A recent survey has revealed that Asian businesses which expect their employees to spend their professional life working from office has declined during the Covid-19 pandemic.

More than half of the companies in the world’s largest continent expected their staff to fully work from office before pandemic struck in, Bloomberg quoted a questionnaire by the Center for Creative Leadership, a US-based education non-profit.

The survey involved responses from 2,170 business leaders in 13 Asia-Pacific countries. It was found that the businesses in Singapore, Australia and New Zealand are most likely to embrace flexible working while China, Japan and India were the least receptive.

The report states that only seven per cent of managers expected their staff to work remotely completely, compared to below five per cent before Covid-19 pandemic. As the businesses seek to roll back remote work mandates, they are facing backlash from employees.

The business leaders have said that around 34 per cent of the workers expect to spend more than three quarters of their time in office, which is down from 79 per cent before the pandemic.

At least 42 per cent of the respondents said attracting talent was the second most important reason behind them adopting a hybrid working model. The number of job applications for remote job profiles on LinkedIn spiked from near zero in January 2020 to above 20 per cent in India and ten per cent in Australia in September, Bloomberg reported.

Elisa Mallis, managing director and vice-president (Asia-Pacific), Center for Creative Leadership, said employee preferences are now heavily weighed more heavily than ever because of low unemployment. She added that workers are willing to take even a 20 per cent pay cut for remote roles.

Although organisations and some high-profile voices have called for a four-day work week, only two per cent of the business leaders back it for the next five years.

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