Nearly half or 47% of workers in Asia say they are likely to change their employers while 56% are indicate that they are likely to change their profession.

By contrast, the global average for workers wanting to change their employers is 41% while that for a career change is 44%.

This comes as more employees in Asia feel exhausted and stressed, despite an increase in their productivity.

For instance, 63% of workers in Japan say that their productivity levels have remained the same as last year. However, 48% say they are feeling exhausted while 45% indicate being stressed.

Globally, 40% of workers note that their productivity levels have remained the same as last year, while 39% feel exhausted and 42% feel stressed. 

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These were some of the insights highlighted in the recent “The next great disruption is hybrid work – are we ready,” report released by Microsoft. The results are based on the responses of over 30,000 people across 31 countries as well the aggregate productivity and labour signals from Microsoft 365 and LinkedIn.

The higher incidence of exhaustion and stress amongst workers is the result of the increase in their average number of meetings and chats done online. 

Between February 2020 and 2021, Microsoft Teams observed that average meeting time has increased by 10 minutes from 35 to 45 minutes.

The average Teams user has also been sending 45% more chats in a week while there has been 42% more chats per person after office hours. 

Despite this, 50% of people globally respond to Teams chats within five minutes or less – in line with the rate in 2020.

Against this backdrop, Microsoft stresses that businesses should recognise that work is longer bound to traditional notions of time and space, such as when, how and where people work.

Some changes that have come about include that 73% of workers want flexible, remote working conditions to continue, while 67% are craving for more in-person time with their teams.

Meanwhile, nearly half, or 46% of the survey respondents indicated that they are planning to move to a new location this year. This comes as people no longer have to leave their desk, house or community to expand their career opportunities.

“As opportunity is democratised with remote work and talent movement, we’ll see a spread of skills across the country and this is the time for business leaders to take the opportunity to access to different skills and talent not previously available to them,” reckons Karin Kimbrough, LinkedIn’s chief economist.

“The world is on the brink of a disruption as great as last year’s sudden shift to remote work: the move to hybrid — a blended model where some employees return to the workplace and others continue to work from home,” chimes Rosalind Quek, General Manager, Modern Workplace, Microsoft Asia.

To this end, Microsoft suggests that companies create a plan to empower people for extreme flexibility and to combat digital exhaustion.

This requires an investment in space and technology to bridge the physical and digital worlds as well as rebuilding social capital and culture.

“The choices you make today will impact your organisation for years to come. It’s a moment that requires clear vision and a growth mindset,” stresses Quek.

“These decisions will impact everything from how you shape culture, to how you attract and retain talent, to how you can better foster collaboration and innovation”.