Here is a snapshot of worker- and employer- sentiments in seven APAC markets regarding the pros and cons of workplace transformations.

In a November 2023 double-blind survey of 7,550 full-time employees and 1,650 employers seven Asia Pacific markets* on attitudes about their workplaces’ hybrid-work policies and working conditions, the following trends were reported.

First, 79% of employers in the survey had mandated a full or partial return to the office with productivity, team communication and leadership pressure as key drivers.

Second, 71% of the employers in the survey indicated that employees had responded positively to their organization’s mandate to return to the office, and 77% of employee respondents had expressed a desire to return to the office at least a few times per week.

Third, respondents’ (employees) motives for in-office work were rated: the main reason for their return was not individual work, but rather to collaborate (77%); ideate and brainstorm with colleagues (63%); and foster a sense of belonging (48%).

Other findings

Across the seven markets surveyed, 64% of employees surveyed cited believing that their office was not “fully fit for purpose” to enable them to do their best work. When referring to office layouts and seating arrangements, 81% of respondents cited these were not conducive to collaboration and brainstorming purposes.

Among the employers in the survey, 86% cited still allocating at least half of their offices to individual workspaces. Other findings include:

    • 60% of respondents (employees) cited feeling that individual workstations (60%); large (66%) and small (72%) meeting rooms were ineffective or moderately so, at boosting productivity in the office.
    • Among employers in the survey that did find their meeting rooms ineffective in boosting in-office productivity, the main reasons were: insufficient audio and video endpoints (52%); poor quality of audio-visual experience (46%); lack of inclusive audio and video endpoints (41%); and inconsistency in the experience for remote and in-office participants (35%).
    • 52% of the respondents cited that their meeting rooms were equipped with video and audio capabilities.
    • 30% of respondents (employees) cited feeling ‘highly equipped’ to use video conferencing; 20% cited feeling ‘well-equipped’ to use advanced tools like footprint monitoring or smart meeting room assistants.
    • 80% of respondents (employers) cited having already made changes to their office spaces. Of the remainder, 81% planned to do so in the next two years. The changes included adapting to technological advancements (59%); meeting changing employee expectations for workspaces (55%); and improving the enablement of hybrid-work arrangements (53%).

According to Sandeep Mehra, Managing Director, Collaboration Sales, Cisco (APJC), the firm that commissioned the surveys: “In the era of hybrid-working, we must prioritize the evolution of our office spaces and technology to meet the needs of employees. Technology has become critical in delivering on these expectations to promote productivity and a collaborative environment — no matter an employees’ location.”

*Australia (1,500 respondents), Hong Kong (1,200), India (2,000), the Philippines (1,150), Taiwan (1,150), Thailand (1,000) and South Korea (1,200)