Working: Soon to be the Norm in Asia

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We hear from Andrew Chung, CEO for Compass Offices a leading serviced office providers in Asia, on how flexible work is becoming more popular in the area and the reasons behind this trend. 

Written by Andrew Chung

Will work hours continue to be measured by 40 hours spent in ‘the’ office? Can you hire employees who are thousands of miles away from your headquarters? Is it necessary for you to build your own office?

These are all questions that businesses in Asia are now being urged to consider. With major work styles and workplace changes in Asia underway, it’s now indispensable for businesses to embrace the flexible work culture if they want to stay on top of their competition.

Five reasons why it’s essential for businesses to adopt a flexible work strategy:

New generation of workforce

The 2016 Greater China Employee Intentions report by Michael Page suggests that half of respondents are keen to see flexibility in their working hours become one of the top benefits they receive.

With more millennials in  and Generation Z entering the workforce, businesses are being forced to think beyond salary and promotion to attract them. By 2020, 60% of these workers will be living in Asia, and they are known for being more entrepreneurial, mobile, and likely to choose growth and flexible working over salary when it comes to selecting for which company they would like to work for.

Plus, a survey conducted by PwC, the University of Southern California and the London Business School in 2013 finds that businesses that want to attract and engage the next generation of workers have to remember that 74% of them want flexible work schedules and 88% prefer a collaborative work culture.

Technology as the touch point

IT has transformed and automated routine roles, which challenges legacy work models. Technology has emerged to become an integral part of our lives in Asia as in the rest of the world. It’s  no surprise then, that the recent research IT Budget Drivers, Trends and Concerns in 2016, suggests that Asia Pacific will be the region that’ll spend the largest IT budget on a global scale.

The hot topics of big data and the Internet of Things (IoT) are early signs that, in coming years, there will be more technology platforms that allow business and employees to stay connected and engaged with their work, wherever they are and whenever they can.

Entrepreneurship is on the rise

CB Insights found that Beijing, Tokyo, Shanghai, and Bangalore are among the top six cities globally in terms of growth in venture capital deals and dollars in 2014. Massive consumer markets, developing infrastructure, and emerging technologies fuel society’s appetite to build alternative solutions to existing businesses. Recognising this,  governments in major Asian cities have committed  to supporting the rise of startups, as well as small and medium businesses with tax breaks, hubs for creativity, and with the creation of conducive environments.

An example is the Hong Kong government, which recently held StartMeUpHK. StartMeUpHK is a one week startup festival that hosts various networking inductive events and workshops that also encourage startup growth in the country. On this same note, the Singapore government has launched numerous grant initiatives and has also made available infrastructure to nurture the startup community.

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    Work life balance

    This term, simplified, means more flexibility and more control over when, where, and how employees work so that they can be their most productive and efficient without having to sacrifice personal or professional matters.

    While this isn’t rocket science, there isn’t a magic formula that fits all companies and businesses alike. Experts have recommended that adopting a flexible strategy shouldn’t be an all or nothing deal. In fact, many recommend for businesses to begin with a telecommuting policy before moving on to part-time or full-time remote working.

    Another reason why companies in Asia should start thinking about work life balance is that, “The State of Work-Life Balance in Hong Kong” report by Community Business showed that 82% of employees have listed work life balance as a critical factor when it comes to productivity, engagement, attraction, and retention levels.

    Shared offices, preferred

    In hand with the rise of technology is the rises of the sharing economy; which basically allows businesses to access an asset instead of owning it. For businesses, this is cost effective while providing them with more flexibility to meet business demands.  

    By using serviced offices, companies and organizations can better focus on their core business, while leaving their workspace provider to take care of all administrative and workplace matters.

    From a commercial point of view, working from shared offices means less real estate costs. Not only does it reduce overhead costs in general, it also means that you need to spend less in workers per office space needed and used.


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