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KPMG survey shows majority support work-from-home arrangements to continue post-MCO

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PETALING JAYA, 9 June 2020 – Work from home (WFH) arrangements have received positive support by majority of the workforce who participated in the survey conducted by KPMG in Malaysia from 7 April to 19 May 2020 during the Movement Control Order (MCO) period.

Out of 3,022 respondents, 69% say WFH should continue post MCO as part of the new normal arising from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. However, only 56% of business owners are supportive of WFH arrangements.

The survey further revealed that 64% of respondents faced challenges while working from home, with the top three difficulties being network issues (61%), communication barriers (14%), and lack of technology readiness (10%).

When asked about the factors that would improve their WFH experience, respondents quoted good network connectivity and speed, better IT infrastructure, and having clear WFH guidelines as among the top factors. In instances where companies implement clear WFH policies and provided frequent updates, the percentage of respondents who agreed to WFH increased by as much as 21%.

Chan Siew Mei, KPMG’s Head of Advisory in Malaysia, said, “Thanks to COVID-19, the workforce in Malaysia and around the world was abruptly thrust into a global experiment on remote working. The learning curve has been steep, not just for the employees but also for business leaders as they scrambled to set up the necessary infrastructure and provide the required training and support to keep disruptions to operations at a minimum during the MCO.”

She added, “Irrespective of readiness or desire, this pandemic has boosted the WFH 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.”

Leveraging on KPMG’s INSIGHTS 360 Data & Analytics solutions, a direct correlation was seen between productivity levels and the capacity/ capability of communication platforms and the readiness of individuals to adopt technology (see table below).

Top 3 WFH challenges

% of respondents

Reduction in productivity

Network issues

61%

Þ 9%

Communication barriers

14%

Þ 23%

Lack of technology readiness

10%

Þ 24%

The survey found that respondents who leverage on collaboration tools (such as Microsoft Teams, Skype, etc.) as their main mode of communication while working from home reported the highest productivity levels (77%) compared to other modes of communication. Notwithstanding that collaboration tools are deemed to be most effective in driving productivity, only 50% of respondents have utilized these tools while working from home.

wfh

According to Sharmini Ann Jacob, Executive Director of KPMG’s People and Change Advisory in Malaysia, “The implications of these results emphasize the need for organisations to provide their people with the right tools. To achieve strong workforce productivity, organisations must invest in effective communication platforms and upskill employees to better adopt new technologies.”

KPMG’s survey also highlighted the role that Human Resource (HR) departments play in facilitating WFH arrangements. When HR is found to play an active role, employees’ perceived productivity increases by 7%, while sentiments towards WFH implementation and ease of WFH transition increased positively by 7% and 8% respectively.

“Our study shows how HR is a key enabler to helping the organisations transition to WFH. Empowering your HR with the right capabilities is crucial to keep employees engaged and productive when implementing new ways of working,” Jacob concluded.

Download KPMG’s The Work-from-Home Revolution infographic here for more insights.

For media queries, please contact:

Kimberly Sammy
Manager, MARCOM
KPMG in Malaysia
Direct: +603 7721 3924
Email: kimberlysammy@kpmg.com.my

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