Human resources (HR) professional Matthew Psaila on Thursday expressed his concerns about the long-term impact of remote work, as major companies could become more inclined to strategically employ people outside the Eurozone at lower costs, or else move to other countries.
“Flexibility and hybrid work are definitely advantages, and throwing them in the mix with other benefits increases employee motivation and engagement, amongst others,” he said.
Despite this, he noted that a recent European Central Bank (ECB) study indicates a “worrying” trend which will “have a great impact on the economy”. The study, which was published as part of 2023’s first issue of the ECB’s Economic Bulletin, showed that people’s preferences with regards to work have changed significantly ever since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Results pointed towards a “persistently higher preference for remote work”, as nearly a third of Eurozone employees want to be able to work from home more.
Following this, Mr Psaila posed the question: “Why should the major companies continue employing people within the Eurozone with higher costs rather than going to lower cost countries and getting the same benefit, if not two heads for the price of one?”
Applying this to Malta, he noted that there is a recent trend whereby there are “more people that base their job satisfaction only on the ability to work from home more often than in the office, which by all means improves work-life balance”, yet could come at the cost of “risking having companies strategically move to countries that are less costly”.
“Only time will tell, but I believe there should be more of a balanced approach, as otherwise companies will start running from empty offices, which they might as well close, and move away,” he concluded.
Mr Psaila has gained a wide array of HR and advisory experience throughout his career and has served as Senior Manager HR at Baxter International Inc. for the last four-and-a-half-years.
He previously served as Head of Operations at Finest Human Capital, Group HR and Development Manager at Famalco Group, and HR Manager at VistaJet International. He has also worked as HR Business Partner at De La Rue and Business Advisor at JA Malta. Mr Psaila also worked in the banking sector at Mediterranean Bank, now MeDirect Bank, and HSBC Malta.
He is currently studying for a Master of Arts in Creativity and Innovation from University of Malta, and is qualified in Human Resources Management from Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, among other certifications.
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