Hybrid work enhancing employee wellbeing, productivity: Cisco

  • Some 75% believe their roles now be performed successfully remotely
  • Only one fifth think their company is 'very prepared' for hybrid work

Hybrid work enhancing employee wellbeing, productivity: CiscoHybrid working is touted to improve total employee wellbeing, work-life balance, and performance in Malaysia, according to a new global Cisco study. 

While organisations have benefited from higher employee productivity levels, more needs to be done to build an inclusive culture and fully embed hybrid work arrangements to boost readiness levels and enhance employee experience, the company said in a statement.

Titled "Employees are ready for hybrid work, are you?”, the study found that three in five (60%) employees polled in Malaysia believe that quality of work has improved. 

A similar number (55%) felt that their productivity has enhanced, it claimed.

The study also stated that three-quarters of employees (75%) also feel their role can now be performed just as successfully remotely as in the office. 

However, the survey of 28,000 employees from 27 countries, including over 1,011 respondents from Malaysia, reveals that only one in five (20%) Malaysia employees think that their company is 'very prepared' for a hybrid work future, adding that this is lower than the global average of 23%.

According to Hana Raja (pic), managing director, Cisco Malaysia, the last two years have shown us that work is no longer where we go, but what we do. Hybrid work enhancing employee wellbeing, productivity: Cisco

“In a hybrid normal, employees and employers in Malaysia are experiencing tangible benefits from improved employee wellbeing to better productivity and work performance.

“However, hybrid work is more than just supporting a safe office re-entry. Leaders need to rethink how to cultivate an inclusive culture, place employees, their experience, engagement, and wellbeing at the center, and modernise their networking and security infrastructure to provide a seamless, secure and inclusive employee experience,” said Hana.

Cisco's research examined the impact of hybrid working on five categories of wellbeing – emotional, financial, mental, physical, and social wellbeing. 

It claimed that over three-quarters of respondents (79%) saying hybrid and remote working has improved various aspects of their wellbeing.

Time away from the office has improved work-life balance for 79% of employees in Malaysia, compared to the regional average of 81%, the research claimed.

It added that flexible work schedules (71%) and significantly reduced or completely removed commuting times (49%) contributed to this improvement. 

Additionally, around two-thirds of people (68%) saved at least four hours per week when they worked from home, and over a quarter (29%) of respondents saved eight or more hours a week, the research claimed.

Four in five (82%) Malaysia respondents also said their financial wellbeing improved, with their average savings reaching to over US$ 7,488 (RM32,891) a year. 

A sizable 86% ranked savings on fuel and/ or commuting among their top three areas for savings, followed by decreased spending on food and entertainment at 80%, whilst over eight in 10 (83%) believe they can maintain these savings over the long term, and 60% would take these savings into account when considering changing jobs.

Seven in 10 (72%) respondents believe their physical fitness has improved with remote working whilst a similar number (69%) say hybrid working has positively impacted their eating habits, the survey indicated.

A significant majority (80%) indicate that remote working has improved family relationships and 44% of the respondents reporting strengthened relationships with friends, it claimed.

Hybrid work enhancing employee wellbeing, productivity: Cisco

The future of work is hybrid, according to 74% of employees in Malaysia who say they want a combination of a remote and in-office hybrid working model in the future, compared to a fully remote (22%) and fully in-office (5%) experience.  

However, there is uncertainty over how different work styles might impact inclusion and engagement, the survey highlighted.

Over half (59%) of Malaysian respondents believe micromanaging behaviors had increased with hybrid and remote working, it said. 

A lack of trust from managers that their employees can be productive have been a common thorn in their working experience, it added.

Anupam Trehan, senior director, people and communities, Cisco, AP, Japan and China said trust has become a core tenet in our hybrid work normal, alongside flexibility, and empathetic leadership. 

“Our latest research indicates that more needs to be done to fully integrate hybrid work arrangements for employees, especially when it comes to building an inclusive culture powered by efficient technology infrastructure in this new world of working that employees clearly prefer,” he said. 

At the same time, technology will remain critical to enabling a future with increasingly diverse and distributed workforces.  

Nearly two-thirds of (64%) respondents believe having connectivity issues regularly is career-limiting for remote workers. 

As a result, the studied noted that 82% say networking infrastructure is essential for a seamless working from home experience, but around 36% say their company still needs the right networking infrastructure.

Over three-quarters (76%) of respondents in Malaysia believe that cybersecurity is critical for making hybrid working safe, but only 61% say their organisation currently has the right capabilities and protocols in place, the research highlighted.

However, it noted that only 62% think that all employees across their company understand the cyber risks involved with hybrid work, and 67% think business leaders are familiar with the risks.

“Technology is a key enabler of growth in the hybrid workplace, and it needs to be underpinned by end-to-end integrated security,” said Juan Huat Koo, director, Cybersecurity, Cisco, Asean. 

“Organisations should prioritise a robust security posture that underpins every digitalisation effort and ensure that cybersecurity is at the core of their technology architecture.”


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