A survey showed that more than eight in 10 employees polled expect that work-life balance would improve as working from home regularly becomes a permanent work option, with 74 per cent also expecting their productivity to improve as they have greater freedom over how they manage their working hours. ― IStock.com/AFP pic
A survey showed that more than eight in 10 employees polled expect that work-life balance would improve as working from home regularly becomes a permanent work option, with 74 per cent also expecting their productivity to improve as they have greater freedom over how they manage their working hours. ― IStock.com/AFP pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 17 ― Companies should institute flexible work arrangements in order to maintain a healthy work-life balance for their employees within the Covid-19 era, according to a survey by United Overseas Bank (UOB).

The survey titled UOB Asean Consumer Sentiment Study showed that more than eight in 10 employees polled expect that work-life balance would improve as working from home regularly becomes a permanent work option, with 74 per cent also expecting their productivity to improve as they have greater freedom over how they manage their working hours.

“However, the firmness of this view varied significantly across the different age groups. The belief that the flexibility to manage one’s own working hours will result in higher productivity was most strongly-held by Generation Z (87 per cent) and Generation Y (78 per cent) employees.

“In comparison, 67 per cent of Generation X respondents shared the same opinion,” the survey said.

The survey also showed that nine in 10 Malaysia employees expect flexible working arrangements to become more common in a post Covid-19 environment ― with the highest sentiment being shared among Generation X (94 per cent), followed by Generation Y (88 per cent) and Generation Z (87 per cent).

“The expectation that flexible working arrangements will continue post- pandemic is unsurprising given that more than one in two employees (55 per cent) in Malaysia expressed satisfaction in their employers with regards to providing flexible work arrangements during the pandemic.

“This percentage is the highest level of satisfaction among the five Asean countries covered in the study,” the survey said.

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Executive director and country head of human resources of UOB Malaysia, Lai Tak Ming, said the pandemic has changed how organisations function, as the changes and lessons learnt from this health crisis will continue to shape the future of work and the workplace post Covid-19.

“In the past year, we’ve seen organisations and employees adjust to a new working environment after the pandemic hit. Employees moved from working in an office to a makeshift home office, while audio and video conference calls replaced face-to-face meetings. Although at first regarded as temporary measures in response to the threats of the pandemic, remote work is now part of the new working norm.

“Organisations are rethinking the future of work and the workplace, including exploring the best ways to help employees maintain work-life balance while improving productivity and engagement. At UOB Malaysia, we have been developing a hybrid working model in which employees in eligible roles can have the flexibility to work either in the office or remotely once the Covid-19 pandemic has passed,” he said.

He added that UOB is testing scenarios, redesigning its physical workspaces and enhancing its digital infrastructure to ensure people continue to remain productive and connected with each other in this new normal of work.

“To support the success of our people, the Bank has also planned virtual engagement sessions to prepare them for the transition and creating training programmes to enable managers to lead teams in a hybrid work environment,” Lai said.

Lai added that the impact of Covid-19 on people’s lives has also given rise to concerns about their well-being with three in five Malaysia residents (60 per cent) worried about their mental health and happiness.

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In addition, 76 per cent of Malaysia employees believe their employers will pay more attention to their employees’ well-being as a result of the lessons of Covid-19, according to the survey.

“As we each do our part to contain the spread of Covid by staying safe at home, the isolation over the past year may have taken a toll on our mental and emotional well-being. At UOB Malaysia, we have put in place several initiatives to help our people to cope and to boost their morale,” Lai said.

Lai said this would include setting up an online professional counselling service known as the UOB care-line to provide their colleagues with mental and emotional support as and when they need it.

“The same hotline is also available for immediate family members of our colleagues,” Lai said.



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