KUALA LUMPUR, July 23 — Ninety per cent of Malaysian employees want the freedom to decide on when and how they work as they believe it will increase their productivity, according to recruitment firm Randstad.

However, Randstad said its Workmonitor survey carried out between January and February this year found 60 per cent of 400 Malaysians saying the freedom would intrude into their personal lives as they felt that they had to be “always on” and were unsure when to disconnect themselves from work.

As a result, 76 per cent of employees in Malaysia still prefer to work in the office during business hours, it said, adding that the office environment encourages employees to focus better and help them clearly define the time they need to commit to work.

“Agile working is gaining popularity in Malaysia, as more and more employees want to have autonomy in the way they work.

“However, as much as technology has helped made it possible to be more productive and creative at work, it can be quite frustrating and intrusive for those who feel that they need to respond to emails immediately, even during the weekends.

“Flexible work arrangements can only improve work-life balance and boost productivity when ground rules are set and agreed upon between employers and their staff,” Ryan Carroll, country manager of Randstad Malaysia said in a statement.

Randstad’s Workmonitor is a quarterly research on global employment trends surveyed a minimum of 400 respondents in Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and China.

The results also showed that 68 per cent of millennials feel more pressured to be “always-on‟ as compared to mature workers aged between 55 and 67 (39 per cent).

Mature workers are also more likely to prefer agile working as they believe that it can improve their overall job satisfaction, with all employees aged between 55 and 67 agreeing with this statement.

The same demographic also said that flexible work arrangement plays a significant part in improving their work-life balance.