HR & EDUCATION | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Remote work spaces to impact consumer life: report

Purchase decision will shift towards casualisation.

The implementation of work-from-home setup amongst many businesses has affected consumer life, with consumers struggling to manage their time amidst a hindered work-life balance, according to Euromonitor International's latest forecast on 2021 consumer trends.

According to the report, the rippling effect of remote work on consumer life will range from clothing choices to technology spend, eating habits, and beyond.

“Purchase decisions will shift towards casualisation in terms of workwear and beauty routines, but affordable premiumisation will drive food and beverage choices to create restaurant-quality meals at home,” according to the report.

Many consumers also started going back to office, albeit less frequently, as a blended approach to work setup is now expected amongst businesses.

As such, where and how consumers spend around their job schedules are also impacted.

“Loss of commuters and out-of-home office limit on-the-go occasions, such as grabbing coffee, running errands on lunch breaks or socialising with colleagues after work. With less mobility, consumers are spending more time to emulate the dining, shopping or other leisure experiences in their homes,” the report reads.

Euromonitor research manager Herbert Yum noted that the impact of remote work on consumer life in Asia is more significant than that of the United States or the European Union since work from home is a less common practice Asia.

“It is expected that after the COVID pandemic, the changes shall partially remain and employees in general are more familiar working remotely, as well as adapting to e-commerce shopping behaviour,” Yum said.

Engaging consumers amidst blended setup

There has also been a noticeable hindrance in work-life balance since the work from home setup was implemented.

“Lack of a proper switching between office and off-office hours is one of the key factors that hinders a proper work-life balance during remote working. This is particularly true in Asia as countries such as China, Japan and South Korea, the concept of more work, more pay or better performance, is planted in most of the employees’ mind,” Yum added.

To cope with such hindrance, Yum suggests that businesses encourage managers to stay connected with their teams, employees to set off-office hour alarm, as well as educate and remind employees to take a break regularly.

Businesses can focus on products and services that improve efficiency and productivity without losing the human element. Tools leveraging AI can enhance group work, social interactions, and individual time management.

“improving the overall online working infrastructure and software of the company is the most important step. However, ensuring each of the employees has the right set of equipment and tools is also essential for businesses to keep them engaged,” Yum said.

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