New thinking and greater agility required to establish new norm, highlights HSBC survey

According to a HSBC survey, Resilience: Building Back Better, Malaysian businesses believe that with the adoption of technology and changes in the ways of working, new norms will be established requiring new thinking and greater agility.

The report surveyed 2,604 companies across 14 markets globally, including 200 firms from Malaysia in the first half of 2020.

“The Covid-19 crisis is accelerating change at a rate we have not witnessed before. To remain competitive, businesses need to adapt quickly to new ways of working,” said Stuart Milne, Chief Executive Officer, HSBC Malaysia.

“It is good to see from our survey that innovation and the adoption of the latest technology are top priorities for Malaysian businesses as they are the major enablers of future success.”

The report further highlighted that Malaysian businesses foresee that technology will increase the incidence of flexible working arrangements (79 percent) and virtual meetings (62 percent) over the next two years.

“It is without a doubt that virtual meetings and collaboration tools will become standard ways of working in the next 1-2 years (59%), even as they were seen as most vital during the first half of the year (56%).

“More and more businesses in Malaysia are turning to technology to enable their employees to work flexibly. The survey shows that 95% of businesses agree or strongly agree that in times of adversity, application of technology can enhance how they work,” said Stuart.

HSBC along with other companies are reviewing occupancy requirements in the light of increased use of flexible working.

“Business will benefit through lower costs and more distributed risks while employees will benefit though through an improved quality of life. We all need to learn how to apply flexible working practices in the most productive way. What is certain is that flexible working is now firmly embedded in business practices and that this is a permanent, rather than a temporary, change.”

The survey also pointed out that high proportion of Malaysian businesses identify aspects of the workforce, particularly employee morale (32 percent) as a barrier to future resilience.

“Malaysian businesses should also prioritise employee mental and physical health and well-being and equip their employees with the ability to adapt to their new working environment. They must quickly bring employees up to speed on new ways of working as Malaysia makes this transition,” added Stuart.

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