Singapore organisations fall behind employees’ expectations in the New World of Work

 |   Singapore News Center

Microsoft Asia Pacific Study shows that 39 out of 100 respondents rated themselves highly in embracing People, Place and Technology principles

Microsoft today unveiled an Asia Pacific wide study that shows enterprises are lagging behind their employees’ expectations to be more productive, collaborative and innovative in a mobile-first, cloud-first world. With 70 percent of employees in Asia Pacific and 67 percent of employees in Singapore considering themselves to be mobile workers, the Study also unveils the New World of Work Index comparing how workers perceive their ability to succeed in today’s digital, fast paced and modern work place.

Microsoft’s New World of Work Study for Enterprises involved 400 respondents in Singapore[1] and generated insights on their current work and life needs and the gaps that exist in enabling them to thrive.

The New World of Work Index is derived from respondents who rated themselves highly in the three key pillars of people, place and technology and provides a comparison between markets. The Asia Pacific mean score was 44 out of 100, while scores ranged from as low as 23 in Korea, to as high as 65 in India.  Singapore scored a 39 and was ranked ninth among the 13 markets scored.  

The New World of Work covers three key principles:

  1. People: Employees have the capability to work flexibly and productively in the digital modern work place. They are supported by leaders and cultures that help them succeed in this dynamic environment.
  2. Place: Employees can work flexibly, anywhere at any time. Their offices support a collaborative, dynamic design and their policies support flexible work at work, home or with customers.
  3. Technology: Employees are empowered with technology to enable them to succeed in this environment, allowing collaborative work wherever they may go.

According to Forrester, 79 percent of business and technology decision-makers in Asia Pacific organisations have considered improving the experiences of technology empowered customers as a high or critical priority for their business in 2015. However, “organisational inertia” is the biggest hurdle to digital transformation in Asia Pacific, indicating that businesses are not prepared to build and develop digital businesses for the near future.

Microsoft worked with Organisation Solutions, a global consultancy that helps companies solve people and organisational challenges of growth, to design the study and gain insights from the data.

Said Borko Kovacevic, Director of Marketing, Microsoft Singapore: “Over the last decade, globalisation and technology innovations have brought the world closer and fundamentally changed the way people live and work. We commissioned this study to understand how work and life have changed for employees in Asia Pacific and determine how well supported they are in being enabled to succeed.”

“While technology plays a key role to enable ‘work from anywhere’ scenarios and higher productivity, there are other aspects such as organisational culture, policies, infrastructure, enabling collaboration or the ability to break down barriers to innovation which are becoming increasingly important for an organisation to be competitive, especially when many are undergoing digital transformation of their businesses today.”

The findings clearly show that the traditional notion of work is changing, even within organisations in Singapore:

  1. The responsive organisation: 55.5 percent of respondents said that they are required to respond to internal stakeholders within four hours; and 57.5 percent said that they are required to respond to external customers within four hours. The gap between respondents working in SMBs and respondents working in organisations with more than 250 employees was significant, with the former indicating that they needed to be more responsive to both internal and external stakeholders.
  2. Work doesn’t end at 5.00pm: A majority (71.25 percent) said that they are still required to be contactable outside of work today in order to complete their work effectively.
  3. Limited mobile productivity in a highly mobile workforce: 52 percent of respondents said they needed to be in the office to access special equipment or tools that are only available in the office.
  4. Bring-your-own-device and bring-your-own-service culture is increasingly pervasive: Employees in Singapore are using more personal devices (46 percent) to get work done today. 54 percent are also using online tools that go beyond just email – document and file sharing, storage, virtual meetings and social.
  5. Achieving work life balance is challenging: 73 percent of respondents said that work life balance is a very important aspect of their job, with 42.5 percent felt that they had adequate balance today.
  6. Organisations in Singapore are also making decent progress on adopting sustainable practices, with 76 percent of respondents saying their organisations are increasingly moving towards becoming paperless, below the regional average of 78 percent.
Microsoft - New World of Work - Singapore - Infographic - final
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Employees in emerging markets to leapfrog mature markets in the modern workplace

The New World of Work Index is derived from respondents who rated themselves highly in the three key pillars of people, place and technology. The score shows the number of employees over 100 who feel their employers are enabling them to be productive, collaborative and innovative while ensuring personal well-being.

Market Rank   Percentage using 4 or 5 productivity tools such as emails, file sharing, etc.
Asia Pacific wide   44.00 71%
India 1 64.67 93%
Indonesia 2 59.00 72.5%
Philippines 3 58.67 75%
China 4 56.50 66.5%
Thailand 5 47.33 62.5%
Vietnam 6 45.50 81%
Malaysia 7 41.33 57%
Australia 8 39.33 50%
Singapore 9 39.17 54%
Hong Kong 10 37.17 53.5%
Taiwan 11 26.67 53.5%
Korea 12 23.33 49%

To support the index, the study presented these key observations:

  • Employees in emerging markets feel they are better supported for a new world of work, are open to harness productivity tools to work better and smarter. They also clearly bring their own devices and services to the workplace to help them become more connected and productive. This was further reinforced by the insight that majority of respondents in these markets are using 4 or 5 productivity services today.
  • Employees in mature markets live in a world where advanced productivity tools are more readily available, but they do not harness online productivity tools as much as their counterparts in emerging markets. They may also be impeded by stricter policies or legacy processes & systems at the workplace.
  • 54 percent of respondents in Singapore use at least 4 to 5 online services to enable their work needs (email, social, collaboration, virtual meetings, and cloud-based file sharing services). Of note, the difference between emerging (72.5 percent average) and mature (52 percent average) markets was stark.

