GEORGE TOWN: One of the best things learned during the pandemic is how much time people save when they work from home (WFH).
Without the need to commute to workplaces and with the use of computers and virtual meetings, workers get more work done and some companies are adapting to these new norms to give their employees more flexibility and benefits.
Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers Penang chapter chairman Datuk Lee Teong Li said new work trends and cultures had emerged.
He said these changes helped employees save commuting time and even get more work done.
“For those in sales and marketing, where tasks can be done without being in the office, the mindset has changed and employees are now used to working from home.This has resulted in many employees finding their jobs more flexible, with more time to meet up with customers.
“As for the manufacturing sector, some factories have allowed for more flexible working hours for those in the office. Staggered work-hours have helped employees deal with traffic congestion and allow for more work to be done.
“The belief now is that if the employee can perform and fulfil the company’s expectations, there can be flexibility in their work environment,” he said in an interview.
Lee, however, noted that operations staff and those working shifts would have fewer choices and be required to be in the office.
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Menara Kerjaya Fasteners Sdn Bhd managing director Datuk Seri Dr Ooi Eng Hock said during the movement control order, efficiency of the company’s operations dropped by 40%.
“Much of our machinery cannot be operated or monitored by workers from home. Adjustments and coordination of supplies require our personnel to be on site.
“Our employees even gave feedback that they prefer to return to the plant and work as a team.
“To accommodate their willingness and reduced working hours, their work-week is now five days instead of five-and-a-half days before the MCO,” he said.
Penang Skills Development Centre (PSDC) chief executive officer Tan Eng Tong said the institution received a record-breaking number of participants last year after they adopted a hybrid approach, where more people could attend lessons virtually.
“When the pandemic struck in 2020, the number of participants plunged and we trained only 5,679.
“In 2021, we started offering online classes and later hybrid sessions, where participants could do face-to-face training with the option to do some sessions virtually.
“That year, we trained more people than in the last 10 years, at 8,124 participants. It shows that people have adapted to online sessions as a means of learning and working,” he added.
Tan said since PSDC’s inception in 1990, it had trained 247,000 industry workers, adding that since the pandemic, the management had become sensitive towards employees wishing to stay at home if possible.