#Asia Flexi gets sexy as offices remote-hire to stay on top

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In cities like New Delhi and Bangalore, where commuting is an office-goer’s worst nightmare, working from home – or close to it – is like sitting on cloud 9. Bingo! Turns out, flexible working, is what the world is moving towards.

A report by Regus, a global workplace provider that surveyed 44,000 people in 105 countries online this year, says, “Flexible working is becoming increasingly popular, with half of the global workforce reporting that they work outside the main office at least part of the week.”

Whether it’s India, China, Germany, or Mexico, the findings are not very different globally.

The Regus survey shows that at least 48 percent of professionals prefer to work closer to home while at least 54 percent of respondents confirm that companies like theirs are looking to increase the number of remote workers.

Guess why? It makes for a happier workforce and companies get to cut costs and derive more productivity. It is also a big plus for mothers, carers, and older professionals in the workforce.

Regus cites a study by telephone service provider Vodafone that shows 86 percent of multinational enterprise businesses consider the implementation of mobile flexible working as a medium or high priority.

Devleena Basu, a senior counsel at SAP, one of the world’s largest IT companies, works from home two to three days a week. “There are no specific working hours, so to say, as long as the work gets done. I can actually make it a full five days from home, but I prefer to go twice, as meetings and catching up is also important.”

The painful commute from Delhi to the office hub of Gurgaon is a major reason. “I save at least three hours daily by avoiding the commute. For firms, it’s a great way to retain workers, especially women. Plus, it helps them optimize on office space,” she adds.

At least 63 percent of respondents in the Regus survey report that they manage a remote worker at least some of the time. The figure peaks in India, and dips in Japan, where face-to-face office culture is still very strong.

Tech in Asia, headquartered in Singapore, also operates on remote working. Many of its employees in China, India, and Indonesia work from home, at all hours, and smoothly, through a virtual office.

Jayati Singh, director of health and wellness at Philips India, and a mother of two, told Tech in Asia, “I work from home once a week. It is part of our inclusion policy – to enable working mothers to strike a balance between work and home.”

Plenty of reasons to work remote

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Work-life balance

For workers, it offers better work-life balance, and makes for happy and healthy employees.

“Globally, the average employee works almost one full day in overtime every week. Being able to carry out this work from a location closer to home, or the gym, or wherever they prefer to be, certainly helps ease the pain,” finds the survey.

In fact, 61 percent of respondents report that the need to improve work-life balance is driving up the increase in flexible working. Around 32 percent cite combating the rising cost of commuting as a reason to be closer home.

Productivity

The vast majority of firms report that companies are becoming more focused on measuring employees on outputs rather than time spent in the office. According to Regus, around 76 percent declare that senior managers are actually more productive if they can work flexibly. Around 79 percent report that their company is more focused on results than hours, giving a thumbs-up to flexi working.

Agility

For businesses, a flexible workspace means taking steps toward becoming an agile organization that can rapidly meet changing market requirements. Almost a fifth of businesses see the reduction of lease-hold property under-occupancy as a driver for flexible working.

Many agile businesses also prefer to operate with smaller headquarters, and branch out to a number of satellite locations that are closer to where their staff lives or to where their customers are based.

Cutting costs

When employees work from home or closer to home, it means reducing the use of expensive, often under-occupied, leasehold property. Rising cost of urban housing also encourages remote working.

Besides all these factors, companies are also able to comply with best-practice employee flexibility standards when they let workers operate from locations closer to home.

Future is flexi

A report by Citrix, an IT-related research body, suggests that by 2020 the proportion of businesses offering mobile working will reach 89 percent, and the groundwork to achieve this high target is being done already.

The Regus survey found that 43 percent of firms have put special training in place to help management handle a remote workforce.

For firms that want to stay on top, flexible working may be key.

This post Flexi gets sexy as offices remote-hire to stay on top appeared first on Tech in Asia.

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