Work From Home and the Future of Work

COVID-19 has been a central point of discussion for a few months now, especially around its impact on how, and where, we perform work. Moving forward, businesses will have to implement new workforce programs, supporting their employees adjust to this new workplace structure, while continuing to support their clients and accepting that many aspects of how work is done have changed. These last six months have been a true test on workplace readiness and digital transformation preparedness – it showed us that a lot of businesses are struggling with the lack of resources and knowledge required to implement more flexible, structured workplace models, i.e. contingent workforce management programs. CXC has been at the forefront of contingent workforce management space for years now, launching innovative solutions catered to our clients that allow them to achieve significant cost savings and retain top-tier talent. The WFH (work-from-home) model has been validated now; however, many are wondering its longevity.

Is it here to stay? How will remote work change in the next couple of years? Will its impact remain as significant as it is today?

Peter Macy (Country Manager – Japan)

In the Japanese market, digitization and working remotely has played a key role in reducing the spread of the corona virus and promoting a safe recovery. In the current situation, it is even more critical to the country’s longer-term economic health.

Japanese government and business leaders have long promoted productivity improvements to drive economic growth. These initiatives have become of even more importance as the country’s low birth rate and rising life expectancy have reduced the domestic workforce to just about 60 percent of the total population. Even with efforts to hire more women, retirees, and foreign workers to boost the labour pool, Japan’s demographic changes are threatening to stall GDP growth for the next decade. The key to sustained economic growth is not just finding workers, but also making improvements in how they work through automation.

Vivian Xiang (Practice Director – Hong Kong)

I have no doubt that working from home will become even more common as the pandemic has proven its feasibility. On the other hand, the pandemic has made people appreciate the human interaction more – I believe this will reflect at the workplace post-pandemic. Colleagues will interact more openly and frequently, and positive results will be achieved though in-person communication.

Due to working from home there is a thin line between our personal life and professional career. Moving forward, we will need to get used to this blurry line. I believe more and more people will develop a preference for jobs they can conduct at home. Additionally, formal business attire may fade out with people being used to dress comfortably.

Tracy Tran (Country Manager – Vietnam)

Many organizations consider their recovery process and evaluate the impact of large-scale disruption or revenue shortfalls on their workforce planning, others are experiencing rapid growth.  Common Scenarios organizations are facing not only immediate cost reduction imperatives require the swift exit of talent, but also New opportunities have triggered rapid growth and they need to fill new roles – temporarily or permanently – as fast as possible.  The balance needs to reduce talent costs but also have new roles that must be filled to keep the organization moving forward.

There are flexible options for managing talent supply and demand shifts to adapt to the new trend recommend:

  • Reskill-Upskill Centre – creates the opportunity to temporarily share or directly exchange employees between companies with demand and those with over-capacities. This allows you to retain or hire talent and reduce your staff costs temporarily or long-term.
  • Redeployment Hub – gives your people the support, tools, and resources to take stock of their current skills and capabilities, leverage upskilling and/or reskilling resources, and move into open internal roles.

Sunyaluck Petchprapai (Country Manager – Thailand)

In Thailand and around the world, COVID-19 forced companies to switch to remote working from home and from everywhere very quickly. Although this migration went reasonably well in a short period of time, to be successful in the long term, a structured approach is needed, together with a significant change corporate culture.

Remote working is here to stay, so it does not suffice to focus on short-term solutions. Successful companies also plan for the long term and adapt their corporate culture accordingly.

Jay (Jongyun) Kim (Operations Manager – South Korea)

Due to global pandemic the biggest change that we have seen is that more and more companies are allowing employees to work remote. More and more companies are realizing that working remote works even though we have some obstacles working remotely. I think many companies will try to focus on building its operational process for working remotely. And will try to hire talents who can work remotely which technically reduces barrier for hiring global talents.

Peter Oreb (Global CEO)

Impact of COVID-19 had fundamentally shifted our work patterns. Office based work globally has had to be moved to remote work. If I reflect on CXC, we seamlessly moved all our staff to remote working across 30 countries. We now have a mixture of work remotely and where able to work from office. We are looking at our office rental costs and as they come for renewal are looking at ways to significantly reduce this cost, e.g. NZ office being the first renewal.  Thus far, the CXC team has expressed interest in having a mix of work-from-home (WFH) and office-based work, and are unlikely to go back to full-time, office-based environment once restrictions are eased.

Personally, I predict a lot of businesses will face challenges around strengthening and maintaining a strong culture with a large proportion of the workforce working from home. Collaboration tools such as Microsoft teams and regular team zoom calls will be vital. Managing performance and maximising results will also be a key area of focus when managing a remote workforce and developing staff training and development plans. It is important to understand that remote work will work much better for some job roles (e.g. salesperson for a service/tech business) as compared to others (e.g. receptionist).

If the businesses can manage the challenges of managing and optimising the performance of a remote workforce then the new way of working is here to stay.

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