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Why are bosses still not fans of flexi-work?

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Despite the seemingly never-ending war for talent, only 20% of Singaporean employers said they will be hiring more people on flexible working arrangements over the next five years.

According to Randstad’s World of Work Report, this figure is a sharp decline from last year’s 32%, and is significantly less than neighbouring Australia (35%) and New Zealand (39%).

Michael Smith, country director of Randstad Singapore, said companies need to embrace flexible working as it can help in easing the talent crunch, particularly seeing how Singapore is easing off its reliance on expatriates.

“Adopting flexible work practices can improve employee engagement and satisfaction and create a culture of trust, which will help to attract and retain talent. This will essentially boost workforce productivity,” Smith said.

“However, many employers still believe in Singapore’s traditional business culture, where job commitment is demonstrated through long hours and a culture of presenteeism – the practice of being present at one’s place of work for more hours than is required.”

With 60% of local employees reporting flexible work gives them greater job satisfaction, Smith added leaders have to keep in mind “presenteeism due to a lack of flexibility might be a bigger drain on productivity, through poor employee engagement and collaboration”.

The report also found only 19% of Singaporean employees said workforce collaboration is highly effective in their organisation, putting the nation ahead of only China (16%), and far behind regional leaders India (42%) and Australia (30%).

Smith suggested companies leverage on market research and talent analytics, usch as engagement surveys, to build a business case for flexible and collaborative working options.

“Then employers can look for departments or teams where there is desire or need for flexible work and where it suits the style of work, and run a pilot programme and collect data on satisfaction, retention, performance and productivity,” he said.

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