KPMG survey: majority in favour of WFH arrangements to continue post-MCO

According to a survey conducted by KPMG in Malaysia, majority of the workforce supports the work from home (WFH) arrangement to continue post-Movement Control Order (MCO).

Out of the 3,022 respondents who participated in the survey conducted from 7 April to 19 May 2020, 69 percent say that WFH should continue post MCO as part of the new normal but however, 64 percent face challenges, with the top three difficulties being network issues (61 percent), communication barriers (14 percent), and lack of technology readiness (10 percent).

In instances where companies implement clear WFH policies and provided frequent updates, the percentage of respondents who agreed to WFH increased by as much as 21 percent.

Meanwhile, only 56 percent of business owners are in favour of the WFH arrangements

In a statement, Chan Siew Mei, KPMG’s Head of Advisory in Malaysia, said that the workforce in Malaysia and around the world was abruptly thrust into a global experiment on remote working due to the pandemic.

“The learning curve has been steep, not just for the employees but also for business leaders as they scrambled to set up the necessary infrastructure and provide the required training and support to keep disruptions to operations at a minimum during the MCO,” Chan said.

Irrespective of readiness or desire, she said this pandemic has boosted the WFH movement to be a required reality for the masses.

It’s clear from KPMG’s study that committed leadership from the top is required to help employees quickly overcome the challenges to adapt to this new normal. The faster the company can adapt, the less impact there will be to disruptions in operations.

Leveraging on KPMG’s INSIGHTS 360 Data & Analytics solutions, there is a direct correlation between productivity levels and the capacity/ capability of communication platforms and the readiness of individuals to adopt technology.

The survey found that 77 percent of respondents who leverage on collaboration tools (such as Microsoft Teams, Skype, etc.) as their main mode of communication while WFH reported the highest productivity levels as compared to other modes of communication.

According to Sharmini Ann Jacob, Executive Director of KPMG’s People and Change Advisory in Malaysia, “The implications of these results emphasise the need for organisations to provide their people with the right tools. To achieve strong workforce productivity, organisations must invest in effective communication platforms and upskill employees to better adopt new technologies.”

KPMG’s survey also highlighted that if the Human Resource (HR) departments play an active role in facilitating WFH arrangements, employees’ perceived productivity increases by 7 percent, while sentiments towards WFH implementation and ease of WFH transition increased positively by 7 percent and 8 percent respectively.

“Our study shows how HR is a key enabler to helping the organisations transition to WFH. Empowering your HR with the right capabilities is crucial to keep employees engaged and productive when implementing new ways of working,” Jacob concluded.

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