KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 24): UOB Malaysia announced Wednesday that it is giving the majority of its almost 5,000-strong workforce the choice to work remotely up to two days a week once Covid-19 restrictions are fully lifted.
The bank said in a statement that underlying the “permanent change” is the bank’s aspiration to ensure colleagues attain the right balance between professional fulfilment and mental well-being.
Two days of remote working a week has been found to be the most advantageous for employees to maintain a sense of connection with colleagues and the company and to achieve optimal performance, it said.
The bank’s announcement follows a review of work patterns, workspaces and workforce technology tools during the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the statement, close to 60% of bank roles were assessed to be suited to working remotely, whether from home or a location other than the employee’s assigned workplace.
It added that UOB Malaysia’s new remote work options are in line with broader community sentiment where 90% of people across Malaysia said they expected some form of flexible work arrangement to become more common in a post-pandemic world.
UOB Malaysia executive director and country head of human resources Lai Tak Ming said the pandemic has transformed the way people work in the future and that the concept of what constitutes a “workplace” has undergone a fundamental rethink.
He also pointed out that “the Covid-19 pandemic has prompted companies to make a profound shift from a traditional workplace model to almost fully-remote working”, upending the way organisations and employees operate.
“Now as the economy begins to reopen and the country transitions into the endemic phase of Covid-19, we believe that the future work environment is a hybrid work model,” he said, adding that the flexible working arrangements that the bank has introduced will provide its colleagues with more autonomy to choose how and where they work.
UOB Malaysia also took in feedback from its employees on the strains of having their homes turned into their offices during Covid-19, and found during the peak of Covid-19, 85% of them reported to be as effective while working from home while 15% said they faced stress-inducing challenges.
These stresses included trying to balance family and professional commitments, lack of personal workspace at home, increased working hours from an ‘always on’ mentality and difficulty in nurturing teamwork and collaboration online, noted the group, adding that the bank has also recently enhanced mental wellness programmes.