KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 2 — Employees in Malaysia are coming to terms with remote working despite struggling with technological and productivity challenges, according to a study by Dell Technologies, a digital transformation company.
Based on Dell Technologies’ inaugural Remote Work Readiness Index, 84 per cent of employees in the country said they were prepared for long-term remote work, although the blurring boundaries between work and personal lives was a significant concern for 31 per cent of the respondents.
Malaysia country manager KT Ong said extraordinary events happening around the world caused by the Covid-19 pandemic meant that organisations have had to pivot to a remote work arrangement almost instantaneously, so it was not surprising that there were genuine concerns about long-term remote work.
“Job security from the lack of interaction with employers (33 per cent) and the stability of remote networks (33 per cent), which includes internet bandwidth, are the most significant concerns for employees should remote work arrangements continue long-term,” he said during the survey presentation here, today.
Conducted by Kanter, a market research firm, across 7,000 working professionals (1,030 Malaysians) from seven Asia Pacific markets and the Japan region, the index captured data on employees’ readiness for long-term remote work and their views on factors important for its success.
In terms of technology resources, 50 per cent of respondents felt that their employers were not doing everything they can to support effective remote working.
Ong said the surveyed employees were faced with a great challenge with unstable remote networks, which includes internet bandwidth constraints when the movement control order (MCO) was implemented last year.
“They also encountered challenges in accessing internal company resources, such as an intranet, company portal, customer relationship management tools, finance or accounting tools,” he said.
According to the study, remote work was not new to employees in Malaysia as 70 per cent of them had worked remotely to some degree before the MCO was implemented.
“However, 48 per cent of the respondents said the most important factor for remote working was to have a stable remote network, which is particularly critical to those in large organisations with more than 1,000 employees, where 54 per cent see this as the number one factor,” he said.
Hence, the employees felt that their employers should provide greater support for the new reality where remote work practices will be commonplace, he said.
Based on the study, 42 per cent of the respondents in Malaysia wanted employers to provide productivity equipment or tools, and 36 per cent of the respondents wanted employers to ensure that they get access to internal company resources to mitigate long-term remote work.
Meanwhile, for human resources support, surveyed employees in both Malaysia and Japan cited lack of in-person communication as the top challenge, in addition to gaps in team engagement, learning and development, as well as outdated policies and guidelines for remote working.
To successfully manage long-term remote work, 51 per cent of Malaysian employees surveyed wanted training for remote working, learning and development sessions, while 42 per cent called for more team engagement initiatives.
Ong said the definition of work today has evolved as it was no longer anchored to a place or time but is focused on outcomes, instead.
“Employers with the long-term health of the business in mind must be ready to help employees realise both their professional and personal roles effectively regardless of where they will be working,” he said.