This is the second of a 4-part article featuring excerpts from the Reimagine Work white paper. The white paper compiles data from three studies - Employer Brand Research, Workmonitor and most recently, Talent Expectations Survey - to help employers understand work-life balance as defined by employees to create meaningful and useful engagement initiatives and strengthen talent attraction strategies.


Implementing flexible work arrangements is a good start to meeting talent expectations about work-life balance, but it’s not the be-all and end-all solution. As much as we rave about the benefits of workplace flexibility, remote work comes with its own set of pitfalls.

remote work comes with disadvantages
remote work comes with disadvantages

It is understandable that business leaders often struggle to build trust with their employees who are working remotely. In light of a poorer economic climate, companies are clamping down on hybrid work and asking their employees to return to the office as a way to get workers to “switch gears”.

This is when a debate will ensue. Employee productivity may be higher for hybrid workers when they work from home, while employers defend their position that the office environment sets the tone for work.

poor employee experience stems from low trust

Our research found that 3 in 10 employees in Asia feel that working remotely increases their productivity, but they lack the evidence to back up their claims.

If left unchecked, the lack of trust can exacerbate the complex challenges of remote working. Company managers may end up micromanaging or be completely hands-off and leave their team to their own devices, and these bad managerial behaviours can exist in the office and remotely.

Data from the Talent Expectations Survey showed three factors shaping the employee’s experience of flexible work:

  1. Workload
  2. Communication
  3. Team culture

how to manage flexible working

To improve the employee’s overall work experience and employee morale, employers need to evaluate and reimagine their strategies for each of these factors for hybrid working arrangements to work and be a success

1. tackling work overload and overtime

If your employee is overwhelmed by the amount of work that they have to do, a flexible work benefit does nothing to ease their stress.

68% of respondents said that an overwhelming workload is the top situation that threatens their work-life balance, and 64% cited unnecessary or excessive overtime. In contrast, having to travel to go to the office or work on-site is the least likely situation that results in poor work-life balance.

situations that lead to poor work-life balance
situations that lead to poor work-life balance

Company leaders should intervene and provide support when they notice that their employees are overworked. When someone has too much work with limited or no support, they may choose to sacrifice their personal time and mental health for work to secure their jobs.

To resolve these threats to employee satisfaction and experience, people managers must take the lead to improve communication skills and manage the team’s workload.

2. communicate to draw boundaries

While remote teams are becoming more prevalent as a result of digital transformation, poor communication in remote teams strongly correlates with the issue of overtime.

Nearly a third of respondents struggle to communicate effectively with colleagues on remote work, while another 28% grapple with extra work hours due to a lack of communication boundaries.

3 reasons why people dislike hybrid work
3 reasons why people dislike hybrid work

Digital communication channels are a double-edged sword in scenarios like this. While online chats and virtual meetings connect people with just a click, employees end up working longer hours due to lack of clarity and poorly-worded instructions.

According to a Grammarly study, teams waste 7.47 hours every week due to poor communication in today's hybrid work era.

Ironically, communication is the only way to overcome the challenges of remote communication. The problem is that employees are either communicating too little or too much, or across too many apps to keep track of.

In order to save their employees’ time, people managers can reduce the number of channels available for communication. They can also set protocols like preparing and sharing meeting agendas and recaps, as well as schedule weekly progress meetings as opposed to having impromptu calls that disrupt one’s day.

3. build a culture where talent thrives

‘How can we retain our organisational culture when our employees could literally be working from anywhere?’ - the million-dollar question that boggles the minds of people leaders everywhere.

Some believe that work culture is the energy that can be in the office; others say that it is about how employees interact and collaborate with one another. In order to engage employees and promote collaboration, businesses have fully renovated their offices and replaced working desks with meeting rooms.

In our survey, we found that friendly bosses and co-workers who make work enjoyable is the top factor in a work environment. By contrast, factors that affect physical workspace comfort, such as privacy and amenities, are less important to employees.

what factors matter to people about work environment
what factors matter to people about work environment

great company culture attract great talent

A good working environment is defined and measured by the people around us. Flexible working arrangements, on the other hand, is changing the game. Although a flexible work environment is the future of work, some remote workers struggle to cope up due to loss of social connection with co-workers.

Flexible work options can be beneficial for both employers and employees as well as a great way to improve employee experience and productivity, but it won’t fix all the issues that come with remote work.

Employers need to be more proactive in creating an inclusive culture where talent can thrive, and provide employees with the right tools and resources to succeed. Make your appreciation tangible beyond a “thank you” and make sure that your employees feel that they are in control of their own learning and progression.

download the reimagine work white paper

The Reimagine Work white paper is a comprehensive guide to help you understand the latest trends in talent management and how to create a better employee experience for the future workforce.

It covers topics such as:

  • The importance of creating an inclusive culture
  • Strategies for improving hybrid employee experience

The Reimagine Work white paper provides tips on how to improve talent experience, workforce communication, build trust, and create a culture of collaboration. It also offers advice on how to manage workloads and draw boundaries between work and personal life.

The paper is available for free download here:

work with randstad

Reach out to our specialised consultants for the latest talent trends or want to know more about the latest job market insights. Through market mapping and conversations with our clients and candidates, we can inform you of the latest workforce and HR trends that you can turn into actionable strategies to attract and retain talent.

Alternatively, if you are a job seeker seeking a better work-life balance and company culture, explore your career options and apply for a job that fits your skills and expectations.

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