There are strong signs that workers globally are ready to reset the definition of normal, with three quarters (74%) of workers surveyed globally saying a mix of office-based and remote working is the best way forward. In Singapore, 81% would like more flexibility in how and where they work.

These findings come from The Adecco Group's study, Resetting Normal: Defining the New Era of Work, which took into account views of 8,000 office-based respondents across Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, the UK and the USA, as well as an additional survey in Singapore covering 400 respondents.

So what does this hybrid model look like?

The universal ideal of a hybrid model includes spending half (51%) their time in the office and half working remotely (49%) - and this global finding transcends geographies, generations and parental status. And company executives agree, with almost eight in ten (77%) C-suite leaders saying businesses will benefit from increased flexibility.

Another stark finding could signal the end of the hours-based contract and 40-hour week. More than two thirds (69%) of workers are in favour of “results-driven work”, whereby contracts are based on delivering against business needs rather than working a set number of hours. A high proportion of C-suite executives (74%) agree that the length of the working week should be revisited.

The pandemic has also demanded a new set of leadership competencies to accelerate a reinvention of the modern-day leader. Emotional intelligence has clearly emerged as the defining trait of today’s successful manager, but the soft skills gap is evident. Over a quarter (28%) of those questioned said their mental wellbeing had worsened due to the pandemic, with only 1 in 10 rating their managers highly on their ability to support their emotional health.

The findings demonstrate a universal appetite for mass upskilling. Six in 10 say their digital skills have improved during lockdown, while a further two thirds (69%) are looking for further digital upskilling in the post-pandemic era. A broad range of skills development were identified as important by the workforce, including managing staff remotely (65%), soft skills (63%) and creative thinking (55%).

Finally, the findings highlighted how companies have risen to the challenge of supporting their people during the crisis, and as a result, trust in corporations has increased. In fact, 88% say that their employer met or exceeded their expectations in adapting to the challenges of the pandemic.

And with this increased trust comes increased expectations. While the future of work is a collective responsibility, in Singapore, 83% state that the country's government is responsible for ensuring a better working world post-COVID and resetting norms, while 78% agree that it is one’s individual responsibility and 73% place the onus on the employer.

TL;DR: The definition (or ideal) of a hybrid working model

  • Spending half of their time in the office and half working remotely
  • Basing contracts on delivering against business needs rather than working a set number of hours
  • Emotional intelligence to be banchmarked as the defining trait of a successful manager
  • Upskilling is unavoidable, especially in skills such as managing staff remotely, creative thinking, etc.

Adecco Singapore’s Country Manager, Betul Genc, said: “As Singapore progresses towards phase 3 of reopening, organisations have an opportunity to start early in order to ‘reset normal’ and ‘restart safely’ by relooking work practices, plan necessary support required for employees to return to the new normal and establish enhanced norms to enable a holistically healthy, productive and inclusive workforce into the future."

Lead image / Adecco (Singapore-specific findings)