Collaborative Technologies, Work-life Balance, and Digital Skills Development are among Most Wanted Things for Thai Employees: Microsoft Study”

 |   Thornthawat Thongnab

85% consider themselves mobile workers today yet only 63% feel empowered by their organization to embrace the demands of the digital workplace

Thailand, 15 May 2017 – Microsoft today unveiled findings of its Asia Workplace 2020 Study[1], where it found that employees in Thailand do not feel empowered to embrace the demands of the digital workplace.

While 85% of Thailand respondents consider themselves to be mobile workers and spend at least 20% of their time working outside of their offices, only 63% feel empowered by their organization’s culture and managers to be able to work together productively and collaboratively wherever they are. In addition, only 46% of respondents agree that their organization is committed at a leadership level to ensure every employee is included in closing the digital skills gaps within the workforce

The Study, which involved close to 4,200 working professionals from 14 markets in Asia, sought to understand shifting employee behaviours and gaps in the workplace when it came to productivity, collaboration and flexi-work practices. This included 312 respondents from Thailand.

“As Asia primes itself to become the most connected market with more than half of all mobile connections originating from the region by 2021[2], organizations need to rethink how they empower their workforce with the right culture, policy, infrastructure and tools to maximise their potential. This means enabling collaboration from anywhere, on any device. However, it is also critical for business leaders to evaluate and implement changes to counter cultural and management challenges that are hindering employees to work seamlessly from wherever they are, which will in turn, hinder an organization’s growth and progress in the digital age,” said Chutima Sribumrungsart, Human Resource Lead, Microsoft, Thailand


A Digitally Savvy Workforce is Key to Digital Transformation

An earlier version of the Study conducted in 2015 found that 47 out of 100 respondents in Thailand were ready for the New World of Work, whereby organizations had the right People, Place and Technology principles in place to enable a productive, collaborative and innovative workforce. This year, 67 out of 100 respondents felt so, indicating that organizations in the market are more equipped, although more can be done to move the needle.

But beyond People, Place and Technology factors, the rise of the 4th industrial revolution has also accelerated the pace of transformation. A recent Microsoft Asia Digital Transformation Study[3]conducted in late 2016 found that “Empowering Employees” number one digital transformation priority among Thailand’s business leaders. On the other hand, having a digital skilled workforce was the number one barrier in their digital transformation journey.

The digital transformation pillar, ‘Empower employees’ emphasizes organizations to use technology to help employees be connected and work from anywhere, as well as collaborate and share knowledge digitally

New Work Styles and Organizational Conflicts Need to Be Addressed

It is evident that mobile professionals in the market are embracing flexi-work today, and organizations should look at new workplace practices, especially with the impeding influx of digital natives (born after 2000) entering the workforce for the first time.

More than half of the respondents (79%) value work-life integration today, where the boundaries of work and life have blurred, but have enabled mobile professionals to be able to collaborate and work virtually.

The Study also found that organizations need to address several structural challenges within the workplace to ready themselves for the digital age, as well as flexi-work practices:

  1. Organisation’s Leaders are a key enabler to drive flexi-work practices in the workplace: Only 46% agree that their organization’s leadership is committed in bridging the digital skills gap in the workplace.
  2. Organizational culture is important: Only 46% agree that their organization has invested in culture development through training and development led by HR
  3. Access to newer, data-centric technologies to enhance collaboration and productivity: Only 44% feel that their organization has invested in analytics and data tools to help them make informed and timely decisions; only 45% agree that their organization has given them tools to simplify workflows

New World of Teams Requires New Approaches

Workplace shifts have undeniably resulted in new ways of work, where technologies have enabled increased collaboration between individuals and teams across geographies and groups. However, the Study found that there were certain gaps today that hindered collaborative and productive outcomes from teams.

The top five challenges included:

  1. Too many face to face meetings that are taking up productive time (33%);
  2. Teams are not open to new initiatives to improve processes (24%); and

Teams take too long to respond to internal issues (24%);

  1. Too much time spent to on-board new members in a team (23%);
  2. Team members are not accommodating with flexi-work schedules (22%).

However, respondents feel that access to technology tools for collaboration (49%), strong leadership and vision (44%) as well as an open management (40%) can help build more collaborative teams.

Access to Newer, Collaborative Technologies will Enhance Productivity

The Study also found that respondents are seeking better devices to help them become more productive at work. Beyond hardware requirements, 43% hope to have access to cloud-based productivity tools and 28% wish for real-time collaboration capabilities as well as enterprise social networks.

When asked about emerging technologies that will help build better work environments by 2020:

  • 42% think Artificial Intelligence will be able to help perform tasks independently
  • 42% would like enterprise social networks with video and voice capabilities to enhance collaboration
  • 40% look forward to virtual workspaces that support instant messaging and document sharing

“As the nature of work changes, how employees collaborate and work together will be impacted as well. It is critical for business and HR leaders to seek ways to better empower individuals and remove barriers to collaborate for the digital age, especially when the Study clearly identifies gaps that can be minimized with technology. However, it is also important for businesses to also bridge the leadership and employee gap with more focus on people and culture,” added Chutima Sribumrungsart.

The recently announced Microsoft Teams brings together people, conversations and content, along with the tools that teams need. It’s integrated with familiar Office applications and is built from the ground up on Office 365 and Microsoft’s global, secured cloud.

Microsoft Teams is built on four core promises:

  • Chat for today’s teams. Microsoft Teams provides a modern conversations experience, with threaded, persistent chat to keep everyone engaged. Team conversations can be either private or visible to the entire team, and users can access multiple teams, making it easy to switch between projects.
  • A hub for teamwork. The Office applications and services that teams use every day – Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SharePoint, OneNote and PowerBI – are all built-in, so people have the information and tools they need.
  • Customization for every team. Microsoft Teams offers the ability to customize work spaces with tabs, connectors and bots from third-party partners as well as familiar Microsoft tools like Microsoft Planner and Visual Studio Team Services. Today, more than 150 integrations are available or coming soon, with companies like SAP, Trello, Hipmunk, Growbot and ModuleQ building on the platform.
  • Security teams trust. Microsoft Teams is built on the hyper-scale, enterprise-grade Office 365 cloud, delivering the advanced security and compliance capabilities our customers expect. Teams supports global standards including SOC 1, SOC 2, EU Model Clauses, ISO27001 and HIPAA.

Customers worldwide are choosing Microsoft Teams to enable collaboration within their organizations.  Since announcing the preview in November, more than 50,000 organizations have started using Microsoft Teams, including Alaska Airlines, ConocoPhillips, Deloitte, Expedia, J.B. Hunt, J. Walter Thompson, Hendrick Motorsports, Sage, Trek Bicycle and Three UK. In Asia, customers such as Amicus, Blackmores, Graincorp, Objective Corporation, Readify and RSL Queensland have adopted Microsoft Teams for their workplace.

Organizations interested in the new chat-based workspace can start using Teams today. For more details on Microsoft Teams, visit Office Blog here.

[1] The Microsoft Asia Workplace 2020 Study was conducted between February and March 2017 involving 4.175 respondents in 14 Asia markets. The 14 markets include Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. All respondents were pre-qualified as at least spending 30 hours per week in a full time role, or spending at least 20 hours per week in a part time role.

[2]eMarketer, Most of the World’s Mobile Connections Are in Asia Pacific,

[3] The Microsoft Asia Digital Transformation Study was conducted between October to November 2016 involving 1,494 business leaders in 13 Asia Pacific markets. The 13 markets include Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand. All respondents were pre-qualified as being involved in shaping their organisations’ digital strategy, and are working in firms with more than 250 employees.