Has a can of worms been exposed within Malaysia’s workforce? Many employees who had experienced a whole new working approach these past few years, now want the greater flexibility and convenience to continue!

Dr. Gajendra Balasingham, the group chief executive officer of GKK Consultants, a leading Human Resources training consultancy headquartered in Kuala Lumpur and with offices in nine Asian countries, is strongly advising Malaysian employers to continue with the flexible, hybrid working pattern, with its benefits far outweighing so many hurdles currently faced.

GKK conducted a poll amongst 1,300 friends and clients holding senior management posts on what should today’s work culture directions be. Many were founders and managing directors of companies, also Human Resources specialists, talent acquisition specialists and even IT senior personnel. Gajen revealed the results, “The poll revealed surprising results with 68 per cent wanting to continue with the hybrid-working model and 26 per cent polled want to work from home. This underlines the change has to begin with the private sector taking the lead!

“A huge 84 per cent want changes made to the current work system. The hybrid model, allowing teams to work from home on an alternate basis, suits the current technological era. Also, most employees are adult enough and do not need much supervision with strict adherence to manhours, as before. Most senior management want the benefits of a flexible, hybrid working pattern even when almost the whole business environment returns to almost normal. “A small 6 per cent felt that the return to office should be imposed. Their argument was they want to physically watch and supervise their employees at the workplace,” explained Gajen.

Recent news reports attribute that a hybrid work schedule enables many employees to enjoy appreciable savings in commuting time and not wasting valuable time caught in bad traffic, which has turned for the worse, too! What more, taking into account added petrol usage, rising inflation and uncontrollable personal incidentals. Employers should be able to determine and select who merits the hybrid-working approach and who should work from office, depending on the seniority of each employee, their maturity, work ethics and also work demands.

Ms Allyssa Ng, a service delivery manager at Systal Technology Solutions, fully supports working from home as she is a working mother, stating “With WFH, I can also take care of my kids. I feel I am more productive compared to going to the office. It is so stressful to get stuck in bad traffic jams which are getting worse; what’s more finding parking at the office vicinity, too. I had saved so much time during MCO, which I had put to good use through office work. Indeed, time management is important.”

Dr Justin Nevis, a Founder and CEO of Wealth Vision Consulting explained, “With some five consultants in my financial services outfit, I am considering following the hybrid approach as its benefits far outweigh the disadvantages. I advocate Malaysia’s private-sector industry to follow a hybrid working environment. The hybrid approach enables staff, particularly the middle and senior management ones to stay productive, whilst enjoying good work-life balance. “

Mr Sajiv Nair, an IT manager at Global Enterprise International Malaysia, part of the Singtel Group, shareD the same views of a hybrid-working module, stressing, “It would encourage everyone to work independently whilst at home. Teamwork can be nurtured when people are physically present at office.”

During the MCO, GKK Consultants was able to continue its training modules online, working with key government agencies to recruit and reeducate retrenched workers. Some 1,800 professionals were trained and upskilled to reenter the workforce in various industries. Their commitment and diligence to the HR industry had won the company the recently concluded BrandLaureate 2021/2022 SMEs Best Brand Award in the category ‘Brand Influencer: Education and Training Solutions and Education’.

Whilst many companies either slowed down or closed down completely during those two years, GKK Consultants blazed ahead with more and more trainings, in their efforts to transform customer experience through innovative education, training, recruitment and consulting value-chain.

According to Department of Statistics Malaysia, the number of unemployed in January 2022 was recorded at 680,400 thousand persons as compared to the previous month of December 2021 at 687,6000, a drop of 1.1 per cent.

“With the job market becoming rather challenging, employees are more careful to keep their jobs and work even more efficiently and with better productivity too, even if it means spilling into their family life, at times.

“Within GKK with its staff force of 30 personnel, we plan to practice the hybrid working environment once the kpi, tracker and key deliverables are laid out clearly, which are currently being undertaken. Till then, we are observing what is the best approach for such a sizeable staff team that needs much supervision.

“As we enter the second half of 2022 with a strong recovery mode across all business sectors, I call upon the private sector to initiate the change. Allow front-office and junior employees to return to office full time, whilst the middle management and senior ones follow abide with a hybrid working pattern. Change is inevitable and it has to come from those who see the positive attributes in order to lead the way,” concluded Gajen.


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