Companies in Singapore are forefront of employee productivity with time-saving technologies

Photo by Thirdman

Slack has released findings from their latest State of Work report, which found that companies in Singapore are at the forefront when it comes to unlocking new levels of employee productivity with time-saving technologies, such as AI.

The report, which surveyed 1,341 desk workers in Singapore, found 30% of companies in Singapore are investing in technology to improve productivity and efficiency, and 35% are using AI tools to help do so; second only to India in both aspects. The findings constitute part of a global survey of more than 18,000 workers across 9 countries.

These time-saving technologies look set to play a key role in unlocking new levels of productivity for organisations in Singapore, particularly as employees grapple with business formalities such as meetings and emails – more than any other market:

  • Employees in Singapore say they are spending on average 36% of their time on performative work that doesn’t contribute to company and team goals, but is done to appear productive.
  • 44% of desk workers believe that they spend too much time on meetings and emails – the highest globally. 
  • 29% of Singapore executives are tracking activity metrics (e.g. hours worked, emails sent) among their employees, but only 15% of employees believe doing so helps their productivity.

The report uncovers three trends defining modern work and driving employee productivity today:

  1. While Singapore leads the way among countries surveyed, new technologies, such as AI and automation, are still largely not being implemented by companies.
  2. Office work and design are being redefined in the age of hybrid work.
  3. Employee engagement and talent development also directly impact productivity.  

Singapore among the leaders for AI adoption globally, but implementation is lagging  

AI and automation capabilities have the potential to streamline and optimise repetitive, time-consuming tasks, allowing Singapore employees to focus on higher-value, strategic work:

  • Those who have adopted AI at their company are 63% more likely to report higher levels of productivity than those who have not adopted AI.
  • Most (81%) employees say that being able to automate routine tasks, such as getting expense report approvals, would improve their productivity.
  • Those who use automations at work estimate saving an average of 3.6 hours a week – this equates to at minimum one working month a year* given back to each employee to focus on meaningful work.

However, 53% of employees in Singapore say their company has not incorporated AI tools to support their productivity. And 32% say that their team has not created automations to make their work processes easier or more efficient.

Beyond automation, Singapore workers see value in new ways of working

In the age of hybrid work, employees in Singapore are looking for flexibility and an environment that fosters collaboration and inclusivity:

  • More than half (54%) say that flexible work schedules are one of the best ways for their employer to support their productivity.
  • Employees say flexible location (43%), unique workplace benefits, such as providing lunch or recreational activities (32%), and making improvements to the workplace, such as having more meeting rooms and quiet areas (29%), also enhance productivity.
  • 41% of employees in Singapore cited coordinating or collaborating with other teams as a key challenge faced by their immediate team. In fact, a majority (82%) say that having the right technology to collaborate from anywhere (share knowledge, drive projects forward, etc.) would improve their productivity.

However, only a few executives in Singapore are using modern strategies to improve how employees work with each other – wherever they are:

  • Just 21% of Singapore executives are making changes to the physical office, such as quiet libraries, collaboration spaces, and larger social lounges.
  • Only 18% are encouraging asynchronous work, for example when sharing status updates.
  •  44% of employees in Singapore cite spending too much time in meetings as a top productivity challenge. In fact, employees say that 44% of their meetings could be eliminated with no real adverse consequences.

Productivity and wellness are not mutually exclusive — to deliver results, employees must be well

Job satisfaction, engagement, and mental wellness are also top factors that contribute to productivity, so it’s crucial for leaders to consider these areas as part of how they redefine and drive productivity:

  • The majority (82%) of employees in Singapore say that feeling happy and engaged with their organisation would improve their productivity.
  • Employers need to also prioritise wellness, as 58% of employees in Singapore say that they feel pressure to respond to messages quickly, even if they’re sent after standard working hours.

Managers play a key role in shaping work culture and need to be armed with people development skills, tools to drive efficiency and manage teams, and team wellness support. However, they face challenges in creating a healthy and productive environment:

  • 42% of people managers in Singapore cite helping their team stay motivated as a top challenge. This is compounded by the fact that one-third (34%) of employees say that staying aligned on overall company goals and direction is a hurdle to productivity.
  • Also, more than a third (39%) of people managers identify spending too much time on tasks like meetings and emails, and helping their team stay motivated (42%), as additional challenges they face. 

Derek Laney, Slack Technology Evangelist, APAC, Salesforce commented that “New innovations in AI and automation are at an all-time high and Singapore is leading the way globally when it comes to the adoption of such technologies. However, the majority of companies in Singapore are still struggling to unlock their productivity potential. Slack aims to bridge this gap as the productivity platform that helps users accelerate work with no-code workflows, low-code tools and AI-assisted content tools.”