Thursday, 15 July 2021
Malaysia has achieved its daily COVID-19 vaccination rate target of 300,000 whereby approximately 30% of population has gotten at least one shot. But these numbers offer little reprieve as new infection rates are yet to show signs of easing off.
How much longer do companies have to wait until it is entirely safe to call all of their employees back to the office? After fifteen long months of work from home, the future is still uncertain, and companies are rightfully to be worried about the long-term effect on workforce productivity affecting their baseline.
While bigger organisations and multinational companies were mostly already equipped with productivity and virtual working platforms due to their bigger infrastructure, better funding and necessity for remote geography working, it was a different scenario altogether for smaller businesses and offices unprepared for a pandemic and first time to work from home.
So, what can businesses learn from the bigger organisations in order to prosper and achieve productivity while working at home given these circumstances? Let’s read on.
When the movement control order (MCO) was first put into place, about 44% of Malaysian workers were reported to have worked from home. But this arrangement has primarily been attributed to standard workers and employees, whereas only a quarter of self-employed small businesses was able to work from home.
The return to normalcy has not been without challenges. Initially, the National Immunisation Programme (PICK) following the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations, prioritized medical and enforcement front liners followed by high risk age group citizens.
But the rampant infection among factory workers and service sectors meant that essential workforce like manufacturing and economic front liners had to be prioritized to strengthen the country’s economy and avoid entire country being incapacitated. Meanwhile, non-essential workers have no choice but to wait a little longer.
Business owners in favour of their employees physically returning to office will have to contend with virtual teamworking for a while.
In view of this situation, businesses should be open to making the flexible office as a permanent option in the future and consider planning a better long-term work from home policy. Here are some of the reasons why:
Real-world observations have clearly shown that companies like the technology giants or multinational corporations were able to facilitate work from home options to their employees while still achieving high workforce productivity due to these main factors:
Meanwhile, most small businesses and public sector offices have their network tied to their physical workplace, limiting real work-from-home options. Other establishments such as those in IT, real estate, and financial sectors may have the necessary infrastructure to support working remotely online but lacking company policy to do so.
Such establishments accounted for only 5% of the Malaysia workforce and were typically located in advanced urban areas. Based on national employment data, it was estimated that anywhere from 28% to 65% of jobs in Malaysia can actually be performed from home.
Work from home requires the right use of technology in order to ensure workforce productivity. Some of the basic technology requirements to enable remote working online includes:
Businesses have much to consider in order to ensure work from home can actually bring in the productivity they seek. While having the best tools may provide the critical element for enabling work from home, they need to rethink their communication styles and adapt to a digital working culture. For the most part, work from home policies have to be formalized with clear guidelines and expectations set.
In remote working, employees have to be comfortable using communication tools beyond the usual email or chat messenger and be adept at using online video conferencing tools like Zoom for adhoc meetings and other events. Businesses will have to train their workforce in using digital collaborative workspaces like Teams or Slack effectively. Having frequent online events like virtual townhalls, online huddles and team celebrations are some of the ways businesses can keep their workforce engaged and productive while creating a digital culture.
Given the current circumstances, it is clear that digitalisation is necessary for most Malaysian businesses to be able to prosper and achieve workforce productivity while work from home. So, what should businesses serious about it do next?
Taking the first step towards digital transformation is easy and within reach. Even without the technical know-how, businesses need not go about the implementation on their own. Getting help from an expert that can guide the company through and facilitate adoption would be the best option.
Here are some factors that should be considered before choosing a work from home and productivity solution partner that works best for you:
Celcom have been standing with Malaysian businesses for more than 30 years to deliver the widest mobile network nationwide. As a one-stop digital solutions provider, we bring a comprehensive and end-to-end service ranging from connectivity to innovative business solutions that is tailored to simplify the digitalisation of your business and enhance productivity.