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SMBs in APAC fall behind employee expectations in a ‘New World of Work’: Microsoft

Zafirah Salim | June 11, 2015
Microsoft Asia Pacific New World of Index shows that 40 out of 100 respondents rated themselves highly in embracing new People, Place and Technology principles.

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in Asia Pacific (APAC) are not meeting their employees' expectations to be more productive, collaborative and innovative in a mobile-first, cloud-first world.

Polling 2,000 respondents across 10 countries in APAC, Microsoft recently partnered with Organisation Solutions - a global consultancy that helps companies solve the people and organisation challenges of growth - to conduct a study that tracks the extent in which SMBs are embracing the 'New World of Work' today.

According to the tech giant, the 'New World of Work' covers three key principles: people (employees working flexibly and productively in the digital modern workplace), place (employees working flexibly anytime, anywhere) and technology (employees empowered with technology to enable collaborative work wherever).

As part of the study, Microsoft unveiled a 'New World of Work Index', which compares how workers perceive their ability to succeed in today's digital, fast-paced and modern workplace. It is derived from respondents who rated themselves highly in the three key principles, and provided a comparison between markets.

The Asia Pacific mean score was 40 out of 100, with scores ranging from as low as 21 in Taiwan, to as high as 62 in Indonesia. Singapore on the other hand, scored 35, ranking eighth among the 10 countries.

Dr James Eyring, COO of Organisation Solutions said that the Index revealed that employees in emerging markets feel they are better supported for a new world of work, and are open to harnessing productivity tools to work better and smarter. They also clearly bring their own devices and services to the workplace to help them become more connected and productive. This was further reinforced by the insight that majority of the respondents in these markets are using 4 or 5 productivity services (email, document collaboration, file sharing, virtual meetings and social) to meet their work needs.

Meanwhile, employees in mature markets live in a world where advanced productivity tools are more readily available, but they do not harness online productivity tools as much as their counterparts in emerging markets. Eyring explained that this may be because they are impeded by stricter policies or legacy processes and systems at the workplace.

SMB barriers to enabling the 'employee of the future'

According to the study, while 74% of employees consider themselves to be mobile workers, only 31% work for SMBs that adopt formal work policies to support remote working.

The latter group of employees also felt that they are lacking in terms of productivity, collaboration, innovation and well-being (a happier workplace) - the four key benefits of 'New World of Work' - as compared to the employees that have the ability to work remotely from other locations.


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