Business

More working in companies that offer flexible work arrangements

It makes business sense as employees are more likely to stay: Minister

The share of workers here whose companies offer formal flexible work arrangements continues to grow, and employers are offering more types of arrangements.

Last year, 72 per cent of employees worked in companies that offer at least one such arrangement, such as part-time work, flexible hours or tele-working, up from 70 per cent in 2017.

Also, more were offered at least one ad hoc, or impromptu, arrangement: The figure rose to 87 per cent last year, up from 81 per cent in 2017, according to the latest Conditions of Employment report released by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) yesterday.

Just more than half, or 53 per cent, of companies offered at least one type of flexi-work arrangement, a slight increase from 50 per cent in 2017.

Offering these arrangements makes business sense as employees are more likely to stay with a company with such options, especially as the new generation of workers values flexibility a lot more, said Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad, sharing the findings at a human resources industry event.

"Employees, likewise, when offered flexible work arrangements, see it as a sign that they are valued by the company and that the company is willing to accommodate employees' responsibilities outside of work," he added.

Employees also feel that the company trusts them to get the work done even though they are not sitting at their desks, he said.

The provision of flexible arrangements had the greatest impact on staff retention among various workplace practices, the MOM report said.

The biennial report, which covered some 1.3 million workers and 3,700 companies, said increases in annual leave entitlement and reductions in the number of work days a week led to the next biggest decreases in resignation rates.

Compared with the previous report in 2016, more full-time employees - about 48 per cent - were given at least 15 days of paid annual leave last year, up from about 45 per cent.

The prevalence of flexi-work arrangements in Singapore is still lower than in countries such as Japan and South Korea, noted Institute for Human Resource Professionals chief executive Mayank Parekh. One reason could be that many smaller companies choose not to formalise their flexible arrangements in order to retain management control and flexibility.

Association of Small and Medium Enterprises vice-president Chew Lee Ching said small and medium-sized businesses recognise that flexi-work arrangements can be a way to retain staff amid the labour crunch but most do not have manpower capacity to offer them.

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