Most S’pore firms believe flexi-work practices raise productivity: Survey

November 18, 20139:58 am263 views
Most S’pore firms believe flexi-work practices raise productivity: Survey
Most S’pore firms believe flexi-work practices raise productivity

SINGAPORE — A majority of companies in Singapore believe that flexible working arrangements, which give staff greater choice in when and where they perform their duties, will not only help employees improve productivity, but also make them more responsible and help them manage their time better.

This is the outcome of a survey conducted by international workplace provider Regus, which polled 253 Singapore companies as part of a global exercise conducted with 95 other countries.

“Seventy-four per cent of Singapore respondents think that flexible working improves productivity,” the survey found. “Seventy-six per cent also think flexible working encourages a greater sense of responsibility and time management.”

Singapore’s results matched the survey’s global average, as 75 per cent of all respondents said flexible working makes employees more productive.

The survey comes only days after Member of Parliament for West Coast GRC Foo Mee Har highlighted the importance of flexible working arrangements, particularly for PMEs (professionals, managers, executives), during the parliamentary debate over the extension of the Employment Act last week.

“My relentless advocacy for flexi-work stems from observations of missed opportunities in the workforce and underutilised human resources, especially among women and older workers,” she said. “I urge the Government to do more to help employers understand the critical role they play, and the advantage they gain, in offering flexi-work arrangements.”

Commenting on the survey, Ms Foo told TODAY: “The results are encouraging — but what’s more important is to put our belief into action. The flexi-work concept has been around for a decade, but we haven’t moved much on this agenda.

“To achieve that, we need to have clear leadership. Ultimately, it’s the employers who will need to embrace this with conviction, but the Government has a role to help promote it a lot more and to set up provisions to make flexi-work arrangements much more prevalent,” she added. “We can certainly do much more. We need concrete action plans that will lead us to a better trajectory than what we are currently operating at.”

Agreeing that flexi-work arrangements can help improve productivity in some cases, Ms Joanne Chua, Associate Director at recruitment consulting company Robert Walters, nonetheless noted that there is no one-size-fits-all scenario.

“While you see more big global firms here becoming more receptive to flexi-work arrangements, there have also been instances where companies have cut back on it due to a perceived drop in productivity,” she said. “In the instance where employees are working from home, setting up communications may also incur extra costs — some companies might not find that appealing.

“But certainly, we believe it will help companies attract and retain women in their workforce, especially those with family commitments,” Ms Chua added.



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