Managing a virtual workforce on the rise

HRM 28 Nov 2012

Managing an increasingly virtual or flexible workforce may become one of the top priorities for HR over the next three years, according a study by KPMG.

Titled Rethinking Human Resources in a Changing World, the study found that almost one-third of senior executives polled in Singapore said that supervising such a workforce will become a primary focus over the next three years. This is almost a three-fold increase from the 11% who agreed between 2010 and 2012.

Some 71% of survey respondents worldwide believe that working across borders has increased over the past three years. More than half of companies polled also said that international reporting lines and talent flows have become more common.

The survey also found that companies all over the world are embracing more flexible ways of working. For example, In Asia-Pacific, 66% of respondents saw an increase in videoconferencing and the hiring of temporary or contract workers; more than 70 percent of the respondents in Singapore experienced similar increases.

About 66% of Singapore respondents said that flexi-time arrangements such as telecommuting and alternatives to physical office premises such as hot-desking have become more common.

Miranda Lee, director of people and change management at KPMG in Singapore, said: “Business leaders are accepting that we operate in a global, borderless workplace and there is a wide diversity of talents with a plethora of work arrangements. For instance, they could be working on a temporary, contractual or part-time basis.

“The Asia-Pacific region, in particular, is seeing the most rapidly changing working environments and the most evident war for talent. With more companies, including those in Singapore, looking outward for expansion, HR functions must think about how to manage an increasingly mobile and flexible workforce.”


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