If seeing “WFH” marked on your calendar at the start of the day puts an extra spring in your step, you’re not alone.
The study, which is held by human resources solutions agency Randstad in various countries biannually, surveyed 1,000 employees between the ages of 18 and 67 years old in Singapore this year.
Flexible Working Hours of Great Importance to Employees in Singapore
Additionally, around 80%, or 800 employees, also indicated flexible working hours as an important part of a job.
41% of respondents also expressed that they will reject job offers if the jobs do not allow them to work during the hours that they prefer.
Apart from that, 27% of respondents also revealed that they have resigned from a job in the past due to the lack of flexibility offered for both location and working hours.
As for working location, 77% of individuals polled indicated that flexibility in their workplace’s location is important.
More than Half of Respondents Would Quit Job if it Prevented Them from “Enjoying Life”
And it seems like having flexible working hours isn’t the only part of a job that employees look out for in Singapore.
According to Randstad, 94% of respondents said that post-pandemic work-life balance would be important to them.
The same survey revealed that 41% of workers in Singapore would be willing to be unemployed as compared to being unhappy in their jobs.
More than half of the respondents, or 52%, also shared that they would choose to resign if their jobs came in the way of them “enjoying life”.
Only Slightly More than Half of Employers Offer WFH in Singapore
Currently, only 52% of companies who took part in the survey offer remote working options to employees.
On the other hand, slightly more companies offer employees flexible working hours. This value was 60%.
Randstad emphasised that since many employees in Singapore prioritise having flexible working arrangements, this may result in them gravitating towards employers who have such options available.
Hence, companies may want to look into implementing more “flexible work models” in order to keep up with the current preferences that have become more prominent due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Increase in Number of Companies Providing WFH Option
However, it also seems that an increasing number of employers are providing their employees with more flexible working arrangements such as hybrid work arrangements, especially as Singapore gets accustomed to living with COVID-19.
In addition to that, other major employees such as the public sector and large corporations are also starting to implement similar schemes, including giving staff the option of working from home for a number of days each week.
Other measures such as staggered working hours have also been introduced in some workplaces.
Importance of Flexible Work Arrangements Beyond COVID-19
Even beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, Randstad also pointed out that employers need to build a “holistic and comprehensive work environment to enhance the employee experience”.
This is because, according to Ranstad, attractive salaries “may not be as effective in retaining employee motivation and productivity in the long run”.
Impact of COVID-19 on WFH Preference
On the other hand, Dr David Leong, managing director of human resources advisory firm PeopleWorldwide Consulting, said that the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered an inclination towards working from home for many employees.
This is largely due to how working arrangements have changed greatly during the past few years of living with COVID-19.
He also predicted that flexible work arrangements will be considered normal or an arrangement that employees are entitled to in the future, but it also depends on the job market and the requirements of specific jobs at that point in time.
For example, when there is a surplus of jobs available in the market, employees have the ability to choose whether or not they want to take up a job if it does not offer flexible working arrangements.
However, it might not be the case if there are more workers than jobs available.
Ms Lee Hui Sin, an administrative assistant in the transportation and logistics sector, expressed that having the choice to WFH has been beneficial for her even though she does not see it as a deal breaker.
She added that it is “always better to have” such options available, and her company has continued to allow employees to work from home twice a week.
Of course, employees may still be asked to return to the office if any urgent matters that need to be settled by employees in person and at the office arise.
Ms Lee, 39, also highlighted the importance of employers being flexible in various situations that workers may face such as needing to care for elders or young children at home.
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