GWS 2020 Preview: Global Workforce Approaches from APAC

This year’s Global Workforce Symposium features an APAC content track to explore how the region’s varying economies, business operations, and workers have adapted to unprecedented times.

As we look back on 2020 for lessons learned and insight into where work is going, much can be learned from how the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region adapted to the global COVID-19 crisis. From China to New Zealand, parts of the region took a strict approach to national lockdowns, border closings and travel restrictions. As 2020 winds down and we enter into 2021, the APAC region will likely continue to play a role as the global workforce returns to work.

As the entire world adapted to unprecedented change, approaches across different regions varied when it came to national lockdowns, testing strategies, travel restrictions, and moving from in-office work to remote work. China, for example, was stricter in approach, but is now experiencing 4.9% economic growth in its third quarter and has been able to get back to in-person work sooner than many other countries. Lessons learned about the safe return to work also often referenced Asia, where “transparency, flexibility and iteration” were key in return-to-workplace plans.

Research from more than 80 organizations in 13 industries from around the world between April and May about remote work and re-entry plans revealed that more than three-quarters of respondents reported that 80% or more of their employees were working from home at first, with the Asia Pacific (APAC) region seeing an increase of 25 percentage points. By May, one-third of APAC respondents were returning to in-person work according to the research.

Additionally, safety innovation allowed parts of APAC to safely return to some business travel. In July and September, it was reported that Australia and New Zealand opened up “travel bubbles” which allow for limited travel between the two countries under detailed safety precautions. Singapore also opened up “green lanes” to make business travel easier and safer through mutual testing protocols and standards, rather than grappling with different safety testing standards and 15-day quarantines. Such plans were followed by consideration from China, Australia, South Korea, New Zealand and Malaysia.

Such strategies used throughout the APAC region have been key in business continuity while keeping employees safe. While we may not know exactly what 2021 will bring, the APAC region has shown considerable resiliency and innovation, with even more lessons to be learned in the future from this region. As much of the APAC region returns to work, workforce mobility professionals will be there every step of the way as the world of work enters its next normal.

Want to Learn More?

This year, Worldwide ERC® is connecting the mobility industry virtually through our first-ever virtual, month-long Global Work Symposium. 2020 has been quite a year, and there’s much to learn about across all sectors of the industry. We’ve built out new content tracks that are directly relevant to all of these sectors, including a content track for the APAC region that ties to our APAC Summit on 12 November.

At the Global Workforce Symposium, we’ll discuss pressing APAC topics, including an economic overview of the region to review the impact of COVID-19 on emerging Asia and how well the region is positioned to recover from the COVID-19 shock going forward, as well as scenarios to exhibit the variability of outcomes that could impact the performance of the regional economy. We’ll also look at the state of work and immigration in the APAC region, discussing the latest challenges businesses face in the wake of COVID-19.

By retaining all the key elements of our in-person event, GWS will continue to foster connection and learning across the globe for all sectors of the industry. There’s something for everyone at mobility’s biggest annual gathering, and we encourage you to check out our schedule of events and speakers to get a glimpse of what this year’s GWS has to offer.

So if you haven’t already: register now! It’s not too late to sign up to experience this new format with all the elements you’ve come to expect from the Global Workforce Symposium. Join us at the first-ever virtual, month-long Global Workforce Symposium from 28 October to 20 November 2020.

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