- First annual report by Microsoft tells Singaporean leaders that extreme flexibility, combating workforce exhaustion and understanding employees’ needs will be key to success in a Hybrid Work future
- Exclusive research and expert insights reveal that leaders need to focus on transforming employee experiences and space, underpinned by technology as the next phase of work unfolds.
Singapore, May 18, 2021 – Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ: MSFT) (“Microsoft”) today announced Singapore findings from its first annual Work Trend Index, which revealed that over 49 percent of the Singapore workforce is considering leaving their employer this year. The Index, which uncovers hybrid work trends during the pandemic, also revealed contributing trends including employee needs for continued flexible remote work, leaders being out of touch with how employees are faring and high productivity masking an exhausted workforce.
Titled “The Next Great Disruption is Hybrid Work – Are We Ready?”, the report also offers recommendations around a new operating model for leaders to unlock success in a world of hybrid work. These trends and insights capture challenges as well as opportunities for both companies and their employees as Singapore makes the shift to a more flexible and hybrid way of working.
Against the current backdrop, the Work Trend Index report indicates that business leaders in Singapore should resist the urge to see hybrid work as business as usual. Instead, they should lead with empathy, instill flexibility, and humanize work for employees.
“In Singapore, we recently moved from being allowed to return to the workplace, back to where working from home is once again our default. As businesses adapt to the disruptive change, business leaders must recognize that long-held assumptions no longer hold true with their employees. They must now make choices that will impact their organizations for years to come. Business leaders now need to dig deeper to think about shaping their culture to attract and retain talent, foster collaboration and innovation, and deliver on the extreme flexibility that employees need,” said Joanna Lim, Modern Work and Security Business Group Lead, Microsoft Singapore. “What’s interesting is that our customers are already starting conversations with us about creating evolving hybrid workplaces, and we anticipate having more of such engagements in the coming months as we help customers to respond and thrive in a hybrid world of extreme flexibility that is built on innovation and centered on employee experiences, collaboration and security.”
To help organizations through the transition, the 2021 Work Trend Index outlines findings from a study of more than 30,000 people in 31 countries including Singapore, and analyses trillions of aggregate productivity and labor signals across Microsoft 365 and LinkedIn. It also includes perspectives from experts who have studied collaboration, social capital, and space design at work for decades.
Top hybrid work trends in Singapore that every business leader needs to know
One thing is abundantly clear: Businesses must recognize that work is no longer bound to traditional notions of time and space when it comes to how, when, and where we work. Here are the top emerging trends:
- Flexible work is here to stay: More than 82 percent of workers in Singapore want flexible remote work options to stay, but 66 percent are also craving more in-person time with their teams. Business leaders in Singapore are also recognizing the workplace evolution and 62 percent of them are more likely to redesign office space for hybrid work.
- Leaders are out of touch with employees and need a wake-up call: Research shows that 51 percent of leaders in Singapore say they are thriving right now – whereas only 27 percent of employees without decision making power say the same (24 percentage point gap).
- High productivity is masking an exhausted workforce: 58 percent of workers in Singapore feel overworked and 49 percent feel exhausted, suggesting that high productivity does not equate to a healthy workforce.
- Gen Z is at risk and will need to be re-energized: Gen Z is particularly at risk and will need to be re-energized, with more than two-thirds (70 percent) of this generation in Singapore — those between the ages of 18 and 25 — saying that they are merely surviving or flat-out struggling.
Comparatively, other trends among the workforce in Asia1, Australia and New Zealand, and Japan also shows that the nature of work has fundamentally changed for the whole region and we are on the cusp of workplace disruption:
- People are more likely to move now they can work remotely: 50% of remote workers in Australia and New Zealand are likely to move to a new location because they can now work remotely.
- More productive but exhausted and stressed: While 63 percent of workers in Japan say their productivity levels have remained the same compared to last year, 48 percent of workers are feeling exhausted and 45 percent feeling stressed.
- More likely to change professional paths: 47 percent of workers in Asia are likely to consider changing employers and 56 percent are likely to consider a career change. However, in Japan, this number is much lower, with only 38 percent of workers likely to consider changing employers within the year.
In addition to uncovering what’s at stake with the future of work, the Work Trend Index identifies key strategies for business leaders as they begin to make the necessary shift to hybrid work. This requires a new operating model that is focused on people and space, underpinned by technology:
- Create a plan to empower people for extreme flexibility – from global guidelines to new cultures and behaviors to help everyone feel trusted, included and engaged.
- Combat digital exhaustion from the top through analytics that tells leaders how employees are faring, and encourages insights-led decisions to help build a better workplace for your best and most diverse talent. For example, Workplace Analytics in Microsoft Viva Insights, to give managers and leaders anonymized insights into team and organizational wellbeing. This helps them to keep a pulse on things like meeting overload or weekend work as they rethink employee experiences.
- Encourage regular breaks to let employees refresh and disconnect, and reduce risk of burnout.
- Invest in space and technology to bridge the physical and digital worlds.
- Consider redesigning workplaces to create a collaborative, healthy and safe environment for teams to work together seamlessly, feel a sense of belonging and stay connected – however they choose to work.
- Bring together communications, knowledge, learning, resources, and insights into an integrated experience that empowers people and teams to be their best from anywhere, with solutions designed for hybrid work like Microsoft Viva.
- Leverage collaboration platforms like Microsoft Teams, which includes features like Together mode – an immersive meeting experience where attendees are combined in a virtual shared space.
To view the full findings, visit Microsoft’s Worklab, a digital publication about the future of work.
WorkLab is a Microsoft digital publication devoted to illuminating the future of work, grounded in research and the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic. By bringing together science-based insight and thoughtful, compelling stories on how work is changing, WorkLab’s mission is to start larger conversations about the future of work and help customers in the process.
Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.