Nov 18, 2020

Gartner: 5 lessons in smart remote working from Asia

remote working
Janet Brice
3 min
Remote working
Insights from Asia on remote working practices triggered by the challenge of COVID-19, according to a report from Gartner...

Smart remote working practices learnt in Asia following the initial outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic have been identified in a new report from Gartner 

“It’s important that organisations in other parts of the world look to their peers in Asia,” says Brian Kropp, Distinguished Vice President, Gartner. “While companies in Asia have not yet come out on the other side of this COVID-19 crisis, they’re further along than many in newly affected regions and have valuable insights to share.”

Gartner’s report, 5 remote work lessons learned from Asia, look at how employers in Asia have been tackling these issues for months. In the process, they have narrowed down critical success factors for remote work.

How companies responded

“Our research shows that only a minority of employers plan to downsize or ask employees to take unpaid leave,” says Kropp. “Instead, most organisations are focusing on alternative measures such as using technology more effectively and freezing new hiring to cut costs.”

A March 2020 Gartner online poll showed organisations’ policy response to the crisis:

  • Remote work is the norm: Among 805 organisations responding, 88% now encourage or require employees to work from home 
  • Flexibility on benefits: Among 474 organisations responding, 48% require employees to first use sick leave, then vacation leave and then other types of paid time off
  • Costs are under review: Among 424 organisations responding, 49% have imposed a hiring Freeze and 20% have reduced the number of contract workers

Lessons learned on remote working

Insights from Gartner suggest employers in Asia followed five actions that were critical to the success of remote working:

  1. Provide direction, confidence and resilience

Employees rely on leaders to take action and set the tone. In communications from senior business leaders to managers, prioritise employee health and business sustainability. Communicate regularly with employees. The briefing poll found that 56% of organisations have communicated an action plan to employees in case the situation worsens.

  1. Contextualise coronavirus for the organisation

Make leaders a trusted source for accurate and up-to-date information on coronavirus and how it is impacting the organisation. Avoid sharing information from social media. Instead, leverage trusted resources such as the World Health Organisation. Contextualize information so that it specifically relates to your organisation.

  1. Encourage intentional peer-to-peer interactions

Urge employees to maintain regular professional and personal interactions with their peers, even if those check-ins are virtual. The online poll showed that 40% of organisations have set up additional virtual check-ins for employees with managers and 32% have introduced new tools for virtual meetings. 

  1. Establish team guidelines

Remote work looks different for each employee depending on their needs and those of their family. Organisations can meet employees’ needs by empowering teams to adapt to their conflicting time demands. 

  1. Provide flexibility for employees’ remote work needs

When preparing for the eventual return of employees to the office, empower employees to make choices best suited for their needs and comfort levels. Where possible, allow employees to decide when to return. 

Click on the link below to watch a webinar on Lessons Learned on Managing Talent in a Crisis.

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Jun 20, 2021

5 Ways Leaders Can Create a Healthy Workplace Culture

5 min
As the world embraces Men’s Health Week, five experts advise how leaders can create a healthy workplace culture for employees

This week (14th-20th June 2021) is Men’s Health Week. Physical and mental well-being have been important considerations for leaders over the past year, and it is essential this focus is maintained as we build back for the future. Here we have asked 5 experts for practical tips leaders can implement to create healthy workplace cultures.


Know the early signs of burnout 

Recently it was reported by the BBC that burnout for health and social care staff had reached emergency levels. 

Monkey Puzzle Training Co-Founder Karen Meager has studied the burnout recovery process in partnership with Coventry University: “The past year has seen people suffer from job-loss worries, work from home challenges, isolation, and feeling overworked. These are continuing, and all have the potential to contribute towards burnout. Healthcare workers, executives, leaders, managers and small business owners will continue to be the top people to suffer from extreme burnout.”

“At the onset of burnout, people commonly enter a phase of denial. So leaders need to be aware of those who are reluctant to take their time off, are compelled to work all hours, or have changes in their behaviour or mood, as these can all be indications of burnout taking hold. Encouraging them to take a burnout self-test provides a starting point to supporting these employees through recovery, as is role modelling healthy sustainable ways of working.Karen suggests.


Encourage professional self-reflection 

Creating an environment that encourages self-reflection is an effective tool for promoting personal development. Journaling may not be something you instantly think of for professional development; however, it is a successful technique for adults to aid mindfulness and productivity. “Journaling is a form of self-expression that can empower you to understand your feelings and ambitions and how to deal with them, therefore promoting positive well-being and a healthy workplace culture,” describes Elisa Nardi, founder of Notebook Mentor


Just 15-20 minutes of journaling a day over the course of four months are enough to lessen the impact of physical stressors on your health,” explains Elisa. “It can also inspire creativity, aid your memory, and help set actionable goals. It is an underused tool that can help employees manage tricky workplace situations such as conflict, illness or new leadership roles.


Manage your stress and resilience too

As a leader or manager, often, your complete focus is on the business or protecting your team, but you cannot pour from an empty cup. Leaders should also have strategies in place to manage their own stress, so they can sustain high levels of positive energy throughout the day. “Fueled by a burning desire for success, I ignored all the warning signs of exhaustion, which eventually took its toll on me - I literally collapsed from stress, and I didn’t even see it coming.” reflects Sascha Heinemann, an expert in Performance Recovery and Stress Resilience.


“When leaders manage their energy, create healthy daily habits, and practice resilience, they are able to perform to their fullest capacity and to provide the best possible support for others.” 


“Taking a break every 90 minutes or so helps you to refuel, recharge, and re-energize and ultimately allows you to get more accomplished, in less time, at a higher level of quality, and more sustainably. This role model contributes dramatically to a healthier, more engaged, sustainable, and productive workplace culture," he adds.


Instil a sense of purpose for your team

The idea that success equals working 12-15 hour days and giving everything of yourself to your workplace continues to prevail in many organisations. This is not healthy, nor is it productive for anyone involved. “The healthiest and happiest workplace cultures are the ones that are organised around purpose.” describes business and life coach Anand Kulkarni. 


“Leaders should be giving meaning to the work they are doing within their business and beyond and sharing this purpose with their staff, rather than focusing on long hours, crippling workloads or someone else’s idea of ‘success’. When people understand why they are doing what they do and how this contributes to something greater, productivity and well-being is increased.” adds Anand. 


Promote well-being from the top down

Leaders need to act as role models if well-being is to become embedded at the very core of the organisation. It’s very unlikely that employees will start acting in a new way that puts their own needs first if the leadership team continues to behave in an entirely different manner.


‘Many organisations have worked hard in recent months to put new policies in place that better support well-being, promote hybrid working and attempt to set clear boundaries, but many leaders seem to assume that they are exempt from it all, that’s when it all falls over’, explains leadership experts Martin Boroson and Carmel Moore, from The One Moment Company. 


A recent ONS report into Homeworking in the UK revealed that people are on average working 6 hours extra per week, and many are working until late in the evening, indicating that the boundaries between work and life are more blurred than ever. 


Despite all of these wonderful opportunities for people to self-organise, if the leadership team continues to work in the office Monday to Friday, or are communicating at all hours, then it’s a clear indicator that hybrid working is simply a ‘bolt-on’ tactic rather than an integral part of the company’s approach to promoting the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance.’

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