News: Why Filipino workers crave a workspace rejig

Life @ Work

Why Filipino workers crave a workspace rejig

Can employers in the Philippines reinvent the office before worker productivity hits an all-time low?
Why Filipino workers crave a workspace rejig

MANILA – The setup of workplaces in the Philippines has stayed unchanged for the most part over the past few years, with almost the exact same office layout, seating arrangement, and meeting room arrangements across companies.

However, there is evidence to suggest that Filipino workers are getting tired of seeing the same things in their office every single day, and it may be affecting their productivity.

New research from global tech company Cisco revealed that 37% of workers in the country feel that returning to the office does not necessarily allow them to show their full potential at work. Despite this, they are still willing to go back if their employers can adapt the office setup to match their evolving needs and expectations.

Zaza Soriano-Nicart, managing director at Cisco Philippines, believes employers need to make necessary adjustments to keep up with changes in modern workplaces.

“In the era of hybrid work, employers need to reimagine their workspaces as a hub for collaboration and connect people in new ways with the right connectivity, collaboration tools, and culture,” Soriano-Nicart said.

Enforcing return-to-office mandates

As with many companies around the world, businesses in the Philippines have already started requiring workers to come back to the office. In fact, 93% of organisations have enforced return-to-office (RTO) mandates since the government allowed in-person work in 2022.

According to Cisco, 80% of Filipino workers interviewed had a positive reaction to the RTO setup. However, a majority of them (89%) said they would prefer it if they were allowed to go back to the office only a few times per week.

When asked why they would return to the office, the respondents’ answers extended beyond their individual work responsibilities. Many believe that going back to the office allows for collaborations and brainstorming, as well as fosters a “sense of belonging among employees”.

“This shift signifies a change in employee expectations and needs for their workspaces,” Cisco said.

Making changes to office setups

The study also revealed that some Filipino employers are aware that they need to make changes to their office setups. Of those interviewed, 37% admitted that their workplace may not be the best fit to bring out the best work in them and their workers.

Meanwhile, 73% of workers feel that the office layouts and seating arrangements at their companies are not conducive to collaboration and brainstorming.

Much has been said about the importance of collaboration among employees in the workplace. However, the Cisco report showed that 78% of companies still allocate at least half of their office spaces to individual workspaces.

The tech company said Filipino workers (47%) feel that individual workspaces, along with large (55%) and small (69%) meeting rooms, significantly decrease their work productivity.

Some Philippine companies have already made progress in transforming their workplaces. Eight in 10 employers in the country have made changes to their office setup following the Covid pandemic, while 89% said they are planning to do the same in the next couple of years.

This transformation is powered by employers’ desire to adapt to technological advancements (63%), meet the changing workspace expectations of their workers (54%), and facilitate better hybrid work implementation (42%).

“While employers are making progress in deploying collaborative technologies to support hybrid work, significant work remains to simplify the experience to better enable employees to more fully utilise these tools and technologies,” Nicart said.

“Apart from providing access to technologies like smart meeting assistants, for example, employers need to make sure that their people are given appropriate training and support so they can be proficient in these technologies.”

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Topics: Life @ Work, Employee Engagement, #Flexibility

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