In the new digital world, employees in emerging markets will leapfrog those in mature markets in becoming workers of the future. When ranked, the top 5 online services being used by employees in their organization for work are:

  Asia Pacific Singapore
1. Email (88%) Email (94%)
2. Document collaboration tools (63%) Virtual meeting tools (63%)
3. Social tools (61%) Document collaboration tools (60%)
4. File sharing services (60%) File sharing services (58%)
5. Virtual meeting tools (59%) Social tools (49%)


Unlocking the New World of Work in Asia Pacific

When companies adopt the New World of Work principles, they are able to gain new business insights, realise greater operational efficiency, communicate and collaborate real time – all while reducing the impact on the environment. In fact, the New World of Work presents four clear benefits today: a more productive workforce, a more collaborative workforce, a more innovative workforce and a happier workplace.

The top three benefits cited by respondents are:

  1. To be able to work productively from anywhere (58 percent)
  2. To be able to collaborate instantly with colleagues (52 percent)
  3. To be able to automate tasks (51.5 percent)

46 percent of respondents still do not have access to the breadth of tools in their workplace to be collaborative, break down barriers between organisations and distances as well as to share ideas easily. With productivity and talent retention being a key concern, companies can no longer afford to ignore the needs of their employees to provide enhanced productivity as well as better work life integration in the New World of Work.

Technology is changing the shape of business today and plays a big role to enable organisations to bridge the gap to the New World of Work – collaboration, productivity, innovation, well-being. Here are four key steps for organisations to take:

  1. Communicate, collaborate, have meetings, share ideas real time from anywhere with enterprise grade cloud solutions which enable email, social, document sharing, virtual meetings, file sharing.
  2. Work from any device. With 46 percent of total devices used– personal smartphones, tablets, laptops – are for work, why not harness their potential to share ideas, provide real time insight on how the business is going – something which millennials do naturally anywhere.
  3. Enable secure remote working. Peace of mind with security for remote access and online solutions – enterprise grade solutions with easy device management on Windows Intune, data privacy and security policies which protect companies and their employees on Office 365.
  4. Democratise access to technology. Productivity tools need to be pervasively available across the workforce. In the study, respondents who hold managerial positions feel they are more responsive to stakeholders (36 percent) versus non-managerial positions (28 percent).

Productivity reinvented through Office

Microsoft solutions for business enable organisations to be able to work collaboratively anywhere, with the same familiar experience across PCs, tablets, and mobile devices. With Office 365, organisations can benefit from a breadth of tools for the modern workplace which are constantly updated and scalable with latest productivity features for employees to get things done:

  • Modern mobility: With familiar Office apps now available on iOS and Android as well as Windows, users can get work done anywhere and anytime.
  • Modern collaboration: Enterprises can get access to enterprise-grade online tools that enable you to share all documents and co-author in real-time. Office Delve, now available to all Office 365 for business users, proactively highlights key information that is relevant to users based on tasks and colleagues you work with closely. Office 2016 now also features Co-authoring which enables users to collaborate through real-time typing that lets you see others’ edits as they make them.
  • Modern meetings: Skype for Business, a communications and collaboration platform brings together an experience inspired by Skype with enterprise-grade security, compliance and control. It offers features including presence, IM, voice and video calls, and online meetings. In addition, the new Office features Skype in-app integration across the rich client apps allowing you to IM, screen share, talk or video chat right in your docs.
  • Security and controls: Microsoft’s commitment in building a trusted cloud ensures that your company data is protected. In addition, Office 2016 users will receive new features for better enterprise security and protection, including Built-in Data Loss Protection, Multifactor authentication and Enterprise Data Protection.

“Microsoft is reinventing productivity to empower every person and every organisation to do more and achieve more. Millions of organisations across Asia Pacific are already reaping the benefits of a more productive and collaborative work place with cloud and mobile optimised solutions such as Office 365 which includes Yammer for social and Skype for Business for virtual meetings, with all the security built in to allay concerns of moving to the cloud.  We are clear that our goal is not to make more technology, but rather to make technology that does more for you and your business,” said Borko Kovacevic.

[1] The Microsoft Asia Pacific New World of Work Study was conducted in September 2015 with 5,000 respondents working in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with less than 250 employees and employees working in larger organizations (Enterprises) with more than 250 employees in 13 Asian markets including Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

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