Microsoft today unveiled findings of its Asia Workplace 2020 Study, where it found that employees in Philippines do not feel empowered to embrace the demands of the digital workplace.
While 79% of Philippines respondents consider themselves to be mobile workers and spend at least 20% of their time working outside of their offices, 64% feel empowered by their organization’s culture and managers to be able to work together productively and collaboratively. In addition, only 53% of respondents agree that their organization is committed at a leadership level to ensure every employee is included in closing the digital skills gaps within the workforce.
The Study, which involved close to 4,200 working professionals from 14 markets in Asia, sought to understand shifting employee behaviours and gaps in the workplace when it came to productivity, collaboration and flexi-work practices. This included 312 respondents from Philippines.
“As Asia primes itself to become the most connected market with more than half of all mobile connections originating from the region by 2021, organizations need to rethink how they empower their workforce with the right culture, policy, infrastructure and tools to maximize their potential. This means enabling collaboration from anywhere, on any device. However, it is also critical for business leaders to evaluate and implement changes to counter cultural and management challenges that are hindering employees to work seamlessly from wherever they are, which will in turn, hinder an organization’s growth and progress in the digital age,” said Cian O’Neill, Microsoft Philippines Chief Marketing and Chief Operating Officer.
A Digitally Savvy Workforce is Key to Digital Transformation
An earlier version of the Study conducted in 2015 found that 58 out of 100 respondents in Philippines were ready for the New World of Work, whereby organizations had the right People, Place and Technology principles in place to enable a productive, collaborative and innovative workforce. This year, 67 out of 100 respondents felt so, indicating that organizations in the market are slightly more equipped, although more can be done to move the needle.
But beyond People, Place and Technology factors, the rise of the 4th industrial revolution has also accelerated the pace of transformation. A recent Microsoft Asia Digital Transformation Study conducted in late 2016 found that ‘Empowering Employees’ number two digital transformation priority among Philippines’ business leaders. On the other hand, having a digital skilled workforce was ranked the third barrier in their digital transformation journey.
New Work Styles and Organizational Conflicts Need to Be Addressed
It is evident that mobile professionals in the market are embracing flexi-work today, and organizations should look at new workplace practices, especially with the impeding influx of digital natives (born after 2000) entering the workforce for the first time.
A large majority of the respondents (84%) value work-life integration today, where the boundaries of work and life have blurred, but have enabled mobile professionals to be able to collaborate and work virtually.
The Study also found that organizations need to address several structural challenges within the workplace to ready themselves for the digital age, as well as flexi-work practices:
- Organisation’s Leaders are a key enabler to drive flexi-work practices in the workplace: Only 53% agree that their organization’s leadership is committed in bridging the digital skills gap in the workplace.
- Organizational culture is important: Only 50% agree that their organization has invested in culture development through training and development led by HR
- Access to newer, data-centric technologies to enhance collaboration and productivity: 46% feel that their organization has invested in analytics and data tools to help them make informed and timely decisions; 50% agree that their organization has given them tools to simplify workflows
New World of Teams Requires New Approaches
Workplace shifts have undeniably resulted in new ways of work, where technologies have enabled increased collaboration between individuals and teams across geographies and groups. However, the Study found that there were certain gaps today that hindered collaborative and productive outcomes from teams.
The top challenges included:
- Teams take too long to respond to internal issues (29%);
- Too many face to face meetings that are taking up productive time (27%)
- Team members are not accommodating with flexi-work schedules (24%); and teams are too rigid and not open to new ways of work (24%)
- Teams are not open to new initiatives to improve processes (20%)
However, respondents feel that strong leadership and vision from team leader (52%), access to technology tools (50%) and diverse team members across job functions (40%) can help build more collaborative teams.
Access to Newer, Collaborative Technologies will Enhance Productivity
The Study also found that respondents are seeking better devices to help them become more productive at work. Beyond hardware requirements, 36% wish for ability to access information and data on their mobile devices and 27% hope to have access to cloud-based productivity tools.
When asked about emerging technologies that will help build better work environments by 2020:
- 46% look forward to real-time intelligence that will help them make informed decisions at work
- 42% would like virtual workspaces that support instant messaging and document sharing
- 36% think Artificial Intelligence will be able to help perform tasks independently
“As the nature of work changes, how employees collaborate and work together will be impacted as well. It is critical for business and HR leaders to seek ways to better empower individuals and remove barriers to collaborate for the digital age, especially when the Study clearly identifies gaps that can be minimized with technology. However, it is also important for businesses to also bridge the leadership and employee gap with more focus on people and culture,” O’Neill continues.
The recently announced Microsoft Teams brings together people, conversations and content, along with the tools that teams need. It’s integrated with familiar Office applications and is built from the ground up on Office 365 and Microsoft’s global, secured cloud.
Microsoft Teams is built on four core promises:
- Chat for today’s teams. Microsoft Teams provides a modern conversations experience, with threaded, persistent chat to keep everyone engaged. Team conversations can be either private or visible to the entire team, and users can access multiple teams, making it easy to switch between projects.
- A hub for teamwork. The Office applications and services that teams use every day — Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SharePoint, OneNote and PowerBI— are all built-in, so people have the information and tools they need.
- Customization for every team. Microsoft Teams offers the ability to customize work spaces with tabs, connectors and bots from third-party partners as well as familiar Microsoft tools like Microsoft Planner and Visual Studio Team Services. Today, more than 150 integrations are available or coming soon, with companies like SAP, Trello, Hipmunk, Growbot and ModuleQ building on the platform.
- Security teams trust. Microsoft Teams is built on the hyper-scale, enterprise-grade Office 365 cloud, delivering the advanced security and compliance capabilities our customers expect. Teams supports global standards including SOC 1, SOC 2, EU Model Clauses, ISO27001 and HIPAA.
Andrew Grech, Blackmores’ head of IT operations, says the tight integration of Office 365 and Microsoft Teams means that when a group is working on a project everyone is assured that the most current artefacts and content are available immediately. “The benefit we’re seeing from the collaboration Office 365 brings are huge. We’re able to work as one team, in real time, helping us reach decisions quicker and driving engagement and connection within the business.”
The Microsoft Asia Workplace 2020 Study was conducted between February and March 2017 involving 4.175 respondents in 14 Asia markets. The 14 markets include Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. All respondents were pre-qualified as at least spending 30 hours per week in a full time role, or spending at least 20 hours per week in a part time role.
eMarketer, Most of the World’s Mobile Connections Are in Asia Pacific, https://www.emarketer.com/Article/Most-of-Worlds-Mobile-Connections-Asia-Pacific/1014256
The Microsoft Asia Digital Transformation Study was conducted between October to November 2016 involving 1,494 business leaders in 13 Asia Pacific markets. The 13 markets include Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand. All respondents were pre-qualified as being involved in shaping their organisations’ digital strategy, and are working in firms with more than 250 employees.