Asians favour agile working despite downsides

Asian workers want flexible working arrangements, even as they are conscious of blurring lines between working and non-working hours.

Some 80% of employees around the world say that they prefer agile working as it allows them to maintain a good work-life balance.

In Singapore, there is an even greater demand for agile working. Some 85% of respondents to Randstad’s most recent Workmonitor survey said that they appreciated how flexible working arrangements in turn enable a more balanced lifestyle.

However, while the digital era has made flexible working arrangements a more feasible option than ever, many workers are also conscious of the downsides of technology-enabled flexible working. With most people connected via at least one smart device, there is a greater pressure to always be “on” – and flexible work arrangements do blur the lines between work and off-work times.

“Digital devices should not cause any unnecessary stress and employers who entrust their staff with the flexibility to work outside of the office at a time that works best for them are encouraged to respect employees working hours,” noted Jaya Dass, Managing Director at Randstad Singapore said.

“Employees who are given the freedom should also have a clear sense of their responsibilities, provide timely updates to their co-workers and keep to their deadlines,” Dass added.

Here are the country-specific findings from the four other Asian markets involved in Randstad’s Workmonitor survey:

Hong Kong: Nine in 10 Hong Kong-based employees want to have the option to work outside of the office environment and during a time that better accommodates their lifestyle.

Only one in two respondents said that they feel pressured to be “always on”, the lowest in the four Asian markets. Mature employees are the least likely to feel pressured, with 59% of them choosing not to work outside of business hours so that they can focus more on their personal lives.  

Malaysia: Across all the four Asian markets, employees in Malaysia are the most likely to feel that agile working will interfere with their personal lives as they never seem to be able to disconnect from work (63%).

Surprisingly, it is the millennials (68%) who feel more pressured to be “always-on” as compared to mature workers aged between 55 and 67 (39%).

Interestingly, mature workers are also more likely to prefer agile working as they believe that it can improve their overall job satisfaction, with all employees aged between 55 and 67 agreeing with this statement.

Mainland China: Employees in mainland China welcome the option of flexible work arrangement, with a whopping 90% of them believing that it can help them lead a healthier lifestyle. Even more (92%) feels that such autonomy at work will lead to greater job satisfaction.


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