Due to the global pandemic, workplaces around the APAC region have had to rethink their future work strategies. One major issue for business leaders during 2021 will be providing true flexibility arrangements and best practices for employees, as one size does not fit all.

Failing to get this right could result in adverse consequences, as many employees adjusted to the massive shift to remote work and flexibility is now mostly considered part of the norm.

The Page Personnel Talent Trends 21 report, which compiled the responses of over 5,500 businesses and 21,000 employees across APAC, revealed that 87% of surveyed employees preferred a combination of working remotely and in a workplace – that is, in favour of blended flexibility and having a choice.

Survey participants who identified blended working arrangements as their preference cited the need for social interaction, a result of professionals grappling with the enforced remote work arrangements for extended periods during the different stages of the pandemic. 

In an interview with Biztech.asia, Anthony Thompson, Regional Managing Director, Asia Pacific at PageGroup said leaders addressing the workplace flexibility challenge must approach it realistically.

“What’s clear is that there is no one answer,” Thompson said.

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“We’ve seen that some people have operated very effectively and productively working from home most of the time, and others have struggled.”

Thompson said in order for companies and its leaders to succeed with workplace flexibility, they will need to create an environment that provides its employees with choice.

“This environment must allow people to be able to operate in a way that best suits their strengths and mitigates their weaknesses. That will be challenging for leaders, as it’s much easier to have one rule for everyone,” he highlighted.

“I think moving forward it’s going to be a significant leadership topic and challenge.”

He said he expected to see most APAC markets adopt a blended approach to work.

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“I don’t think that we’ve seen the end of the office. We’re seeing many people who really want to be back in the office and having that interaction again,” he noted.

“It also depends on what someone’s personal circumstances are – if you’re living in a beautiful house near the beach in Sydney, perhaps you’re more comfortable working from home than if you’re living with several generations of family in an apartment somewhere else.

“It’s going to be all about finding balance and it’s going to be about having a choice.”

The Talent Trends 21 report provides insights into what businesses and employees experienced in 2020, practical learnings and what is expected in 2021 including salary expectations.

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