Malaysians want more work-life balance

The core of their sentiments is that working-from-home as well as COVID-19 restrictions have deprived many employees from participating in social activities that allow them to unwind after work.

Close to nine in 10 (88%) Malaysians recently surveyed shared that they feel "empowered" to improve their work-life balance. This, cited in the report, was attributed to frequent working-from-home routines brought about by the pandemic, which led to them having "a different perspective on work".

Delving deeper into their perspectives, analysts discovered that over the past 18 months, more than three in five Malaysians have reassessed how work fits into their personal schedules by "a considerable amount or more". Further, two in three said that they are "experiencing higher stress levels since the pandemic began", and "want to make changes to their work life".

The core of their sentiments, the analysts explained, is that working-from-home — as well as COVID-19 restrictions — have deprived many employees of participating in social activities that allow them to unwind after work. Many turned to working extra hours to fill their time at home as well, compromising their wellbeing and mental health in the process. As such, it is critical employees receive support from their companies to manage their workloads and help them avoid burnout, even after they return to the office this year.

Reconsidering life goals and career priorities

Malaysians' changed perspectives don't end there — many are reconsidering their life priorities and career goals, with more than eight in 10 respondents saying they "have more clarity" on both their personal and professional goals since the start of the pandemic. In terms of professional goals, Malaysians reportedly highly value a working environment that promotes employee wellbeing and flexibility. On top of that, more than three in five (64%) indicated that they want a safe work environment; more than half (52%) want the opportunity to do meaningful work, and close to half (49%) want job flexibility to accommodate commitments outside of work.

Other considerations include compensation & benefits (66%), and career growth opportunities (51%).

"People are re-evaluating their career decisions in the pursuit of their professional & personal development as well as to understand their role in the changing world of work. For example, contracting job opportunities are becoming more attractive as employees get the chance to work in different environments and develop their skills quickly. Contract roles also offer a higher level of flexibility where they can negotiate their working hours or take breaks between their contracting stints to rest," explained Fahad Naeem, Head of Operations, Randstad Malaysia.

A case for concern?

A little. Employers should note that close to four in 10 (38.6%) Malaysians reported that they have switched employers in the last six months — an 8.3% increase from the previous six months. Malaysians have also cited organisational circumstances (42%) as the top reason for "seeking greener pastures" (i.e. changing of jobs), followed by better employment conditions (29%), and personal ambition in the management field (29%).

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The Randstad survey called Workmonitor H2 2021 was conducted in September 2021 across 34 markets around the world, with a minimum of 800 respondents in markets such as Singapore and Malaysia.

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