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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.

According to Microsoft, the study also revealed the emerging trend of a responsive workforce. Majority of respondents said that they are required to respond to internal stakeholders (71%) and external customers (67%) within four hours. On top of that, 79% said that they are required to be contactable outside of work in order to complete their work effectively.

However, only half of them (38%) feel equipped to respond within those hours. Ivan Gomez, Marketing Director, Microsoft Office Divison, Asia Pacific Region, said that this shows that businesses are not keeping up with the demands of a digital workforce and are lacking the right tools and infrastructures.

He added that employees in managerial positions are more empowered to have that kind of flexibility and are more equipped in being responsive to work.

It is also interesting to note that respondents enjoy limited mobile productivity despite being in a highly mobile workforce. The top two reasons cited by the respondents - as to why they need to be present in the office - was because they need to have access to important equipment or tools (60%) or important information (41.5%). These reasons also signal a gap in technology, commented Gomez.

In fact, nearly half (48%) of respondents claimed they still do not have access to the breadth of tools in their workplace to be collaborative, break down barriers between organisations and distances as well as to share ideas easily.

With productivity and talent retention being a key concern for SMBs in APAC, companies can no longer afford to ignore the needs of their employees to provide enhanced productivity as well as better work life integration in the New World of Work.

To close gaps, SMBs need to enable secure remote working; communicate, collaborate, have meetings, share ideas in real-time from anywhere; work from any device and democratise access to technology.

"While technology plays a key role to enable work from anywhere scenarios and higher productivity, there are other aspects such as organisational culture, policies, infrastructure, enabling collaboration or ability to break down barriers to innovation which are becoming increasingly important for an organisation to be competitive," said Stanimira Koleva, General Manager, Small & Midmarket Solutions and Partners Group, Microsoft Asia Pacific.

"The goal to enhanced productivity is crucial to SMBs as they don't enjoy the luxury of scale. SMBs are likely not able to dedicate resources for every challenge, or have a specialist to fill every role. In fact, people in SMBs - whether an employee or entrepreneur - tend to wear multiple hats. Because of this, enhancing productivity - or being able to work on the right things at the right time - is critical to the success of SMBs today," she added.  


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