- 86% of employees in Malaysia say the ability to work from anywhere has made them happier
- Hybrid work has improved total wellbeing, with 82% saying they saved money in the past year and 72% sharing they have gotten physically fitter
- Roughly 6 in 10 employees say productivity and quality of work have improved
- Only 1 in 5 employees in Malaysia feel their organization is very prepared for hybrid work
Hybrid working has improved total employee wellbeing, work-life balance, and performance in Malaysia, according to a new global Cisco study. While organizations have benefited from higher employee productivity levels, more needs to be done to build an inclusive culture and fully embed hybrid work arrangements to boost readiness levels and enhance employee experience.
Cisco’s “Employees are ready for hybrid work, are you?” study found that three in five (60%) employees in Malaysia believe that quality of work has improved. A similar number (55%) felt that their productivity has enhanced. Three-quarters of employees (75%) also feel their role can now be performed just as successfully remotely as in the office.
However, the survey of 28,000 employees from 27 countries, including over 1,011 respondents from Malaysia, reveals that only one in five (20%) Malaysia employees think that their company is ‘very prepared’ for a hybrid work future. This is lower than the global average of 23%.
“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,” said Hana Raja, Managing Director, Cisco Malaysia.
“However, hybrid work is more than just supporting a safe office re-entry. Leaders need to rethink how to cultivate an inclusive culture, place employees – their experience, engagement, and wellbeing – at the centre, and modernize their networking and security infrastructure to provide a seamless, secure and inclusive employee experience,” she added.
Hybrid working has improved total employee wellbeing
Cisco’s research examined the impact of hybrid working on five categories of wellbeing – emotional, financial, mental, physical, and social wellbeing – with over three-quarters of respondents (79%) saying hybrid and remote working has improved various aspects of their wellbeing.
Time away from the office has improved work-life balance for 79% of employees in Malaysia –compared to the regional average of 81%. More flexible work schedules (71%) and significantly reduced or completely removed commuting times (49%) contributed to this improvement. Around two-thirds of people (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.
Four in five (82%) Malaysia respondents also say that their financial wellbeing improved, with their average savings reaching to over RM 32,891 (USD 7,488) a year. A sizeable 86% ranked savings on fuel and/or commuting among their top three areas for savings, followed by decreased spending on food and entertainment at 80%. 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.
In addition, seven in 10 (72%) respondents believe their physical fitness has improved with remote working. A similar number (69%) say hybrid working has positively impacted their eating habits.
A significant majority (80%) indicate that remote working has improved family relationships and 44% of the respondents reporting strengthened relationships with friends.
Trust and transparency are key in building a successful hybrid work future
The future of work is hybrid, according to 74% of employees in Malaysia who say they want a combination of a remote and in-office hybrid working model in the future, compared to a fully remote (22%) and fully in-office (5%) experience.
However, there is uncertainty over how different work styles might impact inclusion and engagement. Over half (59%) of Malaysian respondents believe micromanaging behaviors had increased with hybrid and remote working. A lack of trust from managers that their employees can be productive have been a common thorn in their working experience.
“Trust has become a core tenet in our hybrid work normal, alongside flexibility, and empathetic leadership. Our latest research indicates that more needs to be done to fully integrate hybrid work arrangements for employees, especially when it comes to building an inclusive culture powered by efficient technology infrastructure in this new world of working that employees clearly prefer. Leaders and companies need to commit to actions that go a long way to retain their people – listening, building trust, and leading with empathy, flexibility, and fairness” said Anupam Trehan, Senior Director, People & Communities, Cisco, APJC.
At the same time, technology will remain critical to enabling a future with increasingly diverse and distributed workforces. Nearly two-thirds of (64%) respondents believe having connectivity issues regularly is career-limiting for remote workers. As a result, 82% say networking infrastructure is essential for a seamless working from home experience, but around 36% say their company still need the right networking infrastructure.
Over three-quarters (76%) of respondents in Malaysia believe that cybersecurity is critical for making hybrid working safe, but 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.
“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 digitalization 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.” said Juan Huat Koo, Director, Cybersecurity, Cisco, ASEAN.