Flexible: Friend or Foe?
The report, which polled 8,000 employees and employers across three continents, found that on average, 75% of businesses worldwide have implemented these types of initiatives – seven percentage points below Singapore.
Despite the large proportion of MNCs offering flexi work arrangements, only 35% of employees in these organisations make use of them, Ben Elms, president of Asia-Pacific at Vodafone Global Enterprise, told HRD
However, the introduction of these policies still has a positive on staff within these firms, he added.
“Of the companies that provide flexible policies, 82% of staff believe this has positively impacted them and 86% of decision makers also believe in their effects on the company.”
“These policies are most likely to affect job satisfaction professionally and also overall happiness on a personal level.”
One area of concern is that 16% of Singaporean employees believe there will be negative impacts on career progression and the relationship with their boss if they make use of these flexi work policies. This is much higher than the global average of seven per cent.
“The cultural landscape in Asia may result in people perceiving those who use flexible work options as being less serious about their career, stoking fears of being passed over for a promotion,” Elms said.
Nonetheless, the survey results point at the positive benefits of these policies to the firm including that 53% of Singapore firms experienced increased profits, 77% enjoyed greater employee productivity and 46% reported a boost to corporate reputation as a result of flexi working.
Additionally, 67% of all employees in Singapore said that a better work-life balance was an attractive proposition when choosing an employer.
“Productivity and profits are influenced by labour and flexible working should be seen as critical to retain the pool of experienced talent in the workforce.”
In order for firms to get the best out of a flexible work policy, Elms recommended treating it as a change management program focusing on people, processes, space and technology.
“Leaders should encourage new behaviours and provide new metrics to measure employee success. Decision makers need to relook at their processes so that working practices can accommodate changes to data security or employee contracts.”
The right technology and solutions should also be in place to make sure that workers can do their job efficiently no matter where they are located, he added.
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In Singapore, currently 82% of multinational corporations (MNSs) have flexible working policies in place, according to the recent Vodafone survey,