The current economic environment in the country has not been great and many Malaysians were forced to pick up a side hustle to make ends meet.
According to Employment Hero’s Remote Work Report 2022, it was found that up to 66% of Malaysian knowledge workers have taken on a secondary source of income.
This was the highest rate out of all countries surveyed, with Singapore standing at 56%, Australia and New Zealand at 51% and the UK at 38%.
For context, ‘knowledge workers’ refers to employees who are required to work primarily on a computer or with documentation, instead of workers who are physical or location-bound.
The survey gathered responses from mostly the Generation Z (aged between 18 and 24) and found that up to 83% of them is working remotely at least once a week.
According to New Straits Times, Employment Hero chief people officer Alex Hattingh said there is a clear preference in Malaysian knowledge workers for working remotely, particularly in a hybrid model where they can enjoy the best home and office settings.
“Out of all the countries surveyed in our report, it’s interesting to note that Malaysians stand out as viewing a secondary income as a positive – and maybe even necessary – addition to their lives,” he said.
Hattingh said this proves that the younger generation is keen on taking on new challenges and showing their capability capability to juggle various responsibilities without letting it affect their productivity at work.
He also advised employers to take note of these when dealing with the younger generations in the workforce.
Concerns over working on 2 jobs
The report found that a majority of those with additional income streams view this as a positive thing, with 77% saying it has dramatically improved their quality of life.
At the same time, 78% of employees believed that their productivity at work isn’t affected by having additional income streams.
38% of respondents who were able to work on their secondary income during working hours said it was only possible due to the flexibility to work remotely or in a hybrid setting.
Meanwhile, the report found that while most employees primarily worked remotely or in a hybrid style from 2020 to 2021 during the Movement Control Order (MCO), the return to a post-pandemic ‘normal’ saw over half of the workforce (55%) returning to the office full-time in 2022.
Of these, 43% said their return was due to their employer’s directive.
Employees prefer hybrid work model
The survey also found that Malaysian employees prefer flexibility more than anything, with 88% saying they are keen to work remotely at least once a week.
Most said that remote and hybrid work has helped them improve their work-life balance, personal finances and prevent climate change, allowing Malaysians to delegate time between home and work, save on food and transportation, and reduce carbon emissions from commuting.
Meanwhile, the survey found that 60% of people in marginalised groups agreed that working remotely protected them from workplace discrimination and 40% said it improved the work culture.
It also suggests that remote work may provide temporary relief for those who are stuck in a toxic work environment.