The coronavirus pandemic has impacted all corners of our world, creating whole new paradigms as attitudes and expectations among workers and leaders shift. For example, the pandemic may signal the end of the traditional 40-hour work week and hours-based contract work, according to a recent study conducted by The Adecco Group.

The Adecco Group, a leading HR solutions company, surveyed 8,000 office-based respondents (aged 18-60) across Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, the UK and the USA in May 2020, examining the expected short and long-term impact of the pandemic on resetting workplace norms. The full study, Resetting Normal: Defining the New Era of Work, can be found here.

A similar study has been carried out in Asia to determine the changed expectations of Asian workers. 1,500 workers across China, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, India and South Korea were surveyed.

The findings reveal a stark emerging shift in many of the traditional working patterns that have held for generations – and a clear gap between the expectancy of workers and the capabilities of organisations in rising to meet them.

Ian Lee, CEO of The Adecco Group APAC, says: “COVID-19 has prompted businesses to rethink how they operate, as well as to restructure how they approach employee relationships with work, technology and the wider society. We will eventually come to the end of the COVID-19 tunnel, but what we know for sure is that the world of work will never return to the pre-pandemic standard of normalcy. To transform rather than survive through the crisis, businesses must seize this unprecedented opportunity to ‘Reset Normal’ to create a more inclusive and productive world of work. This means listening to the voices of people and establishing norms that cater for their betterment, even if it requires them to break-through traditional boundaries.”

Some of the key findings include:

  • Across Asia, workers believe that government, employers and individuals hold almost equal responsibility for ensuing a better working world. The wider global survey found that respondents put more emphasis on the responsibility of their employers to ensure a better world of work, with 80 percent believing they held responsibility compared to only 68 percent across Asia.
  • The research revealed that the working world is ready for a new “hybrid” model, with over 30 percent of respondents claiming that they would like to spend at least half of their working hours working remotely from home.
  • Additionally, 74 percent of respondents claimed that they agree that the increased flexibility in working patterns will make jobs in their profession accessible to more people compared to before the pandemic, with 81 percent of respondents agreeing that both individuals and businesses will benefit from allowing increased flexibility around office and remote working.
  • The pandemic has demanded a new set of leadership competencies and these expectations are expected to accelerate a reinvention of the modern-day leader. Emotional intelligence has clearly emerged as the defining trait of today’s successful manager, with 82 percent of respondents claiming that a leadership style focused on empathy and a supportive attitude is highly important.
  • Finally, the findings highlighted the importance of sustaining trust in the new working world. When asked the level of trust that respondents have towards different stakeholders, 70 percent claimed to have high trust in the government to support them during a future pandemic.


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