As we round out our first year post-pandemic, the reality of hybrid work has made its mark on organisations across the Southeast Asian region. The once niche practice has now become an increasingly accepted way of work – pushing companies to transform their workplaces to meet the needs of their current and future workforce.
Our work across Singapore, Thailand, Philippines has revealed trends we believe would define the role of the office going forward into 2023. Along with the research done by publications on the region, Paperspace presents the essential workplace and office insights of the year.
1. While Some Organisations Are Hesitant, There Is Still A Desire For Hybrid Work
In Southeast Asia, companies remain split when it comes to implementing hybrid working as a permanent way forward. There is a significant amount – 33%, in fact, of companies anticipating all employees to return to the office, largely ignoring the overwhelming positive sentiments for hybrid work from their employees.
This can be attributed to the fact that this style of work is still a relatively new concept. How would you balance the hours when employees are in the office or at home? Or what qualities would a workplace need to ensure that people actually come back if working remotely is always an option?
There needs to be a strong sense of intention for companies that want to embrace a hybrid workplace – and to do so, requires the comprehensive scope of a hybrid work ecosystem.
2. Successful Hybrid Work Requires A Supporting Ecosystem
Effective hybrid work requires the activation of 3 pillars within the organisation – technology, facilities, and the employee experience. Companies that are able to balance these qualities as they refine their workplace can produce much more holistic results – creating opportunities that support inclusive behaviours, physical spaces that spark people interaction, and technology to enable all facets of work.
Employee burnout has been a constant concern ever since the line between personal and work life has been blurred during the pandemic. Therefore, companies have begun investing in an enhanced employee experience for wherever they work – sending across a message of flexibility, autonomy, and seamlessness as hybrid work evolves beyond the workstyles born out of the past two years.
As improvements are being made to the employee experience, so must the technology and facilities in the workplace. For every workplace initiative that can enable accessibility, a supporting space or software needs to be introduced to streamline it. Simply implementing policies without practical methods to enforce them only weakens the long-term benefits that the ecosystem would bring.
3. Technology Integration Must Be As Important As Flexible Spaces
With employees split between being in-office and remote, the role of the office must accommodate the workstyles of both factions – including hybrid interactions.
While the value of incorporating flexible and multi-purpose spaces is crucial, technology is often treated as an afterthought. In order to habituate work practices and maximise flexibility across company resources, technology can amplify the benefits these spaces bring – such as in-built microphones in meeting booths, occupancy tracker apps for flex spaces, or one-stop tech hubs at touch-down workstations.
Technology has also become a major point of interest for a lot of organisations, with 45% of leaders aiming to increase investments in the coming year. These advancements then need suitable locations to be installed in – for the convenience of the users and also to justify any changes that the office’s space would go through.