Asia Pacific workers seek return to the office-JLL

Employees in the Asia Pacific are citing offices as their preferred primary place of work post-pandemic, as they seek more balance in their working patterns, according to a report by Jones Lang Lasalle (JLL).

In its Worker Preference Barometer, JLL revealed results of its survey of 1,500 respondents across Asia Pacific, which show that the appetite for working in the office post-pandemic has grown to three days a week, compared to only two days in a similar survey it conducted last year.

Survey results show that 68 percent of respondents wish to work in a hybrid model, having the flexibility to switch between the office, home and third-party location versus 74 percent in October 2020.  

In addition, six out of 10 of the respondents believe that they are more productive in the office than at home compared to 54 percent a year ago.  

“What we’re observing is that people crave the social interaction and professional work environment that the office provides. One in two employees miss face-to-face collaboration with colleagues, as well as access to efficient infrastructure, including good internet connectivity, ergonomic workstations and collaboration areas,” sais JLL Asia Pacific CEO Anthony Couse.

“We’re also seeing that working from home in the long-run makes people feel stuck in an endless day of virtual meetings and work, without clear boundaries which enable them to disconnect properly. This has taken a social and mental toll for some,”he added.

Results of the JLL survey also show that more than half of respondents feel overwhelmed by a huge mental load and are worried about their job security, while majority of young parents (60 percent) have expressed that they have many personal responsibilities to cope with and are becoming disenchanted with work.

“Companies have to pay closer attention to the health and well-being of their employees now more than ever. With 90 percent of the workforce wanting more flexibility in choosing where and when to work, work-life balance is now being ranked as the top priority in the research, ahead of salary, and this should be considered by employers if they want to attract and retain talent,” Couse said.

Moreover, the survey results also show that the pandemic has caused employees to have new expectations of their office spaces.

JLL said employees are now looking at health and wellness programmes, sustainability, learning and development, and diversity and inclusion initiatives as some of the top factors that will attract them to join or stay with an employer.

“As we start to navigate out of the pandemic, companies have an opportunity to leverage their physical office spaces to become more human-centric in supporting the employees’ diverse, evolving needs and working styles,” JLL Asia Pacific Work Dynamics Research Director Kamya Miglani said.