Dell Technologies recently released some new research revealing the readiness of Malaysian employees for long-term remote working. In the inaugural Remote Work Readiness Index findings, 84% of employees in Malaysia feel that they are prepared for long-term remote work but face ongoing productivity challenges.
Surveying over 7,000 working professionals aged 18 years and above from the Asia Pacific and Japan region, the Index captured data on employees’ readiness for long-term remote work and their views on the factors which are important for its success.
The study reveals that job security from the lack of interaction with employers and the stability of remote networks, which includes internet bandwidth, are the most significant concerns for employees should remote work arrangements continue long-term. Surveyed employees also feel that the blurring boundaries between work and personal lives is a cause for concern in a long-term remote work arrangement.
Less than half of those surveyed feel that their employers are fully supportive of long-term remote work. When it comes to technology resources, half feel that their employer is not doing everything they can to support effective remote working. Additionally, only 43% feel that their employer is doing everything they can to provide them with the Human Resource (HR) support needed to successfully work remotely.
Here’s a breakdown of the challenges faced in technology and in management from the research.
Malaysian employees’ top technology challenges:
Stability of remote network, including internet bandwidth (44%).
Access to internal company resources (33%).
Use of personal productivity equipment or tools for work (29%).
Malaysian employees’ top HR challenges:
Lack of in-person communication (47%).
Lack of or insufficient best practices training for remote working, including support for mental well-being (38%), and learning and development sessions, including training for virtual tools (38%).
Lack of team engagement initiatives (37%) and access to digital tools for performance review, leave filing, etc. (37%).
In a media briefing session, KT Ong, Country Manager for Dell Technologies in Malaysia pointed that while Malaysian employees are getting used to remote working, there are still problems that need to be addressed when it comes to productivity.
The biggest issues are the lack of interaction and bandwidth. True enough, KT Ong himself was facing bandwidth issues when speaking to journalists during the session, a clear indicator of the seriousness of the issue.
While telco companies have promised to improved bandwidth, the problem is still ongoing which leads to the other concern – the interaction between employer and employees.
For many remote working employees, the lack of in-person communication can often lead to employees being concerned about their productivity. Some may feel they are doing enough but others may feel unsure of their job stability especially since there is not enough communication among their peers and supervisors.
Referring to a similar incident in Dell Technologies’ Penang Manufacturing Plant, Ong said their inside sales team have moved to remote work for some time. To ensure everyone’s healthy wellbeing when they work from home, especially those juggling between work and family, they made some changes to how they work.
“We have a leadership program where we make sure our leaders have a morning huddle. Leaders inject positive message and key messages and help employees know the expected outcome of the day. These not only keep employees aware but also makes them feel important to the company”, said Ong.
At the same time, remote working will also not be successful if employees do not have the right technologies available to them.
“Employers must provide [the] right technology for their employees. At Dell Technologies, we have many solutions and devices for employees. The company has to decide what type of devices work best for employees based on their work requirements. Some employees require rugged models as they work in a challenging environment while some may just require standard laptops for administrative and clerical work. The key is for employers to define the functions of each employee. With the right tools, productivity will definitely increase”, explained Ong.
Overall, Ong believes the future of work is going to be hybrid. He believes that work today cannot be anchored to one place and time, instead, it is focused on outcomes. And true enough, that is the reality companies will have to accept if they want to remain relevant in the future. The pandemic may eventually come under control but with technology enabling the working lifestyle to be more convenient and improve productivity, organisations need to strive towards that.
“There will be some who don’t want to change but I believe they will have to eventually or they will lose out. The hybrid working model is the best option for them”, commented Ong.
The Remote Work Readiness Index by Kantar is a study commissioned by Dell Technologies that captures data across seven markets in the Asia Pacific and Japan region – Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea – on the readiness of the workforce for long-term remote work. It focuses on understanding the factors important for remote working; employees’ willingness as well as concerns to work remotely for the long term, and the technology and human resource-related support they need to successfully work remotely.