The Adecco Group (Thailand), a leading human resources agency, has disclosed the results of the survey “Resetting Normal: Defining the New Era of Work” which studied 670 working people in Thailand regarding the impacts of the Covid-19 outbreak and their perspectives toward the future of work. Most of the respondents were full-time employees with bachelor’s degree or higher, and more than half of them are low to mid-level managers.
The survey results demonstrated that the private sectors came up with a great variety of measures to tighten their belts during the Covid-19 pandemic, including placing a freeze on new hires/contractors (57%), delaying promotions/pay rises (26%), asking staff to take pay cuts (18%), cutting back on promotion (17%) asked employees to use holiday (17%), placing some staff on furlough (16%), laying off staff (14%), stopping/delaying paying suppliers (11%) as well as changed working hours of some or all employees and incorporating working from home to prevent the outbreak (57%).
As for the employees’ perspectives toward the work from home policy, as much as 80% of employees demand a mix of office-based and remote working to reduce the risk of catching Covid-19 and for greater work-life balance. Approximately 54% believed that working in the office was still indispensable as it would improve the collaboration between teams. Overall, the majority of staff still expected their organization to focus more on productivity than working hours, and to be more flexible in terms of work. Around 51% of employees believed that remote working was as productive as working at the office while 37% thought that they performed better than when they worked at the office. Only 12% reckoned that their quality of work dropped when operating from home.
Regarding the impacts of Covid-19 on employees, most staff thought it was the organization’s and the government’s duty to offer help so that they could get through this crisis. At the same time, they believed that they had to rely on themselves as well. As for their expectations from their organization, the top one was for their organization to support flexible working and homeworking (84%), followed by the desire for clarity in crisis handling (78%), technological investment and adaptation toward digital working (78%), provision of equipment (76%) and the IT system which supported working from home (75%). Likewise, what employees expected the most from their superior during this time was the ability to help them solve the problem (58%), to trust them to get the job done (55%), to be creative and to communicate well (52%) and to support flexible working (51%).
When delving into their perspectives toward the post-Covid-19 situation, about 56% of employees believed that the circumstance should improve, and that tech jobs should have the most promising future. Even if the majority still held positive views, approximately 65% of employees still did not plan to switch jobs within a year from now, which reflects how Thais still do not dare to take a risk by changing jobs when the situation remains uncertain.
Lean-Digital-Work from Anywhere: 3 Things to Expect in the New Normal
Ms. Tidarat Kanchanawat, CEO of the Adecco Group (Thailand), said that “When comparing the survey results in Thailand with those of many other countries that Adecco has studied, it has been discovered that, overall, the findings were quite congruent with many countries where organizations become leaner and more digitized and implement a mix of office-based and remote working to increase flexibility. These things will turn into the new normal that organizations must plan to adapt to both in the short and long terms, especially the HR department which will have to adjust their recruitment strategies since the current needs have changed. We may require people with a different skill set and may not be able to hire as many full-time employees as before—it might be necessary to hire more freelancers in combination. The recruitment must also be more agile and digitized. Speaking of which, Adecco has also designed a curriculum to help the HR department get prepared for this.”“These survey results also indicate that Thai people want a more flexible working style. Organizations may need to listen to such feedback and utilize it in order to retain their staff and attract talented candidates. Presently, remote working is considered one of the criteria that applicants use to choose their organization. This is because people these days think that work can be done from anywhere and emphasize balance in life as one of the top priorities. The important thing is, there are still a lot of skilled workers who have quit their full-time job due to their personal necessity but are still ready to return to work again as freelancers. Therefore, if organizations apply this policy, it will help create competitive advantages. This policy is also beneficial for employee retention since it makes the staff feel that their organization cares about their health and safety. Besides, keeping the work-from-home policy in place has long-term benefits in lowering the risk of disease outbreak and helping prepare for the uncertainty which may occur in the future,” said Ms. Tidarat.
“Nevertheless, incorporating working from home is another challenge that several organizations have to confront since companies are usually concerned about the efficiency and productivity of their employees who work remotely. Also, they often ask heads of departments to use their personal discretion to decide which employees can or cannot work from home without clear assessment criteria and measures. Meanwhile, the employees are demanding trust from their boss. This is a global issue since the integration of remote working is still new for many organizations.”
“To thrive in this new normal, it is crucial for organization leaders to pull up some skills to cope with the changes. Based on the Adecco’s survey results, leaders with empathy are sought after overseas. However, since empathy is one of Thai people’s basic traits, they tends to prefer a leader who can give them advice or direction to help them solve problems. These make complex problem-solving skill and adaptability skill become the most demanded skills for leaders in the unprecedented time.”“Additionally, to build trust in work, the HR department and its executives will need to cooperate to determine clear frameworks and assessment criteria. This is because when everyone is able to adhere to the frameworks, submit tasks on time and deliver works with required standard, the management will be confident that their staff can work no matter where they are. As a result, the organization is capable of adapting itself to flexible working faster. In the same way, the IT department must play a major role in preparing and providing technology to support homeworking since our survey results have shown that approximately 75% of working people still need equipment and technological support necessary for remote working.”