Singapore — Technology company Cisco examined the effects of hybrid working as world economies open up two years into the pandemic. The Cisco study “Employees are ready for hybrid work, are you?” saw that 92% of employees in the Philippines showed a strong preference for having the freedom to work from anywhere, and 60% prefer a hybrid work setup.
The figure is higher than the whole of the Asean region which saw that 87% of employees prefer hybrid working. The Cisco study focused solely on employee sentiments surveying 28,000 from 27 countries, including 1,050 from the Philippines. Hybrid means working remotely and onsite, which some companies adopted when the government eased mobility restrictions when COVID-19 cases experienced a gradual decrease.
The study highlighted the effect of hybrid working on employee well-being which found that 89% in the Philippines said the new work setup improved various aspects (emotional, financial, mental, physical, and social) of their lives.
“This is the ‘evolutionary’ journey that we go through. However, while many employees want this flexibility, not all companies are ready for this,” said Tay Bee Kheng, president at Cisco in Asean. “To achieve a fully hybrid work setup, there must be a change in culture and leadership mentality. Employers must recognize that they need to make a conscious effort.”
The study saw that 60% of the respondents feel that the productivity and quality of work is a big topic of attraction and retention, especially for the new generation.
Reduced commuting times helped 86% of respondents in the Philippines feel improvement in work-life balance with nearly 74% saying they were able to save at least four hours a week working from home and 37% saved eight or more.
Opportunity for digitization
While most companies are still trying to figure out what hybrid means, it could be different depending on industries. While remote work has kept most economies going during the lockdowns amid the COVID-19 pandemic, some businesses came to a realization that there are some types of work that need to be performed in the office.
“This is the opportunity for businesses to digitize. It’s not just about having people but the opportunities for automation and digitization are happening,” said Anupam Trehan, senior director for people and communities in Asia-Pacific, Japan and China, Cisco.
In the Philippines, 73% of employee respondents cite that experiencing connectivity issues “regularly” remain a challenge in adopting a fully remote work setup. Eighty-one percent (81%) emphasized that network infrastructure is essential for a seamless working experience. However, 27% noted that their companies have yet to have the right networking infrastructure to make hybrid work work.
The Cisco survey found that only 29% of employees said they feel their companies are very prepared for hybrid work, which is slightly lower in the Asean with 3 in 10 or 30% of the respondents feeling their organization is very prepared.
“Eighty-one percent (81%) of respondents (in the whole of Asean) feel that cybersecurity is critical to making people feel safe,” said Juan Huat Koo, director, cybersecurity, Asean, Cisco. “Then there’s 37% feels like cybersecurity is a challenge in hybrid work. In the past, we are very used to working inside the office and the security team had it the easy way to just serve your organization.”
But in today’s context, network security changed. It creates a very huge problem for the security teams: identifying each and every device to secure employees and corporate data anywhere.
“This study shows that a lot of respondents view that security is paramount with 39% feeling that data privacy will be a key challenge in hybrid arrangements,” Huat Koo said. You have to make sure that you’re securing all your users connecting in different ways.”
A significant number (85%) of respondents in the Philippines believe that cybersecurity is critical for making hybrid working safe and 77% feel that their companies have the right security posture.