WFH staff seen at 34% of workforce by 2023

FULL-TIME EMPLOYEES working from home are expected to account for 34% of the workforce by 2023 compared to 3% in 2017, triggering real estate spending cuts and generating transport savings, according to advisory firm Willis Towers Watson, citing the results of a survey.

The survey, conducted in October and November, found that the pandemic pushed Philippine employers “to consider remote work and other flexible work arrangements. This practice will most likely continue as part of the new normal as companies realize that flexible work arrangements play a significant role in employee productivity and engagement,” Willis Towers Watson Philippines Head of Talent and Rewards Patrick Marquina said in a statement Monday.

The company surveyed 434 Asia Pacific organizations, including 47 Philippine firms.

Around 95% of the Philippine companies said that employee safety concerns motivated the shift to alternative work arrangements. With 35% using flexitime, 66% of companies said flexibility promotes employee retention.

Almost half of the companies said that savings will come from real estate, while a third expect savings from expenses connected to work commutes.

“Some of these savings are being channeled to facilitate the necessary changes to the companies’ total rewards programs, such as equipping employees to work from home or for the health and wellbeing programs to support employees in a more agile and flexible workplace in the future,” Willis Towers Watson said.

But the survey also found that three out of five respondents believe flexible work will not impact overall pay budgets, although almost half said new requirements will require a “hybrid” model for pay and rewards.

Companies have also not fully adapted to alternative work arrangements, with almost a fifth saying that they do not have policies to manage flexible work. Two thirds created a formal policy just last year.

The survey also found that 30% of firms have an integrated digital and business strategy.

“An integrated work strategy supported by technology and strong digital capability will enable companies to maximize the full potential of emerging work arrangements,” Mr. Marquina said.

“Employers now need to take a step back and examine the future state of their organization overall and decide how they can make the most of their new agile workforce.” — Jenina P. Ibañez

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