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Distrustful employers urged: Give hybrid work setup a chance

Stock photo, woman at laptop work from home. STORY: Distrustful employers urged: Give hybrid work setup a chance

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SINGAPORE — Employers from the Philippines and the rest of Southeast Asia are urged to have a more “conscious” effort to understand how hybrid arrangement works as majority of their employees feel their companies do not trust them enough to do productive work in this kind of setup, according to an official of global technology firm Cisco.

Tay Bee Kheng, president at Cisco in Asean region, said it might still take a longer time for companies’ culture and leadership to adapt to a hybrid scheme, a mix of on-site and off-site work that gained traction during the pandemic to limit employees’ exposure to COVID-19.

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“But we do need to make a conscious effort to change. And that is very important. Employers have to recognize that,” she explained during the launch of the company’s “Employees are Ready for Hybrid Work, Are You?” study at Cisco’s office in Singapore on Wednesday.

In the Philippines, seven in 10 employees or about 71 percent claimed their managers exhibited lack of trust as evidenced by increasing micromanaging behaviors in the advent of hybrid and remote working, according to Cisco’s survey. This is higher compared to the region’s average at 65 percent.

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Anupam Trehan, Cisco’s senior director for people and communities in Asia-Pacific, Japan and China, said that while this figure was high, it presented an opportunity to learn how to instill trust.

“Trust is going to be critical. And trust is not one direction,” she said.

A lack of trust can make employees feel they are working at a place that is very “defensive,” according to Trehan.

Andy Lee, Cisco’s managing director for Singapore, attributed this current workplace atmosphere to a low level of preparation for hybrid work.

In the survey, only 29 percent of the Filipino respondents said their companies were “very prepared” for this work setup. The majority or 81 percent said networking infrastructure was deemed critical to facilitate “seamless” remote working and around 27 percent pointed out their companies have yet to provide the right technology.

“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, cybersecurity director at Cisco Asean.

Better work-life balance

The Cisco survey also revealed that 92 percent of the Filipino respondents said hybrid work made them “happier” during the pandemic as it improved their overall well-being. This is more than the 87-percent average in the Asean region.

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In addition, 86 percent shared they have better work-life balance due to flexible work hours, with less or no commuting to work. Almost three-quarters of the respondents said they saved at least four hours per week because of remote working.

About 90 percent of the Filipino employees said they were able to save over P344,000 a year under this work setup, with less money budgeted for fuel or transportation fees, food, and entertainment.

In addition, more than 90 percent of the local respondents said remote working helped in improving their family relationships.

Cisco surveyed 28,000 employees from 27 countries, including over 1,050 respondents in the Philippines, between January and March.

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TAGS: Cisco, hybrid arrangement works, productivity
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