Gartner: 5 lessons in smart remote working from Asia

By Janet Brice
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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