Despite the high levels of remote working anticipated in the future, only one in ten companies think their current job architecture and job levelling process support developing a flexible and agile workforce. 

A survey of 434 organisations across Asia Pacific (including Singapore) by Willis Towers Watson further revealed 23% of employers still do not have policies in place to manage flexible work arrangements

This is despite companies in Singapore expecting the uptick in flexible work arrangements to continue. In fact, employers anticipate the proportion of full-time employees working from home (37%) in three years’ time will be six times higher than the levels of home working seen three years ago (7%).

When asked about the top reasons for providing alternative work arrangements, 89% cited employee safety concerns as one of the main reasons, while but over half (57%) were aware this flexibility could promote employee retention and help to improve inclusion and diversity (51%).

Vidisha Mehta, Head of Talent & Rewards, Singapore, Willis Towers Watson: "Companies are recognising that some of the working practices forced by the pandemic are here to stay, but they struggle to be effective because of shortcomings in strategy, systems and other factors such as work design. The good news is that the trend in many organisations was moving in the direction of a flexible approach anyway and the pandemic has just accelerated the speed of change. But employers now need to take a step back and examine the future state of their organisation overall and decide how they can make the most of their new agile workforce.”

The survey also found most respondents (84%) felt their flexible work policies would not have much of a significant impact on their overall pay budget. However, 23% are recognising the new requirements for work require a hybrid model for pay and rewards.

With this, many companies are anticipating that any savings they make will come from real estate, where 43% are expecting to reduce their spend over the next three years. More than a third (35%) also expect savings from expenses connected to commuting to work, such as transportation and travel. 

Willis Towers Watson observed some of these savings are being channelled to facilitate the necessary changes to the companies’ total rewards programmes, such as equipping employees to work from home or for the health and wellbeing programmes to support employees in a more agile and flexible workplace in the future.

Vidisha concluded: "The changes in the workplace as a result of the pandemic are here to stay. Employers that are able to create and manage a flexible workplace with an engaging employee experience will not only meet the needs of employees but also be best positioned to succeed in the new world of work."

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