Singapore

Look to flexi-work practices

As more PMETs return to work, here are some ways to make it easier on both the employer and employee

Get back to work. That is what the National Trades Union Congress wants economically inactive professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) to do.

Under its Returners Programme, announced earlier this year, these PMETs can opt for paid job trials.

The programme was highlighted again this month when Second Minister for Manpower Josephine Teo talked about its benefits in a Facebook post.

She noted that both men and women hoped employers would offer some flexible work arrangements.

Incorporating flexi-work practices into the organisation calls for thinking ahead of processes and impact - particularly on performance.

And the most forward-thinking companies today measure performance based on outcomes.

In its 2017 report, Work, for Me: Understanding Candidate Demand for Flexibility, ManpowerGroup Solutions found that going modular was key for the 14,000 people from 19 countries surveyed.

ORGANISATION'S ROLE

Here is how to align your company with current flexi-work practices.

Measure outcomes

Create a results-oriented work environment where incentives are aligned with outcomes .

Set goals and deadlines. If employees meet them, managers can worry less about them clocking in and out.

Change company culture

Make working outside the office acceptable. For instance, run internal campaigns to normalise a "work anywhere" culture.

One national accounting firm used posters of satisfied employees spending flexi-time outside the office - doing activities such as ballroom dancing - with testimonials linking location independence with productivity and satisfaction.

Take baby steps

You do not have to force the transition from traditional to revolutionary overnight.

Consider including staggered work hours or designate the flexi-days when employees can work remotely.

It is also important to communicate with your employees to ensure that the policies mesh with their needs.

Tap tools

There are time, workflow, internal communications, project management and feedback tools waiting to be tapped.

The tools range from platforms that track the billable time of contract employees in multiple departments to workflow management assistants. Seek out the tools that best suit your needs.

INDIVIDUAL'S ROLE

Companies are only half the equation in the flexi-work formula. Returners should put their best foot forward too. Because they have left the workforce for a spell, returners should prepare for their job trials by changing their mindsets.

Be positive

It is often said that you are the sum total of the five people closest to you.

At work, do not shy away from company. Seek out positive people, their optimism - whether on work or on life - will rub off on you.

Tune in

Be aware of where you are on your happiness meter. For example, is the position you are holding taking you closer or away from your career goal?

Also, where do you see yourself in five years? Being self-aware will mean being confident in your new role.

Get busy

Pick up a hobby. The hobby will help you unwind after work, putting you in a good frame of mind for the next day.

Feed your mind

Become a lifelong learner.

Attend a free course at online sites. Check out Open Culture for personal pursuits or powerYOU for professional upgrades.

Read the newspapers daily if you have neglected this routine. You want to be able to chip in during discussions and be current.

You cannot flip a switch to change your personality, but you can start doing things that will make you an interesting and knowledgeable colleague.

In time, you may become the go-to person people want to be around.

This article was contributed 
by Right Management (www.rightmanagement.sg), the global career experts within US-listed HR consulting firm, ManpowerGroup.

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