Randstad’s Workmonitor survey has found 85 per cent of respondents in Singapore say that having flexible working arrangements can help them maintain a more balanced lifestyle. The findings chime with a similar eight in 10 level Randstad record for employees around the world but of the four Asian markets, Singapore workers have been found to have the most freedom to decide for themselves, where, when and how they want to do their work.
Despite the increasing demand for flexible work arrangements, more than half of the employees (55 per cent) said that they believe the freedom will interfere with their personal lives. As more and more companies provide employees with digital devices such as smartphones and laptops, workers in Singapore may feel compelled to be ‘always-on’ and are not always sure how and when to disconnect.
Jaya Dass, managing director at Randstad Singapore said: “Employees in Singapore are known to be hard workers and often clock long hours at work. There is also a risk of presenteeism, which is mistakenly accepted as having a commendable work attitude. Unfortunately, this behaviour impacts workplace productivity and business profitability. Digital devices should not cause any unnecessary stress and employers who entrust their staff with the flexibility to work outside of the office at a time that works best for them are encouraged to respect employees’ working hours. Employees who are given the freedom should also have a clear sense of their responsibilities, provide timely updates to their coworkers and keep to their deadlines.”
Three in four employees in Singapore have the flexibility to work from home and outside of stipulated business hours. The flexibility to work at an offsite location is popular among Singaporeans, as 87 per cent said that having the autonomy at work increases their productivity, creativity and job satisfaction.
However, 56 per cent of the employees felt that they are unable to disconnect from work. Women workers in Singapore are less likely to feel that agile working has interfered with their personal life as compared to men.
When compared to the other Asian markets, Hongkongers are most likely to work at the office without having the option of agile working, with 85 per cent doing so. However, nine in 10 employees want to have the option to work outside of the office environment and during a time that better accommodates their lifestyle. Agile working is believed to promote autonomy as Hongkongers want to be given the responsibility to manage their work with greater flexibility. Higher levels of autonomy also lead to greater job satisfaction, productivity and creativity, as employees feel a great sense of personal responsibility over their work quality.
Only one in two respondents said that they feel pressured to be ‘always on’, the lowest in all four Asian markets. Mature employees are the least likely to feel pressured, with 59 per cent of them choosing not to work outside of business hours so that they can focus more on their personal lives. This indicates a strong appetite from the workforce to benefit from agile working options.
Across all the four Asian markets, employees in Malaysia are the most likely to feel that agile working will interfere with their personal lives as they never seem to be able to disconnect from work (63 per cent). Surprisingly, it is the millennials (68 per cent) who feel more pressured to be ‘always-on’ as compared to mature workers aged between 55 and 67 (39 per cent).
Mature workers are also more likely to prefer agile working as they believe that it can improve their overall job satisfaction, with all employees aged between 55 and 67 agreeing with this statement. The same demographic also said that flexible work arrangement plays a significant part in improving their work-life balance.
Employees in mainland China welcome the option of flexible work arrangement, with 90 per cent of them believing that it can help them lead a healthier lifestyle. Furthermore, 92 per cent want to have more autonomy at work to attain job satisfaction.
Unlike other Asian markets, mature workers in mainland China are more likely to feel that agile working has interfered into their personal lives, with 67 per cent of the people believing so. In addition, 100 per cent of the same demographic said that everyone works at the office during opening hours. Millennials in mainland China are more likely to ask for flexible work arrangements as they believe that it will help them maintain a good work/life balance.