Two-thirds of Malaysian workers want work-from-home policy to continue, survey reveals

PHOTO: The Star/Asia News Network

PETALING JAYA - Majority of the workforce in Malaysia supports the continuation of work-from-home arrangement post movement control order (MCO) period, reveals a survey by KPMG Malaysia.

The survey, which was conducted to understand the social wellbeing of work-from-home as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, found that 69 per cent agreed that work-from-home should continue post-MCO as part of the new normal, while 56 per cent of business owners are supportive of work-from-home arrangements.

The survey also found that 64 per cent of respondents faced challenges while working from home.

It cited the three main difficulties as being network issues (61 per cent), communication barriers (14 per cent), and lack of technology readiness (10 per cent).

KPMG’s Malaysia head of advisory Chan Siew Mei said due to Covid-19, the workforce in Malaysia and around the world has been "abruptly thrust into a global experiment on remote working".

As such, Chan said the learning curve has been steep, not just for employees, but also for business leaders.

She said business leaders have had to scramble to set up the necessary infrastructure and provide the required training and support to keep disruptions to operations at a minimum during the MCO.

“Irrespective of readiness or desire, this pandemic has boosted the work-from-home movement to be a required reality for the masses.

"It’s clear from our 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," she said in a statement on Wednesday (June 10).

In the survey, among the top factors to improve the work-from-home experience, respondents listed good network connectivity and speed, better IT infrastructure, and having clear work-from-home guidelines.

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The survey also found that the most used modes of communication were email (76 per cent) followed by social media applications (74 per cent), video conferencing tools (52 per cent), and collaboration tools (50 per cent).

However, the survey noted that in terms of productivity, collaboration tools recorded the highest with 77 per cent compared to email (70 per cent), social media applications (69 per cent) and video conferencing tools (69 per cent).

KPMG Malaysia's people and change advisory executive director Sharmini Ann Jacob said that these results emphasised the need for organisations to provide their people with the right tools.

"To achieve a strong workforce productivity, organisations must invest in effective communication platforms and upskill employees to better adopt new technologies," she said.

The survey also pointed out that the top five industries that supported e-learning among employees were education (66 per cent), consulting (62 per cent), professional services (57 per cent), financial services (56 per cent), and security (54 per cent).

KPMG's survey also showed that when human resources (HR) played an active role, the ease of work-from-home transition increased by 8 per cent, work-from-home implementation and productivity went up by 7 per cent.