SINGAPORE: Flexible work arrangements have become a norm in Singaporean workplaces. However, studies have shown a mismatch between what employers believe they provide and what employees need and want to experience.
The report shows that 83 per cent of Singaporean employers think their workplaces support flexible arrangements, while only 61 per cent of employees feel the same way.
The job search platform Indeed stated: “This shows that employers’ understanding of flexibility isn’t the same as employees. It is crucial for organizations to take employees’ preferences into consideration and find ways to offer appropriate flexible arrangements – particularly, for those who deem it essential.”
According to the report, the sector with the greatest divide between the perspective of employers and employees is retail, with only 42 per cent of employees believing that they have flexibility, while 80 per cent of employers claim they provide flexible work arrangements.
The most aligned sector is the finance industry, wherein 73 per cent of employees thought they had flexibility, and 78 per cent of employers felt they offered it.
“Employees see flexibility from their individual perspective, which sometimes can be misaligned from organizational goals,” ManpowerGroup Singapore country manager Linda Teo stated.
The study report also revealed that 85 per cent of employees in Singapore desire flexibility at work. It is significantly higher than the global average of 66 per cent. This study was conducted by data analytics company Valuvox on behalf of Indeed, and it polled 1,223 employees and 607 employers last June 2023.
The findings showed that the most preferred flexible work arrangement among employees is hybrid work, where workers can spend part of their time in the office and work from home the rest of the time. Flexible hours came in second, followed by a four-day working week, remote work and location flexibility, in that order.
While many workplaces in Singapore offer some flexible work arrangements, the study highlighted the gap between what companies offer and the type of flexible work employees want.
Employees said flexibility makes them feel productive and provides a better work-life balance. However, employees said flexibility can cause difficulties in communication, collaboration and team coordination, and they may be expected to work more or end up working longer hours.
Ms. Teo added: “It is important for employers and employees to bridge their understanding of FWAs and their respective wants from the arrangement, so that the benefits of FWAs outweigh the costs for both parties.”
Indeed Singapore strategy and operations lead Karthik Sudhakar also mentioned: “Flexible work arrangements can be beneficial for both employers and employees, but it’s important to get alignment on what works best for each party. Employees should be able to take advantage of flexible work without being penalised, and employers should prioritise flexibility to attract and retain talent.”