Uptick in flexible work arrangements leads companies to consider new work and rewards models, Willis Towers Watson survey finds

Companies in the Philippines expect the uptick in flexible work arrangements to continue according to a survey by leading global advisory, broking and solutions company Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW). Employers anticipate that the proportion of full-time employees working from home by year 2023 will be more than 10 times higher than it was back in 2017 (34% vs 3%).

“The pandemic pushed organizations to consider remote work and other flexible work arrangements. This practice will most likely continue as part of the new normal as companies realize that flexible work arrangements play a significant role in employee productivity and engagement,” said Patrick Marquina, Head of Talent & Rewards, Philippines, Willis Towers Watson.

Indeed, nine in 10 respondents (95%) cited employee safety concerns as one of the main reasons for providing alternative work arrangements with Flextime as the most typical form last year (35%), but two thirds ( 66%) were aware that this flexibility could promote employee retention and help to improve inclusion and diversity (55%).

Despite the high levels of remote working anticipated in the future, only one in seven companies think their current job architecture and job levelling process support developing a flexible and agile workforce. Furthermore, nearly one fifth (17%) of employers still do not have policies in place to manage flexible work arrangements, and about two thirds just created a formal policy last year.

“An integrated work strategy supported by technology and strong digital capability will enable companies to maximize the full potential of emerging work arrangements,” said Marquina. “The survey found that only a small percentage of employers have an integrated digital and business strategy (30%) and a basic, reactive digital strategy with rudimentary digital capabilities (28%). But employers now need to take a step back and examine the future state of their organization overall and decide how they can make the most of their new agile workforce.”

The survey also found that 3 out of 5 respondents say their flexible work policies would not have much of a significant impact on their overall pay budget. However, nearly half (47%) are recognizing that the new requirements for work require a hybrid model for pay and rewards.

With spend on pay unlikely to change significantly, companies are anticipating that any savings they make will come from real estate, where 48% are expecting to reduce their spend over the next three years. A third (32%) also expect savings from expenses connected to commuting to work, such as transportation and travel. Some of these savings are being channelled to facilitate the necessary changes to the companies’ total rewards programs, such as equipping employees to work from home or for the health and wellbeing programs to support employees in a more agile and flexible workplace in the future.

About the survey

A total of 434 organizations across Asia Pacific, including 47 companies in the Philippines, participated in the Flexible Work and Rewards Survey conducted between October and November last year. Respondents employ 1.26 million employees across 14 markets.

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