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Study finds that 86% of M’sians happier and healthier with hybrid work, but employers prefers otherwise

We’ve been working from home for more than 2 years since the Covid-19 pandemic started in Malaysia. It was only recently that the country reopen its borders and lift the restrictions on the economy.

However, at this point in time, most of us have get used to working from home and it would be another drastic change for us to return to office and once again face the cubicle.

In a recent study conducted by internet technology firm Cisco, titled “Employees are ready for hybrid work, are you?“, it was revealed that Malaysians are much more happier with hybrid work as opposed to traditional office-only arrangements.

In addition, hybrid work has also improved the performance and financial stability of employees in Malaysia but not all employers are acknowledging this.

In a survey where Cisco collected responses from 28,000 employees across 27 markets, they found that about 60% of Malaysians believe they saw an improvement in work quality. In addition, over 51% of them saw an uptick when it comes to actual productivity and getting things done.

Meanwhile, the shift to hybrid work has also made employees realise that their work can be done even better when they’re given the choice of location, be it their homes, a café, or anywhere else other than the office.

Apart from that, the study also found that there’s a drastic improvement of the financial well-being of their respondents, with about 80% of them said their finances improved, with their average savings reaching over US$7,488 (≈RM32,891) a year. This is contributed from the savings on fuel or the daily commute to office, food and entertainment.

Meanwhile, about 60% of the respondents say they will take these savings incentives into account when looking for a new job.

Happier and healthier

A whooping 80% of the respondents say their overall well-being has improved when going by hybrid work arrangements, with 86.2% saying they generally feel a lot happier, and 79.3% seeing an improved work-life balance.

This is mainly contributed by the more flexible working schedules and the reduced commuting time. According to the data, employees saved over 4 hours per week thanks to their flexible schedules, and another 8 hours per week due to less time spent commuting.

In addition, over 80% say they’ve noticed improved relations with family members, while 44% noticed improvements with friends.

Apart from the mental well-being, employees revealed that they managed to take care of their physical health under hybrid work as well. About 74% said they’ve started exercising more, 69% saying they’re eating healthier and 72% saying they’ve actually gotten more physically fit.

Employers prefers otherwise

Despite the benefits of working from home, most employers in the country were not convinced about this new work concept. In fact, only 20% of employees feel their employers are ‘prepared’ for a hybrid working future.

This is mainly due trust deficit that employers have on their employees. The study also found out that about 68% of employees believe their manager trusts them to be productive when working remotely, while an even lower 58.8% believe their own colleagues can be trusted to work remotely.

Meanwhile, another major reason is that the lack of technology infrastructure. The slow internet speeds can sometimes be annoying and unfortunately, some of us just have to make do with what’s readily-available.

In fact, about 64% of employees say that they regularly experience connectivity issues. Furthermore, only 61% believe that their organisation has the right cybersecurity capabilities and protocols in place.

Given a choice, would you prefer to work from home or office? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

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