Is flexible working feasible in the Hong Kong workplace?

Organisations have been pondering the benefits of workplace flexibility since the 1990s, with increasing numbers allowing employees to work in a flexible manner at least some of the time.

Recently, a handful of companies have made public workplace policy changes by calling their remote workers back to the office, citing the need for more in-person and in-the-office collaboration.

Such moves are leading some to question whether flexible working is still a viable option. And there’s no simple yes or no answer to this important workplace question.

“Companies today need to develop and offer agile workplace options to attract digital talent and prepare for the future of work,” notes James Kennedy, Head of Consulting, North Asia at JLL.

The right workplace strategy at the right time

Business models are being turned upside down as companies compete for digital talent to propel their companies forward in the emerging digital economy.

In this highly competitive business environment, a flexible workplace can be a key factor in attracting and retaining digital talent. A recent survey conducted by Manpower Group Solutions found 63 percent of job candidates today don’t feel they need to be sitting at their desk to get work done. Moreover, 45 percent of respondents say flexibility is a key motivating factor in considering a job change.

As Millennial and Gen Z digital natives enter the workforce en masse, the way companies think about work will continue to shift, and simplistic cookie-cutter workplace solutions just won’t cut it.

Organisations must consider what workplace strategy will be best to empower the current and future workforce to achieve the essential organisational and business ambitions.

Ever evolving technology behind collaboration and messaging tools have made it increasingly easy for employees to stay connected no matter where they are in the world.

However, organisations are realising the benefits of clustering in one place—including the corporate workplace. This “paradox of place” is shifting the reasons people have for going to work, rather than working remotely.

“Just because we can work from anywhere doesn’t mean we want to,” says Kennedy. “The social interactions and the collaboration opportunities that happen in an office all foster a collective corporate culture and accelerate innovation.”

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Creating a human-centric model

Mastering the right workplace mix is critical to creating the high-performance workplace strategy.

“Modern workers want flexible and immersive creative work environments where they can both concentrate and collaborate,” says Kennedy. “That’s true whether they’re working from home, a café, a co-working space or the office itself.”

As such, the best results are achieved when organisations consider how to curate a workplace mix that supports their unique culture, enables diverse work styles and caters for different work behaviours, he notes.

“Companies that create immersive flexible workplace solutions will truly attract, retain and enable the next generation of digital talent,” Kennedy concludes.

Ideas realised

Forward-thinking companies are realising the potential of a new workplace